For this blog, I wanted to revisit a topic I have written about in the past, and that is KEEPING RECORDS. I know that veteran violet growers all have their own methods, but for those of you who are searching for new ways of keeping track of your collection, I will share with you what I do. Maybe it will give you new ideas for what information to keep in your own records.
I began with an Excel spreadsheet and set it up for landscape formatting. By manipulating the sizes of each column, I have gotten mine to fit perfectly on the page, even with all of the following columns. I do have to use pretty small font, though.
2. Size – This is the registered size for the particular variety (cultivar.) I like to have this listed, but it may not be important to you.
3. Source – This is the person, vendor, sale or other source that I acquired this particular plant or leaf. I also list the date. I think it’s really important to know this, for so many reasons! You might lose it and want it again; you might end up with pests and won’t want to use that person or vendor again; or you might be asked by someone else where they might obtain it if you can’t spare it at the time. If you include little else on your records, include this!
4. One column each for the follow: Plants, Babies, Leaves – In each corresponding column, I list how many of each I have. It’s useful when you have a larger collection and don’t want to give away your last plant of a variety or need to know if you have an extra baby for a friend.
5. Repot – This is the last date the plant or baby was repotted. It’s amazing when you look back and realize that a plant somehow got missed on your repotting regimen for 2 years. Yes, it really happens.
6. BT – A small yes/no column for whether or not the plant is blooming true. Sometimes I like a plant and keep it even when not blooming true; or I evaluate it as a potential sport. Other times, it’s good to know if you want to prepare a plant for show. But for me, it’s imperative info; I can’t sell any leaves from those and wouldn’t want to pass them along to friends, either.
7. Comments – A larger column that I use to add generalized growing comments. Some cultivars like it warmer, brighter, or tend to have little quirks. It’s good to have a place to add those. I also add notes here about how long a particular cultivar takes to come into full, show-worthy bloom after repotting.
8. Placement – I have 3 growing stands with multiple shelves each. I don’t have time to search through every tray and shelf looking for one little plant. I have a numbering system for my shelves and trays, so that very quickly, I can find exactly what I am looking for.
9. PIC – Do I have a picture? I take photos of my plants as they come into bloom or are in full bloom so that I can post them on the website. When I was trying to keep track of which ones I still needed to photograph, the column was added. It’s still useful now, so I’m glad I added it.
10. REG – Is the variety registered? Yes, I have a column specifically for this, although it would be very easy to just add something like ® ß after the variety name, and I may still do that. This info comes in handy when considering which plants to prep for a show. [Plants must be registered to put into an AVSA collection, but they may still be shown in regular classes.]
I do keep other inventory lists as well, and yours need not be nearly as complex or comprehensive as mine is. I’m just very organized and prefer to always know exactly what I have and where to find it. Your list might be as easy as a database of descriptions in your First Class © program, which I highly recommend. I don’t currently use the program, because it isn’t available for Mac yet. I don’t expect it will be anytime in the near future, so I just get my descriptions from other sources. But, if you want to check into it, follow the link for First Class © on my Link page.
Below is just a little teaser of what my inventory template looks like. Maybe it will help you envision how to set up your own.
Until next time, happy growing!