Wulf's Webden

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Programming the Garden


Spring has been here for a while now, things are growing and I’ve got to get a move on with keeping tabs on my garden data. If I want to be able to look back and, for example, see how long my tomato seeds have taken to germinate in the past or which have been the best yielding varieties, I’ve got to capture the data accurately, thoroughly and in a way I can query it.

I started work on a new database to take the data from the now defunct MyFolia site and to add new records last September – look for entries tagged florafolio. I have created a few new records since then but I’ve still got information jotted down on bits of paper and, if I don’t make the process easier soon, I will have big gaps. Now that I’ve got a powerful Windows box, I briefly toyed with the idea of using MS Access (easy creation of forms and reports) but I decided that feeding the data in wouldn’t be entirely trivial and taking it back out would be harder, so I’ve stuck with the sqlite3 database I cooked up last year.

This weekend, I’ve been giving things a push. One thing you do get with the professional version of Windows 10 is the Windows Subsystem for Linux, so I’ve got a bash command line at my fingertips with tools like python3 available. So far, I’ve written a simple script that lets me search my data and identify the ID numbers assigned to particular plants. It has a simple menu system so I can search the whole database, unarchived plants only or exit from the program. That isn’t much but it allows me to answer a common question – what record number will link with entries on this particular plant or do I need to create a new – more easily than before.

The next step will probably be to automate the process of recording a harvest from a plant. It doesn’t take a lot of data but does require three different tables to be updated. However, to keep on the pragmatic side, I might just run with what I’ve got so far, using the script to get the IDs and manually entering at least a bit of my data backlog. That way, I can decide if more assistance with harvest data is the next priority or if establishing new plants (another task starting to get underway – tomato seedlings started this morning) is what I should be focusing on.