The Farmer's Daughter
Our blog is written by Jennifer Shea, Dan and Cathy's oldest daughter. Jennifer is part of the 13th generation of Schoonmakers to work on Saunderskill Farm.

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Smartphones in the Garden
February 29, 2012

This week the greenhouse planting kicked off at Saunderskill Farm. It is the start of a new year, a new growing season and new ideas. After only a few days of planting there are already a couple houses filled with hanging baskets and flats. This afternoon Uncle David was seeding tomato plants, did you realize the tomatoes you eat in August were started by seed in February?

There are lots of new things happening in the greenhouse industry. One in particular that has sparked my attention and I think many customers will find useful. Many plant tags now have a scan label for smart phones on them. In the last year I have seen these square 'barcodes' on many things, I see them in magazines, brochures, on boxes my daughters toys come in, wine bottles and on food labels. I never thought they would be on plants! They were first brought to my attention by my sister Renee, a student at SUNY Cobleskill, she read about them in one of her agriculture classes. I have been calling them 'barcodes' but they are actually a 'quick response code' or a 'QR' code. America today is hooked on a quick fix or, "at your fingertips" need to know information. The younger consumer generation expects the latest information, right now. By using quick response codes information is accessed almost immediately.

I brought one of the tags home today with the QR code on them, curious to see how it works. The particular tag I have is for a perennial Broadway Lights grown by Proven Winners. Being new to this I went on my computer and typed in as I was instructed to do so on the tag. Well that page was not available. So I tried on my iPhone,  page not found. Hmmm So I went to the app store. Searched for a 'scan app' and found a free app called SCAN. So I downloaded it.

My next step was to scan the QR code, how do I do that? It's amazing how something new can be intimidating, will I be able to figure out how to do this or am I going to have to ask my husband. It was simple. It's just like taking a picture, you line it up and the code is scanned by your phone. I was very impressed with what happened next. I was brought to a proven winners web page for the perennial Broadway Lights. On this page I received tons of information on this plant. It likes full sun, blooms in the spring and summer and grows to a mature size of 24 inches. I learned what the flower does in each season, how to care for it, where to plant it, how to water it, dead-head it and what zones it likes best. I also learned it attracts butterflies. All this information was offered on the home page, there is also a page of pictures of the flower, awards the plant has received, videos and suggested plants to combine the daisy like flower with.

So when you are planning your gardens this Spring consider downloading a SCAN app, it gives you access to so much information that you may find helpful. Of course we are always available to answer questions for you, you may even find us scanning the tags to find the right answer!