Public Lab Wiki documentation

Gardening Toolkit

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Simple, appropriate technologies for great garden outcomes

Meeting your environmental goals is easier when you track your progress and use what you learn to improve your practices--and results--over time. The basic cycle of "adaptive co-management" (pardon the jargon) is goal setting, action, monitoring, reflection, and adaptation. This toolkit comes in two parts:

  • Guides for organizing
  • Guides for tool making and researching

Guides for Organizing


Start Here

Collaboratively create a picture of your place.

Link to Start Here guide

Set Goals

Define your goals and choose which ones you want to measure progress towards.

Link to Setting Goals guide

Choose how to track your progress

Choose how you want to measure, then design fun, "field-proof" measuring activities.

Link to Choosing How To Track Your Progress Guide

Schedule the season

Schedule out daily and occasional events across the whole season. More of a reminder than a step-by-step guide!

Link to Scheduling Guide

Reflect and Look Ahead

Come together to review and reflect on a season's worth of observations. Take stock of last year's outcomes and make adjustments as needed for the upcoming year.

Link to Reflect and Look Ahead Guide

Guides for tool making and research methods


1. Pole mapping guide

Change your perspective! See your garden from above. Map your garden layout and track changes through the years.

Link to Pole Mapping Guide

2. Infrared imagery experiment guide

See plants photosynthesizing. Experiment with cultivation methods and see which types of plants thrive. Can be combined with pole mapping

Link to Infrared imagery experiment guide

3. Manual Tracking Guide

Growing tons of food? Diverting compost from the waste stream? Coordinating work among lots of volunteers? If you're tackling these or other programs in your garden, this toolkit hosted at has simple methods that you can use.

Link to Manual Tracking intro page -- follow link to

4. AKER Urban Homesteading Kits

AKER is a modular urban agriculture system (open source of course). You can order or make the kits yourself by downloading CNC cutting files and routing them out of a sheet of 4x8 sheet material, such as plywood. The kits flat pack and can snap together without screws or glues. This project launches officially in March 2015, and invites anyone interested to review and give feedback on the designs in their forum. Check out the project at