Keeping Track of Your Garden Beds and Plants Using a Camera

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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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