Having bought the book and started using the Plants For A Future website, I quickly realised what an invaluable resource the data they have collected is to a permaculture designer in a temperate climate. However I quickly realised that in its current format, it is very difficult to get it to do what I want and fit it in with my systematic way of working. So I bought the database to see if I can redesign it to make it work for me.

To my utter horror I found the database is written in MS Access, and is full of bad database programming practice. For those who are technical, it has very poor level of normalisation, totally inappropriate use of foreign and primary keys, and a bizarre table naming convention (most tables contained spaces). So I set about trying to unravel the database to make it more usable.

A few months later and here we have it. I now have a database converted to an open source relational database (MySQL), working under my native Linux platform. Now I appreciate this may look totally geeky,... er, well okay, so it is totally geeky, sorry!!! But I wont apologise for my geekyness, its what I am good at, and sometimes it comes in very handy!!! So this is how I tailored the database to fit in with my needs and my way of working.