Following up on what's been discussed on the "what's happening" threads, this is the way I organize my garden history.
In the past I have tried notebooks, spreadsheets, a custom database program, online programs and other options. They were all either too cumbersome for quick reference or didn't have proper index. So I went old school.
Image 1 is my humble file box. I can tell already that it will only last a few more seasons before I need a bigger box! Or, I may split into cool weather and warm weather crops. I purchased the index tabs, index cards and box for $3 at Big Lots.
Image 2 & 3: I have a standard format for the cards. In general, what the seed source told me about the seeds (or in some cases, plants) goes up at the top along with where I got them and what year the seeds were packaged for. Pertinent dates go in the middle, and the bottom and back are for notes. The upper right hand corner has the year and season, plus seed characteristics (i.e. hybrid, organic, etc.). Finally, a check or an X indicates a final verdict -- either absolutely don't grow again, or make it a regular. Not everything gets a mark -- and few items get a check!
The cards go in the file in order of vegetable type, common name, year and then season (with the newer seasons in the front.) I can reference anything I have grown within seconds and how it did -- which is really helpful to do right before placing catalog orders!
I only track annual vegetable-type plants with the cards.
Image 4: Finally, I keep track of what got planted where and when with a diagram of my garden area in Visio. I create a new page for each season from template and plan the space, then I can take the sheet out into the garden when planting seeds or for reference. Many sheets have come back inside with dirty scribbles on them -- the paper is no replacement for reality, but it helps! This also helps me rotate my crops.
Image 5: In fact, I have my whole property mapped out with what plants are planted where. Some of the bigger items have in-ground tags, but I'd spend a fortune it I labelled everything. So the diagram helps me figure out what variety of daylily is planted where, and so forth. I also use this map to make plans for future garden domination projects.
Like all systems, it will no doubt evolve over time, and what works for me may not work for you. So I'd love to hear what other people do -- I may pick up some good ideas!