Record Keeping

– Posted in: Seeds and Seed Starting

I use a database to keep track of seed varieties, germination requirements, methods, problems etc. At somewhere in the neighborhood of 400 to 500 items sown per season, the database is a lifesaver. Bookish Gardener, show this to your husband and he can relax some! I started keeping the list to keep me from ordering something I still had seed of. I print out ‘to be sown’ lists of things with like germination needs so I can keep straight the warm-cold-warm stratify folks from the cold-warm-cold guys and the 40 degree germinators from the ‘needs oscillating freeze/thaw’ guys.
This would not be so useful to pure vegi gardeners but I can also look back and see what worked well or poorly in seasons past. I use a simple database which can calculate seeds on hand & sowing dates, show different year’s records for comparison, and, TA-DA!, print plant tags. I can include way more information than if I hand wrote them and they are in fact legible by someone other than myself.
I too start the season well, carefully detailing my entries, but by April and May things get sketchy. I keep a section for notes though and have been able to fine tune crops by noting what should be earlier, what likes it cooler, what is too annoying to grow again, and so on. And since the list is on the computer it does not get mud on the pages making them unreadable.

About the Author

USDA Hardiness Zone: 4b/5aLocation: rural; just south of British Columbia/Idaho borderGeographic type: foot of Black & Clifty Mountains (foothills of Rockies–the Wet Columbia Mountains in BC climate- speak)Soil type:acid sand (glacial lake bed)/coniferous forestExperience level: intermediate/professionalParticular interests: fragrant & edible plants, hardy bulbs, cottage gardening, alpines, peonies, penstemons & other blue flowers, primulas, antique & species roses & iris; nocturnal flowers Also: owner of Paradise Gardens Rare Plant Nursery

In its own way, frost may be one of the most beautiful things to happen in your garden all year . . . Don’t miss it. Like all true beauty, it is fleeting. It will grace your garden for but a short while this morning. . . . For this moment, embrace frost as the beautiful gift that it is.

~Philip Harnden in A Gardener’s Guide to Frost: Outwit the Weather and Extend the Spring and Fall Seasons

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