Lazy gardening isn't cutting it
April 27, 2010 10:36 AM   Subscribe

Cheap / free options for garden record-keeping?

I need to start keeping better records RE: my garden to avoid repeating mistakes - does anyone have recommendations for cheap (or better yet, free) options for doing this?

Software is fine (though it needs to work w/OSX), but I'd prefer paper forms that I can put in a binder if possible.
posted by ryanshepard to Home & Garden (11 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Have you considered using Google Docs to make a spreadsheet and print it out?
It meets the free requirement, but you would have to format it yourself.
What kind of information are you looking to record?
I'd start with:
Number of seeds planted:
When planted:
First germinated:
Last germinated:
Number germinated (% germinated):
When transplanted:
Where did I put it:
When harvested ( for fruits/veggies):
Eaten by pests?
Did it thrive?
What to do differently next time:
posted by Adridne at 11:00 AM on April 27, 2010

Response by poster: Adridne: Thanks for the suggestion - I'm almost a complete novice, though, so would be interested to look at some tried-and-true record keeping methods if possible.
posted by ryanshepard at 11:03 AM on April 27, 2010

Some ideas are here:

I googled "garden record keeping" and got plenty of hits re journals and so on, including a sample spreadsheet.
posted by lungtaworld at 11:05 AM on April 27, 2010

Though not exactly all-encompassing, I found THIS TOOL very helpful in the planning stages of my square foot garden (but it won't really work with traditional row gardens). Of course, it's specifically for veggie gardens (and I'm not sure that's what you want) but it might help you and/or others.

Maybe you could give us some more info, like what do you want to track (i.e. watering schedule, feeding, planting, layout, etc.) and what type of garden is it?
posted by 1000monkeys at 11:58 AM on April 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Maybe you could give us some more info, like what do you want to track (i.e. watering schedule, feeding, planting, layout, etc.) and what type of garden is it?

It's a 4x8' raised bed in a community garden - I'd like to be able to track what I planted and when, watering/soil amendments used, basic layout, and outcomes (including events/developments along the way that will it will be useful to remember.) I'm primarily growing vegetables.

I've also found a number of templates online, but am curious (and I guess I should have been more specific about this) to know if anyone has found something that has worked well for them.
posted by ryanshepard at 12:13 PM on April 27, 2010

Digital pictures of the bed taken every day you work, plus pictures of the seed packets (or tags, etc.)? They'd be dated by your camera automatically.

You could keep them on your computer, or upload them to a free blog (WordPress, Blogspot, whatever) if you wanted to add notes.

Print it out and three-hole punch it when you're happy with a page.
posted by wenestvedt at 1:15 PM on April 27, 2010

Best answer: Folia sounds like what you're looking for. I have not used my account very much to know how easy it is to use, but it's designed to be used for what you are describing.
posted by pixiecrinkle at 1:31 PM on April 27, 2010

in addition to the still images, you could also shoot video, point to a freshly planted area, give the pertinent details. or, many cameras allow you to record 30 seconds or so of audio along with a still image.
posted by kimyo at 2:13 PM on April 27, 2010

Seconding Folia. I use the task list to remind me of planting times, then add pictures of sprouts and finished plants. It has a large database of seeds so that you can compare your plantings with other people who've planted the same thing. There's a journal area too. And you can also link with other gardeners either in your area or with similar garden plans to get ideas and advice.

For the layout, I used a spreadsheet. I marked each square with what I was planting, and color coded them to show the date of planting.
posted by saffry at 2:59 PM on April 27, 2010

What I did was start a blog about my veggie garden, so I can post pictures, a layout template (from the tool posted above earlier), grow logs, etc. and can share it with my family/friends and the world in general (and get feedback, hopefully). I suppose if you don't want it public, you could just do a private one or host it on your local computer (using iWeb). As far as specific software, I'll have to defer to someone else as I don't have experience with any software packages or paper (other than the generic gardening journals I've seen in garden shops).
posted by 1000monkeys at 3:40 PM on April 27, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone - some helpful leads here that I'll look into!
posted by ryanshepard at 8:59 AM on April 28, 2010

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