Standard Units

tomatoes and toy truck for scale

Standard units of measurement are everywhere. They can be as common as a yard, meter, ounce, or quart or as esoteric and specialized as a quire, angstrom, or darcy. What determines the standard unit is based on use, field of study, and where you are. For example, here in the USA we use a completely illogical system to measure length. I generally know about how long an inch or a foot or a yard or a mile is, but who thinks in base 12 to get from inches to a foot long?

In the garden we generally have two standard units of measure. The first is the typical American pounds and ounces. I use this to keep a running tally of harvests. With the press of a button I could change the unit on the scale, but I have not done that yet; maybe next year. The other standard unit of measurement we use is a visual scale. This scale has shown up a few times on the blog, but unless you knew why it was there, you likely dismissed it as folly. I started using the visual standard a couple of years ago when I emailed Jake a photo of a giant tomato and he asked for another photo with an object in it so he could gauge the size. I thought of a ruler, but I didn’t have a small one and I am not coordinated enough to hold a tape measure with one hand while trying to take a photo with the other, and get the tomato and tape measure in focus and in the frame. So, I used what every boy knows – a small toy truck I played with as a kid and that Jake has played with up at the garden.

banana squash and toy truck for scale

When I recently emailed a photo of one of the banana squash to Jake I had to include the truck on top for scale. Even if it provides little help to others, Jake and I understand. The rest of you will just have to adopt the standard unit for visual scale used on this blog to gauge the size of some of the produce. Which reminds me, I harvested one of the banana squash, the one pictured here, and it weighed in at about 11 pounds. Realizing that these can reportedly grow to forty pounds, ours is just a baby, a big baby, but still a baby.


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