The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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February 5, 2014

Garden journals: Reviews, tips and recommendations

(Continued)

The program has some quirks. For example, the Plant Catalog has an area to put in the botanical name, but no column that shows it in the grid below, so you are limited to searches by common name. Plants cannot be put into the Garden Plants sections directly; they have to be imported ("planted") from the Plant Catalog.

The Garden Plants section offers common name, cultivar, primary and secondary color, pattern, flower date, information on purchasing, etc. There are no input areas for light, moisture, dimensions, soil type, pH, botanical name, etc. unless you use the comments area, which does not appear to be searchable. The program does have a Planning section for tracking plants you may want to acquire and a Transplant tracking function.

Online

A new form of tracking gardening information is to store it online, either on a dedicated site or via a blog. Online gardening journals enjoy many of the same benefits as the software option: rapid data aggregation, increased flexibility, ease of sharing with others, and superior search abilities. Archiving is still an issue, but there is less of a problem with data corruption.

The biggest drawback with the online gardening journals is that your information is on someone else’s server. If they decided to discontinue the site, your information could be lost as well. Access can be a problem if you are not at a computer or if your online connection goes down. In addition, sharing is different in this environment; instead of sending the information itself, users typically send the URL of their blog or online data. If at a future time you do not want people to have access to this data, or if you only want them to access to some of it, things become more difficult.

Example of a dedicated online gardening journal: Green Thumb Journal.

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