New tools lay the groundwork
Every year about this time, gardeners get the itch to do something—anything—related to gardening and begin sketching out how their summer garden will look.
Often this document has lines and arrows pointing to specific plots or rows, along with notes on the seed or cultivar being planted. Some even write down planting and harvest dates.
Because “no plan survives first contact with the enemy,” a lot of cross-outs and substitutions muddy things. It’s a mess.
Fortunately, companies are embracing all that technology offers and are producing apps for use on your phone, computer, or tablet. Many are fee, some you have to pay for, and nearly all require you to register or subscribe in some fashion.
From Seed to Spoon
One of the newest, From Seed to Spoon, was just acquired by gardening retailer Park Seed. The app was created by Dale and Carrie Spoonemore who started converting their urban lawn into a food farm in 2015.
As garden planning became more complicated, the Spoonemores looked with little success to help out.
“We couldn’t find any that were great for us to use,” Carrie said, on a recent stitchcrew.com podcast. “So Dale said ‘Why don’t we just create our own?' And that’s what we did.”
The app has evolved continuously since first released in 2018, from pages of helpful-but-dry text to graphically-rich, directive hints and tips. Said Dale: “Since then, more than half a million people have used our app to determine ideal planting dates for their region and have logged more than 1.5 million plants.”
The free app lets users view plants by their health benefit; bone and joint health, brain and memory, etc. It then offers up ideal planting dates based on your GPS
location, taking the guesswork out of when to plant seeds. The app also includes companion planting guides, recipes, and organic pest treatments, and beneficial insect guides.
Design vegetable beds on Garden Planner
Garden website GrowVeg has a planner where can draw out your vegetable beds, add plants, and then move them around to get the perfect layout. Stuck for ideas? You have access to hundreds of garden layouts from fellow gardeners.
The Garden Planner contains full guides to over 250 plants and descriptions of thousands of specific varieties.
GrowVeg is UK-based, but the planner adapts to your area for frost, freeze, planting, and harvest dates using data from more than 5,000 weather stations. Whether you use traditional rows, containers, raised beds or square foot gardening, the Garden Planner has tools to create the best design for your garden.
You can journal your garden’s progress—essential for remembering successes and failures—and even receive crop rotation warnings based on previous-year plantings.
The Garden Planner from GrowVeg (Growing Interactive Ltd.) costs $29 with an automatically recurring subscription; $40/year for 1 year, or $70 for 2 years.
Kitchen Garden Planner
The good folks at gardeners.com offers a free online planner to create a productive raised bed planner. At present, there are 26 pre-planned gardens available to spark your imagination. (The Design Your Garden software is still under construction, according to the website.)
Pre-planned gardens include trellis-based cucumber options, smaller cocktail gardens with herbs for flavors and garnishes, garden-fresh and high-yield gardens, even one labeled Fun For Kids that is full of colorful easy-to-pick choices. All plans come with what-to-do and when reminders—typically, “start transplants 6-8 weeks early inside” or similar, and offers common days-to-harvest.
For those of us to think we are gardeners, but don’t always follow through, they offer up a plan called Plant It & Forget It, with easy-to-grow onions, hot peppers, beans, summer squash, peppers, tomatoes, beets, carrots, and more.
Plus, all the plants recommended have more details available in their Vegetable Encyclopedia.
Learn at gardeners.com or contact Gardener’s Supply Company.
Planting a paper trail instead?
Not ready to bring the garden to your smartphone (or take your $1,000 smartphone to the garden)? The website vegetable-gardening-online.com offers downloadable planners for a traditional vegetable garden, a raised vegetable garden ,and raised vegetable beds.
Click around the website and you eventually come across free-to-download .pdf documents to help you sketch out your garden with dozens of garden plans and worksheets.
For more information:
What do techies say are the best gardening apps?
See the Garden Planner in use