Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

An inspiring conversation with Anthony Foo led my husband and I to talking about information and how the more you specialise in any one area, the less you know from a broader perspective. There is also the information that you 'think' is common knowledge that others (often beginners but somtimes experts) are not aware of. An example of this was when Anthony casually mentioned that 'of course' you leave tap water in a bucket for a couple of days before watering the garden with it to ensure that the chlorine has been evaporated. Apparently chlorine is not good for the roots of your plants. This is something that I was completely unaware of. A lot of people have this kind of knowledge, in the business world it is called 'inherent' and many businesses are constanly trying new methods to extract it so that it is not lost when an employee leaves.

One of my skills is writing html (web based) help files that if cross referenced adequatly have a familiar layout where information can be accessed quickly and easily. I have read a number of books, internet articles and magazines and to be honest the more I read the more confused I get. I find it diffult to remember was that for strawberries or tomatoes. Due to the large number of information mediums, It is difficult to return to the correct source to check or verify the information.

I have decided to start a project compiling all this information into an easy to read, cross referenced help file and would appreciate ANY input no matter how inconsequential you may think it.

This whole project is in the very early stages but I am hoping that it can be made available as a free compiled chm file and be downloaded by anyone who is interested from one or more compatible websites.

Anyone interested in helping with the project by providing information should email me at the address below. (Can you please ensure that the word 'help' is included in the subject file so that I can create a rule for any emails received.)

mccallumfamily@iinet.net.au

I would also appreciate anyone who is willing to proofread/ edit/ check the file during the project let me know so that I can email compiled chm versions during the process.

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Replies to This Discussion

Hi Donna, I've sent an excel spreadsheet with some of the planting calendars, and companion planting infromation I've collected off the Internet to your email.. don't know whether they are useful for your purpose though ~
If there is going to be some kind of spread sheet or database then it really does need to be in a form which anyone can read. Having a spread sheet in Excel would mean the information is not available to me or anyone using a different platform.

The suggestion of a Wiki page goes all the way to having the information available to all and not just to people who buy certain brands of software. As well, being available to input from anyone with info (subject to moderation, I expect) means it's is an inclusive system and rich with ideas and experiences from many points of view. Bravo Wiki! :-)
Hi Florence

This idea never really got off the ground - at least not yet anyway.

In saying that with BSS up and growing now I may revisit this and have another go, it will be easier when I get a little notebook and I can do it on the train instead of fighting hubby at home for the computer lol.

Thanks for the information, and I will keep you informed of the progress.
I know this is an old thread and the project may or may not still be on the cards.. but one comment i'd like to make regards the authoring method. The main challenge with a CHM/HTML style document is that typically there's one person that will have to be responsible for managing the content. Have you considered a wiki style implementation whereby anyone can contribute content as time permits? Over time, the information builds and gets refined as more people use it as a reference point.

Having a SE-QLD or Brisbane based gardening wiki would be great! Occasionally i'll come across some great info but realize that it doesn't apply to my climate, situation etc. I know there's already a great deal of information out there but it's dispersed across many websites and sometimes written in a manner that makes it difficult to search and extract the information you need.

The only thing that would kill such a project is that if something like this already exists - which it doesn't, to my knowledge but i'll admit that I don't have a good idea of what's already out there.

Thoughts?
Wiki is a good idea. I don't know how to set one up without doing some research, but I always thought you'll need to host it somewhere... so a source of host and possibly an easy to remember web address is needed?

A quick search reveals there are services called wiki farms, which maybe what we need to set up such a database..

Anyone have experiences in setting up a wiki?
Hi Florence, I've recently setup a blog and it seems that wiki's are similar. There's a couple of free hosting companies but there's various pro's & cons depending on who you go with. I also noticed Google has a "sites" app so I thought i'd quickly knock one up to see what it looks like, how it worked etc.

http://sites.google.com/site/isoiledmyplants/

Don't mind the name, thats just the title of my other site and it wasn't taken so it's an example only. I've put some dummy content up - not much but you can see how it works. I can easily add people as collaborators, site owners etc but otherwise the site is view-only by the public. You can chose from a great many number of themes, I only picked red because its similar to the default theme here :)

It support attachments, user comments and I found it really easy to create and modify pages. If you'd like to see how the editing works, send me your email address and i'll invite you as a site owner. It was your idea to begin with so I don't plan to run the thing but i'll assist wherever necessary of course. I work in IT so can organise the purchase & redirection of domain names to this site if required.

Please note that you will require a google (gmail) account but they're also free and simple to setup if you don't already have one - this is required for editing only. Joe Schmoe who wants to look at the site won't need one. Let me know what you think.

Cheers,
Brent.
www.cityfoodgrowers.com.au

has a big database of plant info behind it and it's specific to brisbane - peter puts it together in Samford...

so maybe it's already out there?
Not sure which post to reply to since they are all different ideas which have a great deal of merit. One observation is that there is a lot of willing in this group to help and that's great!

My skills are limited to proof-reading and perhaps double-checking and for that I'm happy to volunteer.
Could you not start it here and add too the forum blog area? and just have each vege in its own forum? Carrot and then write bla bla bla and everyone add good info to the subject carrot......no comments on how well or how bad we are doing lol, just growing info about the plant/subject......
and then next vege, zuk etc etc etc etc everyone add to it or edit what goes on????
Just an idea.......to keep it in the group?
(is there a setting to erase what shouldnt be up there or to block others from adding and just keep it to one aurthor or something?)
or what about add anothe group and call it A-Z Plant directory ONLY..........

me not know, just thinking and board lol. Im off to bed night all.
that's a good idea - i like this one!

wiki requires we add lots of administrators to the site (we could add a notes function that only administrators could edit - but a a real wiki requires everyone should be able to add!).

how do people get made administrators? everyone so it's a real wiki? only those who contribute the most? fairness issues worry me. also administrators can do other things to the site like delete, change structures (e.g. forum categories, arrangement of the site) etc.. whereas i'm also keen to maintain a central point of decision making (ie me) because I think this is the best governance model to retain site functionality (importantly, all suggestions and discussion about decisions are welcome - attempting the good king, not the despot)

is there a build your own wiki platform?
can you use a forum structure somehow as a feeder to donna's file?

which is why vanessa's suggestion sounds good. there is already a plants forum category (from a suggestion by Elaine) - this could be the feeder, or you could create an A-Z as Vanessa suggests.

maybe just going through and adding meta-tags to the content on this site would do it? the search engine works fine if the tags are there

most of the forum info doesn't get tagged. I don't have hours to spend tagging everything - sorry, I probably should as a site administrator, but realistically I can't see myself making myself do this (appeal is very low for me, I'm not a natural filer/ categoriser type)

i'm happy with the organic search functionality... in some ways this entire site is a wiki....
And I thought I just had missed that Plants category forum all this time lol, it *was* new!

The mucking around required for a specific wiki is a lot of work for our benevolent dictator (aka Scarlett) and I have seen a lot of half done ones around that end up being a huge nightmare to manage as people join and leave - not to mention the deliberate sabotage...

Using the Plants Forum is a great idea and as long as it was tagged it would be easy to find things. As I get time and research specific things I will start to add them in here.

Tagging does make it a lot easier to find stuff, when you are adding Discussions, photos and blogs they are a really good idea. Sometimes if one of mine goes off topic a lot, I add other tags to reflect the new content - this is something that we can all do to make it a bit easier to locate things.

Scarlett is always been helpful and has implemented some of my suggestions too, easy to approach and genuinely nice. I like the idea of a single person being responsible for the site as again I have seen factions develop and ruin a lot of sites when there are a number of moderators that don't have the same points of view. A number of people have now commented to me the same thing at various Garden Visits.

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