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3/20/2006

Coming out of Hibernation

Filed under:General — eric @ 1:38 pm

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The groundhog might have come out on February 2, but I decided to just go ahead and wait until the equinox. I probably should have stayed in my den a little longer — it’s as cold and rainy today as it’s been all winter.

Just the same, it’s time I woke up. I know I’ve got a lot of catching up to do, and no time like the present.

I’ve been working on a project that is actually useful for many of you stumbling upon this. I quietly realeased it to the public a week ago, and there will be much louder releases to follow. So what is it?

It’s FarmNotebook. Don’t let the name fool you — even if your “farm” is just a tiny bed in the yard, you’ll get some use out of this. Here’s what you can do with it, in short:

You’ll be able to organize all of your seed and plant suppliers and the specific varieties you grow. You can record and schedule plantings, starts, transplants, and harvests. While you’re doing all this, a public page is built for you so your customers (even if they’re only your family or friends) can see what you’re growing and harvesting, along with photos of your produce, varietal histories, recipes, and other information you have shared.

Here’s what a public page can look like, based on what I’ve actually grown at my place.

You can create an account, for free, in moments. I’m charging folks $25 for a year’s access, if they use it longer than a month. Odds are, if you’re reading this, you’re a friend of mine, so let me know if you create an account and I’ll mark it as paid.

As I said, it’s designed for market and CSA farms, but it scales down nicely for backyard gardeners. The growers I’ve shown it to have been very excited, and there will be a feature article on it in Growing For Market, the premier magazine/newsletter for the folks I wrote this for.

I wrote it in the new language I mentioned a while back, Ruby on Rails. I remain as excited, if not more so, about it as I was then. It’s opened up all sorts of doors for me. I had a whole list of “wouldn’t it be nice if…” web projects, and now every one of them is feasible. That means I won’t have to look far to keep myself busy, and I’ll be able to work for myself even more.