Note that this is an old post from early 2018 – ForkMojo evolved from this concept, though some elements are still in the pipeline.
As I mentioned in my introduction, last year it became clear that I needed to find a way to spend more time ‘on the plot’. More time pursuing horticultural activities. However, I have no formal qualifications or ‘work experience’ in that area. Simply a few years trial and error and plenty of enthusiasm. What I do however have is an extensive background in application (software) development. I needed to find a way to utilise that somehow.
Originally, I intended simply to start a blog – which of course I still have. However, there are plenty of gardening blogs out there. Most of which are well worth a read. I wasn’t convinced I’d be able to bring anything new or exciting to that party. I spent a few weeks mulling over various ideas. Trying to work out what would add value and be a reasonable proposition. But I inevitably talked myself out of each idea for one reason or another. Then I shifted focus and began to think about ‘what do I need?’. From there, the ForkMojo concept evolved and I quickly realised that by developing something for ME was more likely to evolve into something of use to others. If it didn’t, then I haven’t wasted any of that time.
So what is it?
Inventory Management & Scheduling
If like me, you have a huge collection of seeds (and can’t help but buy more each year!), then you need to organise and collate these in one way or another. Some organise them according to common or botanical names. Others organise them according to sowing dates. Each method has it’s own ‘pros and cons’. For example if you sort by name then it’s easy to miss a sowing window unless you have a great memory. Likewise, if you sort by sowing dates, it’s easy to forget whether you have certain seeds or not. Checking can become a challenge when you’re collection really gets big! A ForkMojo account will allow you to manage your inventory. Sort according to name, sowing dates or activity (sown, planted, harvested etc).
The ‘Forkpedia’ (yes, I know!) will bring together as much information about plants as possible. Detailing propagation, planting, harvesting, nutritional details (for edibles), pests & problems and a great deal more. Relevant videos can be collated and added to each page, along with user-submitted tips (ask 10 gardeners the same question, and get 10 different answers!). Of course, much of this information is already out there. But often in different places.
We live in the North-West of England. Pretty much ‘middle ground’ when it comes to sowing dates on the seed packet. In recent times we have considered a move to the Scottish islands. Partly for the calmer lifestyle, and partly because I’m more likely to be able to fulfil my ‘2 acre’ dream. However, as anyone ‘North of the Border’ will tell you, the dates on a seed packet are of little relevance in that part of the world. Everything will be a month or more behind the rest of the country. With that in mind, where possible I’m trying to include more relevant data for different locations. Data which can be added by users themselves.
More often than not, we sow a seed, give it the attention it needs, plant it out & harvest. But we rarely document the process. As part of the inventory process on ForkMojo, at each stage (and whenever you choose) you can add dated notes and photos. These are all collated together on a single plant activity page. This allows you to quickly see the journey from sowing to harvest – for either the current or previous seasons. Crucially, you’ll also be able to see what other users are doing with the same plant. I would stress that I’m very mindful of making this as quick and easy as possible. I don’t want to spend time in front of a screen instead of outside getting my hands dirty either!
Collections & Lists
Each user can create their own collection, or list, using the Forkpedia database. This can be literally *anything*. From a collection of Low Carb Vegetables to Flowers for Greenhouse Growing, or even a simple ‘shopping list for next season’. Creating and adding to a list takes no more than 2 clicks. You can share or view other public lists too.
Right now, authoring and editing data is a mammoth task. Not to mention there’s a huge number of plants to be added before I could even consider this as a comprehensive resource. There are various bugs to fix, cosmetic improvements to make and so on – which is why a ForkMojo account is currently only available on an invitation basis. I’ll be inviting a selection of users each week, before opening it fully to all. With that said, I do have a defined roadmap for the future. Some parts of which have already been started. I’ll share more details about those plans when the time is right.