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…

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…

1 Like

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…