Ann Torrence wrote:Here at the ranch we declared 2016 the "year of data." Thus I'm formatting a new garden journal/homestead record book PDF for 2016. There are loads of examples on the internet for annual vegetable gardens. And I've worked out a good start on animal husbandry. But I haven't seen anything that inspires me for record-keeping of perennial gardens. What do I want to know? Bloom date, annual yields at minimum. Holistic spray logs. Observational notes.
I already have in my PDF design a harvest log, and an idea for a cool bloom table/chart. One thing I want to track is whether we have sufficient cross-pollination in our fruit crops so I want the bloom log for sure. It would be ideal, but I'm not sure I can keep up with a system that requires a cultivar by cultivar record-keeping system. We already have 75+ varieties of apples alone. That sounds like Newton's diary, no time for that.
But whatever I do, it's going to have to be somewhat separate from the annual records, because we want on-going data. Did pruning in week 10 in 2015 but not until week 12 in 2016, that kind of stuff. I'm thinking to use a weekly observation log in the 2016 homestead recordbook that gets transferred during the winter down time to a long-term permaculture record. How does your mind work? Would you prefer such a tool organized by zone or planting bed, where you might replicate data for the same plant (say chives) in two or three zones? or by plant, regardless of zone? Or some other way? If you had 200 perennial types, how many would you really track?
If it's a PITA, it won't get used, so the system has to be simple. Anyone seen any brilliant solutions? Digital or paper-based?
I wish this was a post for suggesting something; but, it isn't. We are just getting started and would love to see what you come up with.
Joseph Lofthouse wrote:
I have kept a LOT of records over the years. The only ones that I use consistently are digital photographs. I use image gallery software that allows me to tag photos. I also take a color-wheel into the garden with me that I can write on with dry-erase markers. So I can photograph a label and also tag the digital photos. If I put stakes by things in the garden, I use large bold letters so that they will show up well on the digital photos. The image gallery software imports images by date, so I can also compare how one season compares to another. My favorite camera had the option of printing the date right onto the photo.
Every week or two, I walk through the whole farm, and take photos of anything and everything. I never know later on what I'll be interested in so I might as well photograph it all.
For example: Here is today's photo. Pretty much sums up the whole month. I needed garlic. So I tried to dig some. The photo documents that the ground wasn't frozen as of January 2nd, 2016, even though temperatures have been below zero most nights this week. Happy New Year! The foot or so of powder on the ground has provided excellent insulation.