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How do you document your gardening? Farm journal, garden diary, smartphone app...

 
Posts: 5
Location: North Carolina
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I am currently using a program for my computer called Keepnote and I have a similar program on my phone. I use to use a plain old notebook book but I find that I'm putting more into the electronic notebook due to the smart phone. I can photograph things and speak my note to the smart phone then later transfer it to the Keepnote on my laptop. If I have an issue with a plant I take a picture and note then I can go on line and look for a solution and put it all in Keepnote. That alone would be impossible to do with a regular notebook unless you just like a Polaroid and glue. Keepnote is FOSS (free open source software) which I prefer over MS or any subscription software. I use Libreoffice calc to make spreadsheets with and those can be inserted or linked in the notebook.
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Posts: 1444
Location: Fennville MI
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Chris Badgett wrote:You need a WordPress powered website that you can easily send content to from your phone.

For example there's an app called http://pressgr.am/ for that to send and publish images quickly.

To make the website super useful, you'll want to organize, categorize, and tag your content. Otherwise, you'll end up with just a Tumblr style site which is cool but not as organized and curated as it could be.



Pressgram is shutdwn, just checked for it tonight  No longer available.
 
pollinator
Posts: 451
Location: Western Kenya
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I am old fashioned... I keep a pen and paper journal.  I find that digital record keeping is very time consuming and distracting for me.  On top of  that, I don't take my phone to the garden... I'm too clumsy and careless, and my hands are too dirty.  There goes my phone, in the irrigation pond... or oops, dropped it on a rock.
 
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Hi all, if anyone is interested, we have built a web app that I think may be useful for at least the journal/record keeping aspects that people have discussed here. It's not strictly permaculture focused but it uses satellite imagery and allows you to use your own map image if you have access to a drone.

This app can be used on your phone or tablet whilst in the garden to record locations, dates, activities, observations, photos and weather information like rainfall and frost dates.

There is lots in the pipeline (planting calendars, companion planting, integration with the Netatmo weather station and the Edyn soil sensor and much more) but it is very usable as is and over the last several years there has barely been a day when I haven't used it myself in my own garden.

If anyone is interested, feel free to check it out at www.planmy.garden, you can start a 14 day trial for free. We would love to hear what you think.
 
gardener & author
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Location: Manitoba, Canada
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Simone Gar wrote:
I am really looking for an iPhone app that does the following:

Quick entry of notes (one click to start new note)
With search
by day & month (not year!) so I can compare say May 16th of several years.
by month only (not year or day) so I can see what I did last May. Did it rain a lot etc?
hashtags as tags. So if you write "There was a lot of #rain today" I would like to be able to click on it and see all notes that have "rain" in the text.
function to add pics (nice to have)
web platform for entry or email service so you can send in notes (nice to have)
export function to excel or text file. (needs to be all files, by tag or single file)


Does anybody know if something like this is out there?

Can somebody make one?



I can't understand why no one has done this yet. From all of the research I have done through Paul's podcasts, these forums, and a bunch of other stuff, it seems to me that there is nothing more important in managing our permaculture systems than good observation. Some individuals are amazing at keeping it all straight in their head. Good for them, I can't. I need a tool on my phone so I can take notes quickly in the field as I see things. I will likely not remember to go write it all down in a paper journal at the end of a long day.

So, since the tool I really want does not appear to exist, and given my background in Computer Engineering, I'm thinking I might make a go at this. Unfortunately, like others, I still have a need for this thing called money. I don't want to hose people but I also would like this project to pay for itself somewhat. The question I have for others is this: How much would you be willing to pay for a decent tool? How about a good tool? How about a great tool (no promises here )?
 
pollinator
Posts: 521
Location: Missouri Ozarks
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I don't own a cell phone.  I keep a leather-covered pocket journal that I usually carry with me everywhere.  It's great for jotting down notes on the garden, livestock, wildlife observations, to-do lists, and no end of random thoughts.

The actual notebook part is consumable, of course, so when one gets filled a new one replaces it.  What's really fun is when pertinent information about something specific transcends multiple notebooks, and I have go "Now where did I write ____?" and then go track down and thumb through a few of them to find when I seeded that particular variety of beans, for example.

What's also fun is going back and trying to figure out what these random sprawling calculations mean.  Apparently I can get filthy rich if I...what?
 
pollinator
Posts: 718
Location: Central Virginia USA
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Generally I like opinions/ advice to be based on personal experience, but I have been terrible at keeping any semblance of organization in my life, and the computer (smart phone) has become my crutch of choice, allowing me to search to find files instantly that would take days/ years if i were looking through paper records--if I found it at all. needless to say I plan to investigate some of the apps mentioned in this thread to help me  organize a bit better.

Currently I try and take pictures which automatically date themselves, then often I write on a website blog associating the pics with commentary

I would like to mention the idea Bill put forward about the farm journal being sold with the farm like old masters (paintings) are sold with the pub.

The multi generational importance of these records  makes me wonder just how accessible they would be, what with changing technologies, new apps that refuse to talk with old ones, and of course the numerous  threats to those marching electrons just waiting for an excuse to break their assigned ranks and flee into chaos.

This could also be true of paper which likes to burn and smudge and disintegrate, so I did lay in a supply of a modern equivalent of rag paper which theoretically lasts longer than wood pulp paper and a fire safe. Now all I have to do is start making some hard copies

One of the things about Permaculture that inspires me the most is that we are in the middle/beginning of some really great changes that could possibly save our human existence on this planet. We may be the generation that future generations look to for inspiration and wisdom. It would be a shame if an EMP or obsolete technology destroyed our records.

Like I said, my personal record keeping is shoddy at best, and hard copies next to nonexistent (although I do try and keep backups), but if I ever do settle down and try and create something for posterity I think I will be aiming at a hard copy with the bare basics to hand over to the next designer when the time comes. (And if the technology still exists, an sd card with  a s***load of pictures)
 
pollinator
Posts: 284
Location: Ozarks
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Notekeeping app or note-taking app.

I use a program on my laptop called cherrytree but it's one guy developing it and it's only for ubuntu desktop os.

Notekeeping/notekeeper apps and document management apps would be the two searches I'd try. These notekeeping apps are considered "productivity" apps in techie terminology. Evernote has a free version and then I think the rest is subscription based, especially syncing between devices. Google has one called keep I think but I don't do google much.

There's a fairly new one called notebook by zoho corp which is free and does most of what evernote does.

I'm trying to get us on a food budget and start buying in bulk and what's on sale and want to really start keeping track of prices somewhere other than in my head so I needed one that I could add multiple stores to, break things down to price per unit etc. Found one and checked out notekeeping apps as well because I want to start using a smart phone more so I'll be getting notebook too. I've got a laptop and ipad mini but neither will fit in a pocket. My wife's aunt just offered us her old iphone so we'll be getting that. No cell service out here so spending several hundred on a good smart phone just wasn't justifiable.  We've got a small prepaid for travel but the screen's not big enough to do much.
Here's notebook https://www.zoho.com/notebook/
Here's a quick demo vid by zoho https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yyHPiBroUpI

Someday maybe they'll make modular mini apps where you just choose all the features you need and the modules all work together. There's so many but none seem to do it all and the software suites are bloated and/or expensive.
 
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On searching, as many others have, for a gardening diary of sorts I first of all came across this forum, then on further searching found this app:

https://www.gardenize.com/

I have only just downloaded it and have not fully tested it out yet, but it seems to tick many boxes. The app lets you record photos and details on individual plants or types of plants, planting areas and special events. Each can be cross referenced and the only cost appears to be if you want to export from the app in anyway.

 
Posts: 16
Location: Piedmont, North Carolina - 7b/8a
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I have used a few note taking apps take keep track of my gardening exploits over the years and I guess I'll put in a vote for Evernote because it is pretty flexible in how you can structure it with different notebooks and tags, as well as the ability to take voice notes and pictures straight to the app.  You can also set reminders in it for future planting dates, etc.

This post got me looking back through my journals which is something I never do, so I had to ask myself why I was even making an effort to take these meticulous notes?  I did enjoy seeing some gardens from years past and I realized that pictures with dates were the most meaningful items in the journal for me.  Cliche or not, a picture is worth a thousand words!  Someone else mentioned they just did a photo journal and I think I will try that for the future.  I am always walking in the yard and garden, so snapping pictures here and there is no big deal.  Then it is just a matter of uploading them on a regular basis into organized folders with a note appended with quick details (variety, source, etc.), if necessary. Easier said than done, but worth trying, I think!
 
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