All Things Gardening forum: On-line tools for gardening

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Name: Frank Richards
Clinton, Michigan

Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
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frankrichards16
May 28, 2014 6:17 AM CST
I am a somewhat psuedo serious gardener. My major interests are Dahlias, Daylilies, Dwarf Conifers, Shrubs and Peonies (actually, trees are OK too). However, I am a computer geek too! And, because my head is usually in the clouds, here are some of my favorite on-line applications that I find useful for "whatever" gardening.

The most important tool for me is Google Spreadsheets.I have one master sheet and several sub-sheets to keep track of every plant. I even have the existing or native plants and weeds listed. Yes, when I identify a weed, I add it to my sheet! Here are the key features of my spreadsheet:

1. I take photos of every plant and post them on Flickr or Picasa Web Albums (both of these are free web applications & I use both). Once I have a photo uploaded, I copy the link address and paste it in my spreadsheet (this is a really useful Google Sheets feature). That way, when I am using the spreadsheet, I can quickly click to bring up a photo of any plant. Many times I take annual photos so I can view yearly progress and changes.

2. For each entry, I also try to link to specific relative data on the web (including photo, if available). For example, for my Daylilies, I usually link to the “All Things Plants" or AHS database. Usually, I just use the ATP link, because they include a link to AHS. For many perennials and conifers my proclivity is towards the Missouri Botanical Gardens database (http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/gardens-gardening/you...). Carsten Burkhardt's Web Project Paeonia is great source for peony info (http://www.paeon.de/). And, of course, American Dahlia Society for Dahlias. However, the ADS database does not seem to be well maintained.

3. I identify a specific “Bed” or location for each plant. For example I have a “Red Bed” in the front of the house. It is a rather large bed, so I have divided the bed into 4 areas: R1,R2,R3 and R4. I have a sub-sheet that allows me to select the bed “code” to list the plants I have in R1, R2 and so on (if I use “R” it will list the entire Red Bed). I have over 30 bed codes that I use. Many times through out the summer, I will print a “bed” list and take an inventory. If you have hundreds of specimens or if you are just plain "old", then sometimes you might miss a plant gone dead. I currently have over 1600 items in my sheet.

4. When I purchase new plants, I assign them an initial location (bed) code of A0. This allows me to generate a list of plants in the greenhouse that are in need of planting. I also download this list so I can easily generate plant labels using my Brother P-touch label printer. Here’s a copy of my current list for planting. Note that I purchased some new daylilies:)



5. I also add plants to my spreadsheet that I would like to have in the future. I use a bed code of A5 or something like that so that I can view my wishlist.

Another on-line app that I use is “Remember the Milk”. This App lets you enter a date and task. At the specified date, the app sends you an email or text as a reminder. You can also set up your calendar (e.g. Apple Calendar or Google Calendar) to automatically read this info. Here is an example of one of my events: I have a July 15th action to “Harvest the Garlic”. I have set this reminder up as a yearly repeating event, so each year I get pinged at the appropriate time.

Of course you can use this app for other things as well... I usually note the date when I spot my first returning Purple Martin.

Maintaining a spreadsheet is a learning experience. I research the plant on-line, I learn how to pronounce it, I see what it looks like and I know when to expect what. Life is good:)

Finally, for those doubters, I really do document my weeds. Since I am in the county, I decided to share this photo of Echinochloa crus-galli, (Barnyard Grass), ih-kye-no-KLOE-uh kruss-GAL-eye, 5 ft,, ZoneHA, Weed,W1

Thumb of 2014-05-28/frankrichards16/879caa

Name: Jennifer
48036 MI (Zone 6b)
Cottage Gardener Houseplants Spiders! Heucheras Frogs and Toads Dahlias
Hummingbirder Sedums Winter Sowing Peonies Region: Michigan Garden Ideas: Level 2
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jvdubb
May 28, 2014 7:00 AM CST
I have much to learn from you Frank!

I used to be very good about documenting on spread sheets. I got away from it for several years but I am finally getting back to it. I also use Picasa web albums. They are a great reference for me when I am stumped about what something is, or where I put something.
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the first seed swap Region: United States of America Region: Michigan
Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Birds Butterflies Dog Lover Cat Lover
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Weedwhacker
May 28, 2014 7:31 AM CST
Even documenting your weeds -- you are very thorough, Frank !!

Johnny's Selected Seeds has some really useful interactive tools on their website -- http://www.johnnyseeds.com/t-interactivetools.aspx?source=E_...

My favorites are the Succession Planting Calculator, the Fall Planting Calculator, and the Seed Starting Date Calculator. These are spreadsheets with a lot of the work already done, for those of us not so familiar with entering the formulas to make them work. Smiling
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Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Composter Garden Photography Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Seedfork
May 28, 2014 8:59 AM CST
Frank,
Frank said "I am a somewhat psuedo serious gardener", documenting weeds sounds more like "really serious" gardener to me.
"However, the ADS database does not seem to be well maintained." Frank, that sounds like a job you would be perfect for.
The current list for planting didn't show!

I just realized the other day I have not accounted for several daylilies planted last year, and didn't remember moving several more that appeared where I was not expecting them to be. Just printing out labels with a pencil still on old blinds here, one day maybe I will upgrade to a better system.
Name: Frank Richards
Clinton, Michigan

Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
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frankrichards16
May 28, 2014 10:32 AM CST
Seedfork said:Frank,
Frank said "I am a somewhat psuedo serious gardener", documenting weeds sounds more like "really serious" gardener to me.
"However, the ADS database does not seem to be well maintained." Frank, that sounds like a job you would be perfect for.
The current list for planting didn't show!

I just realized the other day I have not accounted for several daylilies planted last year, and didn't remember moving several more that appeared where I was not expecting them to be. Just printing out labels with a pencil still on old blinds here, one day maybe I will upgrade to a better system.


I submitted this post last year to Ideas. It was approved for publication last month. It never showed up. I got tired of waiting.

So, I cut and pasted the post. I could not find that screen shot from my spreadsheet. The cut & paste did not include the uploads.

No more ideas for me!


Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Composter Garden Photography Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Seedfork
May 28, 2014 11:41 AM CST
I've had an idea approved but not posted also, but I figured with Trish having the baby that got things a little behind. My ideas are always pretty simple, so nothing too involved and am willing to wait, don't need acorns at the current moment, but I have been know to run out. Anyhow I will look for the idea when it does get posted.

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