Difference between Plantings and Seedings

This question comes up often enough that I thought I would start a dedicated forum topic. Here is an explanation from a recent email exchange:

Don’t worry this is a common point of confusion. The terminology is a little too similar right now and it’s something we’re giving thought to changing in the future. Hopefully I can help by explaining a bit in the meantime…

The difference between “Plantings” and “Seedings” is subtle, but important. It might be easier to think of “Plantings” as “Plants” instead. It’s a noun, not a verb. Plantings are “assets” (things), while Seedings are “logs” (events).

Let’s look at an example: “My 2020 Broccoli Crop in Field A” is a Planting asset. It’s a “thing” that I am tracking throughout the season, and will have many different events take place related to it, including the initial seeding into flats, the transplanting out to the field, inputs made to it, activities such as cultivations, harvests taken from it, etc etc. All of those events are recorded as different types of “Logs” in farmOS (Seeding log, Transplanting log, Input log, Activity log, Harvest log, respectively).

So, in order to say “I seeded my 2020 broccoli into flats in the greenhouse and then I transplanted it to Field A” you actually need at least THREE records. You need a “Planting asset” to represent the overall crop which will be tracked throughout the season. And you need two logs: a “Seeding” log and a “Transplanting” log. The Planting asset ONLY has high-level information like it’s name, and other optional info like the season it’s associated with, lineage (eg if you save seeds (eg garlic) and want to show which previous planting assets were parents of this one). The “Logs” are where all the really important information about what happened is stored. So the “Seeding” log stores the date of the seeding, where it took place, how much was seeded, etc. Similarly for “Transplanting” logs.

The reason it is organized this way is so that the same records can be used for many different types of farm operations. Some examples:

  • “I am seeding lettuce in the greenhouse and transplanting it to the field” - 1 planting asset + 1 seeding log + 1 transplanting log
  • “I am direct seeding corn with a tractor” - 1 planting asset (+ 1 equipment asset for the tractor if you want) + 1 seeding log
  • “I am purchasing starts from a nursery and transplanting them directly to the field” - 1 planting asset + 1 transplanting log
  • “I am broadcasting cover crop on a field, but the germination was bad so I am re-seeding it” - 1 planting asset + 2 (or more) seeding logs

So it is organized this way to accommodate all those potential use-cases (and more hopefully!).

If the “Planting asset” idea still feels odd… consider the comparison to animals. If you have an animal you need to keep track of that animal as a record itself, with lots of logs/events that affect that animal throughout its life (birth, movements, medical records, treatments, harvests (milk/eggs/meat), etc). Plantings are the same… they are the central record that all the events relate to. Equipment works the same way.

So hopefully it makes sense why we decided on “Assets” and “Logs” as two of the primary record types in farmOS, and what they’re intended uses are.

The purpose of the “Planting Quick Form” is to make the data entry process easier. So rather than having to manually create a Planting asset and a Seeding log and a Transplanting log, you can use the quick form to create all three at once. That’s why you see them in the Plantings list and the Seedings list. If you look at the “Assets” column in the Seedings list, they link back to the Planting asset. And they are named based on the asset so that it’s clear what they are.

I hope that clears up some of the confusion. I know it’s a bit complicated. We are slowly but surely working towards building tools (like the quick form, and soon: a “crop planning wizard”) that will hopefully hide some of those underlying details so you don’t need to know about them - and can just see everything in a single page summary. All a work in progress…

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I just created a Quick Planting Form. I did this to record the fact that I have transplanted into a bed. When I filled out the form it asked which area the transplanting occurred. I put in the 3 beds I planted into. When I look back in my logs, the Area section is blank. Not sure why…

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Hi @smallaxefarm - Ah so I think you just ran into a limitation in the Planting quick form itself right now: it only supports planting in a single bed.

Two pieces of good news though:

  1. @paul121 already started working on making it possible to reference multiple areas in this pull request: https://github.com/farmOS/farmOS/pull/226
  2. Despite the limitation of the quick form, it IS possible to reference multiple beds in the seeding and transplanting logs themselves. It just means that you’ll need to start by referencing one bed and then manually edit those logs after they are created to add more to them. A bit of a workaround, but it should work.

Go to Logs > Transplantings, and you should see the log that wa created by the quick form. Click on the log name, then click the Edit tab, then go to Location on the left and you can fix the references to the areas there.

Hope that helps!

Ah @paul121 just corrected me - it is already possible to reference multiple beds in the quick form. They just need to be comma-separated and they need to match the area names exactly. You should see options appear in a dropdown as you type - and as long as you click on one of the options in the dropdown it should auto-fill it exactly for you.

The pull request that Paul started, though, may still be relevant. There is currently a limitation to the LENGTH of the text you can put in that field, so it could prevent referencing multiple beds if they all have long names. So we hope to have that limitation fixed soon…

I am seeding field corn directly into a 50 acre field. I am really having problems applying this. Trying to get this sorted out. Trying to get the sequence of entries between assets and logs correctly determined. I need a broad acre crop farmer user guide that strips out all the confusing market veg farming based explanations.

If I understand how to apply the database structure, I should enter my seed purchased as a Planting Asset (think of them as pre germinated plants I guess) and then use the Seeding log to move the Planting asset (the seed) into the given field.
I find it very confusing to have to apply the market veg farming vernacular to a broad acre crop farm scenario. Really need a Seed asset.

When I go to the mobile app, I can’t enter a seeding log through the mobile app without an “Asset” defined. However, when I’m on my computer entering the seeding, the web interface is not requiring the asset entry. Why the discrepancy? This one really got me messed up as I’ve been trying to get my data entered and structured within the forms properly. My mobile app does not appear to be synching to the asset entries I’ve made on my computer. When I try entering a seeding on my mobile app, my planting asset (seed) is not showing up as an asset selection.


All valid observations @graffte ! We are trying to strike the right balance between general and specific use-cases, and there is always room for improvement. Worth noting that in farmOS 2.x, “Planting” assets are renamed to “Plant” (to ease some of the confusion with “Seeding” logs), and “Transplanting” logs can be disabled entirely (in 1.x they are enabled with the “Planting” assets always). Small steps, but hopefully helpful ones.

In addition to that, I’m eager to see the addition of a new “Seed” asset type, as you described, which can be used to track seed inventory before it becomes a “Plant” asset.

That said, the way you are mentally modeling things now is correct. It may seem odd to need both a “Planting” asset and a “Seeding” log - but they serve different/complimentary purposes. The asset is meant to model the overall idea of “the plant you’re managing” - of which “seeding” is only one step. Sometimes it’s the first step, but sometimes it’s not (eg: if you treat your seeds yourself you may have an input log to record the treatment applied).

I would love to see some higher-level UI/UX modules that hide a lot of these lower level details and focus on making an easy to use and standardized workflow for broad acre / row crops.

Would love to see a new forum topic dedicated just to brainstorming what that might look like! If anyone has the time/interest in kicking that off… :slight_smile:

When I go to the mobile app, I can’t enter a seeding log through the mobile app without an “Asset” defined. However, when I’m on my computer entering the seeding, the web interface is not requiring the asset entry. Why the discrepancy?

Actually you do need an asset in both cases. The asset reference field is required on Seeding logs in farmOS 1.x. In the server UI the field is labelled “Planting”, not “Asset” - so that might be the real discrepancy… Field Kit just called it “Asset”. Worth noting that these discrepancies are removed in farmOS 2.x. You can create a Seeding log without referencing any assets… although in practice you’ll want a Plant asset to track other things like Harvests.

Hope that helps!

That helps. Trying to make sure I’m interpreting things properly. I’ve gone down a couple rabbit holes and had to re-enter stuff a time or two. As I enter more stuff, I would like to avoid having to back track. I think I have my head wrapped around it now and how the asset aspect work.
When the Seed asset type is put in place, will there be a means to migrate the Plant asset data into the new Seed asset type?
The seed treatment comment is a good one. I don’t think I’ve handled this right in the way I entered my data.
The UI/UX overlay for broad acre crops would be nice for farmers like me. It would make the whole thing a bit more intuitive. For now, a document that guides farmers through the existing UI/UX terminology, forms, logs etc… and how it ties together for broad acre farming would be really useful. Once you realize that Plants=Seed and where common types of data should be entered, it helps reduce the exploration and experimentation phase of adoption.


When the Seed asset type is put in place, will there be a means to migrate the Plant asset data into the new Seed asset type?

They will have different purposes. The “Seed” asset will be for tracking your pre-planted seed inventory. The “Plant” asset will (still) be used to track the plant once it’s in the ground.

In many ways, “assets” in farmOS are really just a way of organizing your logs so that you can find them easily. In the same way that an “animal” is an asset, which has logs associated with it (movements, medical records, etc), a “plant” (or “planting” in 1.x) is the central record that represents the overall crop you’re growing. So you would have your “2021 Corn in North Field” asset, for example, with seeding logs, input logs, observation logs, harvest logs, etc all associated with it. These logs may ALSO be associated with the “North Field” record directly too - so you can find those records easily in the future by going to either the “2021 Corn in North Field” asset or the “North Field” asset itself.

The idea of a “seed” asset type mainly came up as a way of tracking seed before it becomes a “plant”, so to speak.

Here’s an example:

  • I am going to plant corn in 2 fields: “Field A” and “Field B”.
  • I create a Seed asset called “Corn seed”, with an inventory of 0.
  • When I purchase my corn seed, I record that as a Purchase log, which increments the inventory of my “Corn seed” asset.
  • When it’s time to plant Field A, I create a Plant asset (“2021 Corn in Field A”), and a Seeding log that references it, which gives “2021 Corn in Field A” it’s location (by referencing “Field A”), and also decrements the inventory of my “Corn seed” asset (by the amount that was planted to “Field A”).
  • When it’s time to plant Field B, I do the same thing (with a new Plant asset called “2021 in Field B”).
  • Throughout the season, I can record logs (observations, inputs, harvest, etc) associated with each Plant asset separately - so that it’s easy for me to come back and see what I did later.

This may seem like a lot of steps, but this is how we build a complete model of what happened on the farm. And the concepts are general enough to be mixed and matched for just about any type of operation (and crucially: mixed operations… eg: farms that have both crops and livestock, or bees, or mushrooms, etc etc etc). (Also worth noting: it’s up to you how granular you want to be… if you don’t need to track Seed assets separately, you don’t have to.)

So there are two things to consider: there is the data model (all the granular records that are used to build up a true model representation of what happens), and there is the frontend UI for managing those. Right now, the UI mostly just gives you the tools for creating those granular records, which is certainly tedious. But in time, we envision more higher-level interfaces built that will do a lot of this granular record management for you behind the scenes.

Some examples of this are the “Crop Plan” module (GitHub - mstenta/farm_crop_plan: Crop plan type and related features for farmOS.) or the “Grazing Plan” module (GitHub - farmOS/farm_grazing: Rotational grazing planning module for farmOS.). These add features for managing crops and livestock in a more visual way. Quick forms and “field modules” (for the Field Kit mobile app) are other strategies for this. And these are only the start. There is a lot to do and we need more developers to join the effort! These are still the early days. :slight_smile:

For reference here’s the issue I found for that; https://www.drupal.org/project/farm/issues/3022158

We’ve been using a custom seed asset extensively in 1.x to track the ~2.5K seeds in our small local seed bank from an inventory/regeneration perspective. The module code can be downloaded here - though some parts are a little specific to our use-case and I don’t plan to support or develop it further on 1.x.

For 2.x I have started implementing the corresponding seed asset in https://github.com/symbioquine/farmOS_seed_asset I hope everyone will feel free to follow along or contribute!


I understand what you are describing for the future when a Seed asset type is established. This would be a good step forward. However, today there is no Seed asset. I am entering my seeds and entering them as Plant Assets because that’s what available. When the change is implemented to include Seed assets, I’d like to go backwards to revise the Planting records and change them to Seed assest (because that’s what it was). This would keep the records consistent for prior years and make records of the prior seed purchases and related seedings.

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