Record Keeping

When I worked in Reno I had a friend who was a scientist at UNR and also an avid vegetable gardener. Whenever she went on vacation I took care of her garden, and I was encouraged to pick and eat anything that was ripe, but ONLY after I had weighed and recorded it. No browsing my way through her garden as I do in my garden. She still keeps meticulous records and grows wonderful vegetables.

It’s actually very helpful to keep records. Although my peas and strawberries never make it into the house to be weighed, I do record things like

 The day the first daffodil opens in spring, and the tall asters flower in the fall

 The date of the last frost in spring

 When I planted seeds, where I got them, when they germinated, when they had ripe fruit

 The date I found the first ripe strawberry

 The date of the first frost in fall

And so on……

As the years go by, these accumulated records help in avoiding lots of garden disasters. People have very short memories about many things. They will be convinced that this year is hotter/wetter/colder/dryer than last year, but a quick glance at the records will solve the question. Mostly though, these records help me to decide when to plant, where and what to plant, and what to just plain give up on.

When I left work at UNR my lab mates gave me a farewell gift of a weather station—the perfect gift for me. In order to cope with all the limitations of the system, I had to put the temperature probe in a less than ideal location, but I have learnt that if I subtract 5 degrees from the reading, it’s pretty close to the real thing. Mostly it’s the trend I like to see. The following graphs compare the month of September for the last 3 years. Is it what you expected it would be?


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