Would you like to grow your own organic groceries but just don’t know where to begin? You may think vegetable gardening requires a large yard, is extremely time consuming, confusing, and grueling hard work…lies I tell you!
Vegetable gardening can be very simple and fun, my advice is to start out small and stay organized. The perfect way to stay organized is to take advantage of an online garden planner! You can quickly plan, design and lay out your “virtual garden". Additional features include guidelines on when and how to plant your veggies, gardening activity tracking and harvest quantities and dates.
There are numerous options, just conduct a simple web search for “garden planners online” and take a look.
NOW IS THE PERFECT TIME TO PLAN YOUR GARDEN! I would like to highlight three of my fav programs to get you started:
The most simplistic and cost effective (it’s free!) tool is the Kitchen Garden Planner managed by the Gardener’s Supply Company. The tool is based on the Square Foot Gardening method and offers several pre-designed garden plans, including a design for a salad garden and (perfect for the busy gardener) a “plant it and forget it” garden. You can also design your own garden by simply dragging and dropping different vegetables into the grid. The program automatically drops in the appropriate number of plants for the given area. You will also find plant specific care instructions, a veggie encyclopedia, and suggested tools and equipment. Special features include the ability to edit plant variety names, print or email detailed plan and planting guide, and companion planning information.
Plangarden is a very fun and interesting comprehensive online garden planner. The tool helps small-scale gardeners and micro-farmers think through their decisions, and more importantly, track their progress. Plangarden offers a free 45-day trial. One year subscription-$20, three year subscription-$36…that’s just $1 per month!
In addition to the drag-and-drop toolbars, seed-centric pull-down menus, and “shared garden” mapping system, this dynamic platform can be downloaded or run on the web.
Exciting features include:
- Fabulous fool-proof video tutorials
- Ability to create a true to size snapshot of your existing garden/s or simple square foot garden grid
- Space allotment clarification
- Customized label maker
- Nifty calculator estimating the value of your produce in supermarket, farmer’s market, and organic produce dollars
- “Know when to Plant” guides
- Garden activity journal/log
- Harvest estimator
- Opt in share garden
- Ability to view prior years’ garden data and layout
- Widget application so that you can share your garden plans on your blog or website
GrowVeg is another wonderful virtual garden option. The tool makes it easy to virtually sketch out your garden plan and decide how best to plant it. This program clearly demonstrates how much space plants require and how to group them for maximum success, removing the need to look up planting distances and crop families. Growveg offers a free 30-day trial. One year subscription-$25, two year subscription-$40.
Growing advice is just one click away as you select the plants that you wish to include, enabling you to solve problems and maximize your harvest from the space you have.
- Create Plans: Quickly produce garden plans, add plants and change the layout. Either metric units or feet and inches are supported.
- Growing information: Just click for full details of how to grow each plant, where to position them etc
- Spacing and Crop Families: Clearly shown by the colored area around each vegetable
- Personalized Planting Chart: Print a chart showing how many of each plant you require and when to sow, plant out and harvest them. Our advanced system works out the dates for your own area.
- Reminder Emails: Reminds you what needs sowing and planting out in your garden (optional)
- Easy Crop Rotation: Plan next year’s garden and it shows you where to avoid planting each vegetable
Enjoy your virtual garden planning!