Plant Tracker

Intro

Today I wanted to share a pretty basic file with you that I am going to start using to track my plant growth and other important metrics. It is a ton of stuff that I am looking to track. I will go through rationale as well as provide examples with my plants. The goal will to be able to build a database that provides me with a large collection of information about each of my plants. It will allow me to glean any correlations between different variables as things change. This will give me a reference point to times where I have success and failures.

Plant Tracker

My newly created plant tracker is going to have tons of data in it! I will try to make as much of the information quantitative as possible but will also include qualitative data as well. The main goal again is to have tracking of each of my plants so I can know what works and what doesn’t. Most of this kind of information you can find across the internet but I don’t believe it will be as detailed as this. It will be basic instructions on how to grow the specific plant. I totally believe that is the best starting point and maybe all you need if you are just trying to grow plants and wanting to capture everything about your plants.

I would argue that you should track some things no matter what kind of gardening you are doing. This kind of spreadsheet is probably more something that someone who is interested in growing commercially. It is also for data nerds like me who want to track everything. I believe there are data fields for everyone in this file but again if gardening is hobby you might not want to invest the time in tracking all of this.

What am I tracking

As I mentioned above it is quite a few things it is 21 columns of information and a 22nd column for notes. I am hoping to not only build my own playbook with actual instructions on how to grow each plant. I am looking to be able to experiment so that I can see what is the best way to achieve various goals. Best yield, fastest growth, figure total resource usage etc. I will then have a full picture on what it takes and also be able to share it with all of you. To do this I need the baseline information so I have a control group for the variables I want to test.

I am going to record dates, size measurements, resource usage, environmental variables. I will also measure the time between measurements and have the aggregate of the measurements when I don’t measure everyday. For example if I take two days between recorded measurement I will have the water usage total for both days. The goal is to have the units of measurement to also be some form of /day for resource usage. Once I have sufficient data I will migrate the data to an SQL database.

That will allow me to have a large set over time, excel will get maxed out quickly with tons of measurements. Once I have a fully operating greenhouse with a ton of plants I may need to go directly into an SQL database because the number of measurements could be pretty large. I am also huge on efficiency so it would save a step. Once final note is that I am going to measure everything in metric units. While in the USA we use US customary units they are not as easy to use b/c they are not a base 10 unit system. You can use any units you want, but I am going to use metric units(also what scientists use).

Conclusion

Measurement is important to be able to understand what is really going on in your growing system. Pairing inputs and outputs over time shows you how things impact each other. It is important to keep great records and measurement. Use a spreadsheet or a database tool to allow you to easily track and manipulate data. Make sure you are measuring the things you find the most important. There can be some measurements that you may not need depending on your purposes.

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