Keeping Track of Your Garden Beds and Plants Using a Camera

Posted by @beckygardener on
Many gardeners need a way to easily keep track of their garden beds as well as their plants (especially if they are hybridizing). With camera in hand, I came up with two ideas that have worked for me.

I garden "on the cheap" and tend to think "outside of the box" to come up with quick and affordable ideas to accommodate my gardening addiction. Out of necessity, I needed an inexpensive and easy way to keep track of the plants in my garden beds, as well as plant stats for my hybridizing hobby. Both ideas involve using a camera for documenting/recording purposes.

My first idea involved a way of keeping track of the plants I had added to a raised garden bed (that was the new home of quite a few different daylily cultivars I had acquired). My camera is always with me out in the garden, so I decided to use it to record the placement of plants. I took a photo of the raised bed with the newly planted daylilies. I loaded the photo onto my computer and used a photo editor program to include text. I chose a small sized font, using the "insert text" option, to add cultivar names to each plant in the raised bed photograph. Though it did take a little time and effort to label so many plants, it was well worth the effort because now I have a permanent record of the location of the cultivars in that raised bed. I also had the photo printed out as a 5" x 7" and even laminated it, so that I can take it out to the garden as a reference whenever I need to locate a particular daylily plant.

Here is my raised bed photo using the text option to label all of the plants in that bed:
Thumb of 2016-07-13/beckygardener/a8187d

My other dilemma was a method of quickly and efficiently recording stats for my hybridizing program as I evaluated each seedling. I noticed school supplies on sale recently and saw white plastic clipboards for sale. The idea of using the clipboard as a whiteboard popped into my head, so I purchased the clipboard to give it a try. I also purchased a pack of 2 white-board fine-point markers and a box of Mr. Clean Magic Eraser (to wipe the board clean afterwards). I use colored paperclips to mark flowers when I do hybridizing crosses, so I bought more paperclips, and I happened to have a very small aluminum retractable tape measure. All of these items fit into a sandwich-size ziploc baggie, which I could easily clip to the clipboard.

With clipboard in hand and the camera strapped around my neck, I headed out to the garden to try this idea.

Plastic white clipboard with garden supplies:
Thumb of 2016-07-13/beckygardener/71d6ef

I take a photo of the plant stats written on clipboard:
Thumb of 2016-07-13/beckygardener/661c33

Here you can see how quickly and easily the Magic Eraser wipes the clipboard clean:
Thumb of 2016-07-13/beckygardener/3bb146

The photo(s) of the actual plant follow the stats photo on my camera. Here you can see a bloom photo of CCC121 (unknown parentage):
Thumb of 2016-07-13/beckygardener/398d65

My method is to take a photograph of the stats on the clipboard first, followed by photo(s) of the blooms/plant. When I take a lot of daylily cultivar/seedling photos, I know that the stat photo comes first, followed by the bloom photos, in my camera memory. I do not keep photos in my camera, but erase them every day after loading the images to my computer. The informational photos go into a file folder in my computer under each individual plant name or code. I track the plants year to year by doing this. The photo information can also be transferred to a paper copy that I keep in a 3-ring binder.

I have a "Daylilies 2016" File Folder in my computer. Inside that folder, I keep a separate folder of every single seedling or cultivar:
Thumb of 2016-07-13/beckygardener/07aae2

When I click on the folder for "CCC121", I can view all of the photos I took of that plant (including edited photos), as well as the clipboard info photos:
Thumb of 2016-07-13/beckygardener/988970

These ideas have worked out well for me and are worth sharing with other gardeners!

Comments and discussion:
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
The red raised bed material. by Brinybay May 14, 2017 9:05 PM 3
UPDATE: I have modified my recording method! by beckygardener Feb 22, 2017 10:06 PM 0
raised bed mixes... by Gymgirl Dec 10, 2016 8:10 PM 1
Another use by LarryR Sep 25, 2016 2:56 PM 2
Camera by shelleymunger Sep 24, 2016 8:38 AM 3
keeping track by Mariel Sep 19, 2016 3:13 PM 1
For winter by CarolineScott Sep 17, 2016 6:07 PM 9
great idea! by maryann Sep 17, 2016 12:43 PM 1
photo editor program by susanblac Sep 17, 2016 12:43 PM 1
Nice! by MissMew Sep 17, 2016 10:06 AM 1
Untitled by RuuddeBlock Sep 17, 2016 6:22 AM 1

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