I have been away from the garden for nearly five days. But, in this case out of sight did not mean out of mind. We did get almost three inches of rain while we were gone, that was great. I had mulched the pathways heavily just before leaving, so suffered no wash or erosion problems.
I went to a discount, overstock, odd lot, store while we were gone. Yes, I bought garden stuff, but no plants. I got 12 new pair of gloves with the palm nitrile coating for $10.00. Bought some droppers and small bottles I had been wanting to use with the chemicals I plan to use this coming season. Also I had been wanting to try adding a foliar fertilizer to my spray program and I was able to buy a 10 lb. box of general purpose Miracle-Gro for only $10.00.
When I got home I got out and picked up one load of bagged leaves.
While away I gave a lot of thought to trying to improve my record keeping. Sorry to say, all that thinking did not accomplish much. I thought I needed a computer program to help me keep better records, so I bought PlantStep, and it most certainly does help. Maybe I just need to be more proficient using the program. I have heard of people keeping great records with notebooks, with Excel, and other programs. With all the info PlantStep allows me to record, I seem to be just awful at recording it.
I currently have 380 registered cultivars, close to 1,000 seedlings: I just don't seem to have the time or time management skills to record information on so many plants. So how do the rest of you cut down the time and effort it takes to keep great records.
Now I see hybridizers that plant thousands of seeds and grow thousands of seedlings each year, so I need to learn how they do it. That seems like an impossible task to me. Plus, they have to find time to keep an eye on the parent plants and make sure they are all up to par...more record keeping.
So I need some suggestions of what to keep records of and a way to narrow those down to the most useful records to keep.
I am really going to try and be able to produce a top ten performers list at the end of the year. Top bud counts? Top fan counts? Maybe a list of the plants with the best branching and display of the buds? The list of things seems endless, and I think that is why I always never meet my record keeping goal. I am just thinking about too many things to keep records of, and end up keeping poor records.
Each year I seem to go through this, some years I do decent, other years like this past year I am just a total failure.
I cut back on taking photos last year because it took up so much time, record keeping for me is almost built around my photo taking. My camera has a video feature, so I take a photo, then make a short few second video that records the name and any observations I make of the plant. I download the pictures to the computer and then try to add the info to my PlantStep program before deleting the files so the card will be clear for the next photo session. But trying to do that everyday with over a thousand plants is never going to happen. I have to be able to cut that method down to much fewer plants, without skipping over some plants that need to be recorded.
I did find it easier when I had much fewer plants, but I it should be possible to keep a few lists and important traits.
I suppose for picking the top ten plants each year, just the number of photos would be a hint at the best performers.
Now maybe instead of trying to keep track of so many individual traits maybe I should go with total blooms? Gosh, that seems like way too much counting!Just how do people do it. I am sure the info could all be put into the PlantStep program, but I don't know how well it would be able to digest all the info and print out a top ten list?