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My adventures with a one-year subscription to a garden planner

dottile46dottile46 Posts: 403 ✭✭✭
edited November 2020 in Garden Design

Ok, so I have subscribed for 365 days access to a garden planner! Hopefully I can keep up with the experience here to illustrate it for everyone here on TGN. The one I chose is from GrowVeg.com that I had a free trial to for my 2015 garden.

Surprise to me! my 2015 garden popped right up when I subscribed and logged in. Bad thing is, we moved and no longer own that property. I get to design a new garden. Oh wait, this new place has a hoop house, wonder if I can design that on the planner? There's three raised beds on legs I call table-top gardens or TT's plus the entire length of the hoop house on the north of the center isle is another bed. Nothing fancy about that, just grow in the dirt, same height as the path.

And then comes the reality, I actually have several garden beds here on our property. The front garden, the south garden, the north rock garden, the south rock garden, and 5 raised beds on the north side of the hoop house. Oh wait, I'm not done yet. I'm just going to call the last one the new garden. It runs about 3/4 the width of our front yard. I would guess it is probably 80' to 90' long and varies between 10 and 18 feet wide. Oh, there's another garden I call the old cucumber garden. Maybe one more if I can get it straightened up before planting time gets here.

I'll stop rambling and try to re-familiarize myself with this garden planner.


  • herbantherapyherbantherapy Posts: 446 ✭✭✭✭

    @dottile46 keep us up dated with how you like this garden planner. I have been using a physical garden journal and absolutely LOVE IT! It has more than enough space to draw my garden beds out each year. Permanent beds that get added to or new designs for veggie rotation. It has a section to list where I bought garden supplies and how much they were (huge help!) Plus it has pages to list what got planted where/when/and date bloomed and harvested by category (herb/perennial/annual/shrub or tree). AND the journal pages are dated with space for 10 years.

    the idea is to keep track what I do every day in the garden for ten years. This helps me remember what to do or when I did it last so if I need to make changes I can. The journal entries have a space to put the weather too! This journal makes my organized gardening heart sing!

  • SherryASherryA Posts: 291 ✭✭✭
    edited January 2020
  • dottile46dottile46 Posts: 403 ✭✭✭

    I didn't get any measuring done on my 2 days off. Oldest daughter and her 2 year old both have type B influenza. So far it hasn't hit our house. They live on the other end of our property so they are close enough for Grandma to get regular calls for chicken noodle soup etc.

    @herbantherapy I really like your journal. I don't mean this in a tacky way but it will be there long after you are gone. Electronic journals aren't as able to be passed down generation to generation. Or even if you sold your place and gave the journal to the new owners. That is something I might do but I probably would not pass along my electronic "journals". That is just cool on so many levels.

  • herbantherapyherbantherapy Posts: 446 ✭✭✭✭

    @dottile46 yes! I left my garden notes to the new owner of my last home when I sold it. My garden was young but prolific there.

  • dottile46dottile46 Posts: 403 ✭✭✭
    edited January 2020

    Today I'm trying to put together an overview of information you will need in order to optimize this garden planner. I've included a screenshot of the garden I planned back in 2015 using the Free Trial this planner offers. What you see on the left side of this from top to bottom - the tree of course with it's shade pattern, the privacy fence (running up and down) with the raised beds immediately right of it, then the next structure is a wooden shed. The compass in the upper right indicates the orientation of the garden. In order for this to accurately represent the gardening space, I had to measure the garden of course, but also distance to trees, space between trees, length of fence and shed. This planner also lets you add water source, irrigation, trellises or other garden structures. There are even greenhouses and hoop houses both in standard sizes and in adjustable sizes heated and unheated. Chicken coops, bee hives, compost bins piles and tumblers, fences, fruit cages, row covers, and so much more can be added as structures. If part of your plantings go into containers, guess what! There are containers as well. You can create your plan to show only the garden bed or that section of yard as I did below. It's your plan, make it anyway you like it!

    Before you go out to measure this and that, grab a notebook and jot a few layouts of the areas you are going to measure. Nothing like being outside on a cold, damp, windy day trying to do this all from scratch. Anything you want to include in your plan? Measure it, measure how far it is from something else you have measured. The more accurate information you gather, the more detailed you can make your plan. Or if you prefer, you can eyeball it. If you are even "thinking about" adding another garden spot, structure, or path it's not a big deal to pop it into the planner to try it.

    The one thing I wish this planner had is a horizontal view. Like the street view on goo-gle maps. That would be so cool to walk through a garden that was still in the imagination stage!

  • dottile46dottile46 Posts: 403 ✭✭✭

    I have put together a representation of the front garden as it was last year. I don't know about you guys but we did not have a growing season worth a hoot. Not everything got planted, not everything lived that was planted, and what was planted did not produce as it should have. As you can see, part of the garden did not get planted at all. I've done this so that last year's plants will be included in the plant rotation part of this program. This garden is only the garden, it doesn't include yard as the one above does. I've made a note to self in the top right hand corner so I will remember that information. The individual plants are labeled with the variety they were as well.

  • dottile46dottile46 Posts: 403 ✭✭✭

    Tomorrow I will lay out what I plan for the same garden spot for this year - 2020. If I had any structures planned in, that would carry over as well. The crops will be added to the crop rotation database for me.

    Anyone that wants to try out this garden planner, there is a 7 day free trial.

  • dottile46dottile46 Posts: 403 ✭✭✭

    This is a clip of the toolbars this garden planner has. As you can see, there are numerous plants you can include in your garden plan. Each has a little information icon by it that gives you information on that plant. More on that later. Other tools are the undo and redo arrows, the clipping took, and 2 clipboards. One is copy and one is paste. Next is the zoom in and zoom out buttons. Next you see a button labeled "All Months" . This is a neat tool. When adding a plant to your garden, double click on it to open the options box. Choose the particular variety you have and what months it will be in the ground. I'll clip a pic of that in the next post. Next you have the drawing tools, and the red X. That red X will remove anything you don't want in your garden plan after you have placed it there.

    The left end of the row I explained above contains the open, save, print, and the upload to the internet buttons. Next are the plant list and parts list buttons. The plant list keep track as you add plants to your plan and will let you order the seeds etc through the app. You will get a reminder email when it is time to start planting those. Kind of a shopping list. The parts list is much the same. You can choose between 2 suppliers and place orders as well. The other day I found a way to add a supplier for seeds but can't remember off hand how I did it. lol

  • dottile46dottile46 Posts: 403 ✭✭✭

    This is the menu to choose the particular apple tree you are planting. Almost hidden a the bottom of the menu you can see the 2 buttons to choose when it goes in and comes out of the garden. Obviously, with an apple tree it is probably in the ground all 12 months of the year and that button is just above the months buttons.

    The buttons for when it is in the ground carries over to the All Months button I mentioned above. You can drop the menu down and choose a month to look at. It will show you all that are in the ground that month. Real great way to utilize your space. Say you do an early crop of peas, say March through June, and later want to do mid summer planting for fall crop green beans, say July through October. June will show peas and July will show the beans.

  • chimboodle04chimboodle04 Posts: 286 ✭✭✭

    I can say this really is a great planner! I have been using it for the past seven years to plan and improve my planting guide and garden layout - each year my garden gets bigger and better! :) One of my favorite features is the garden rotation - it makes it so easy to make sure you are not planting similar crops in the same space each year. Carrying over garden plans from one year to the next is also super easy. I wanted to add that they also have an app version available for ipad/iphone etc... This costs a one time fee of only 7.99 rather than a yearly subscription and has almost all of the features of the program here. I have been using the app version up until this year, but I did end up upgrading to the online version just a few weeks ago now that I know how much I love and rely on this program to plan and keep track of things. This really is a well thought out and useful application!

  • dottile46dottile46 Posts: 403 ✭✭✭

    Thank you so much @chimboodle04 for your review! Wow, that's so cool. If there's anything you want to add to what I've put together so far, by all means please do. You know, I didn't check into the app for mobile devices. I'll have to see if it work with Android. To have it on my table would be great.

  • dottile46dottile46 Posts: 403 ✭✭✭

    I have put together a sample garden, most of this won't work because of the deer that visit daily, to illustrate how the plant layout would look. The pic shows how it looks right now in January with only the onions in the ground. It also shows a bean trellis which is not actually in my garden right now, and the theoretical walking paths. The compass shows that true north is to the left.

    The onions are actually left from last year when the few I pulled were rotted on the outside from the incredible amounts of rain we had during the spring and summer. I decided to just let them be and see what happened. There are several green tops giving it a go but not as many as it shows in the pic.

  • dottile46dottile46 Posts: 403 ✭✭✭

    Next I have a pic of how it would theoretically look in June with the majority of it planted. Looking at this I see that the spring turnips are still in the ground and probably would not be in June. They are in the lower right corner.

    This planner has built in crop rotation feature that you can leave on or you can turn it off. I created a garden plan as we had it last year so it would alert me to something that shouldn't be planted in this garden this year. When you choose something that you had there last year, the pic of the plant will be surrounded with red. A flashing red dot will show where you had that plant last year. This particular garden had tomatoes and peppers last year so if I picked pepper or tomato from the list it would flash the red dots where every tomato and every pepper was planted last year. Since they were not planted on the upper half of the right side, it would be alright.

  • dottile46dottile46 Posts: 403 ✭✭✭

    A feature I mentioned in an above post is the plant list and looks like this. I'm not showing the entire list as it would be too big. Based on your zip code, which you enter when you choose your setting for the app, it shows when to start or sow your seeds and when you can expect to harvest your produce.

    I mentioned above that the turnips were in the ground still in June and thought they might not be. According to the plant list, harvest would start in the last half of June. There could be differences based on the variety you grow, I just used a default turnip, as we all know.

  • dottile46dottile46 Posts: 403 ✭✭✭

    Another feature is the Parts List. In this case it has listed the bean trellis as a part, and shows it can be ordered from Gardeners Supply Co. The only other company listed in the drop down menu is Dripworks. If I click on Dripworks the Buy button turns gray to indicate they do not have that item. There is also a place for you to enter any notes for this garden plan.

  • dottile46dottile46 Posts: 403 ✭✭✭

    This weather has really put me behind in everything I do. Winter weary is what I am. For the past 2 weeks Sun, Mom, Tues have been good. Then Wednesday it's at least one, and usually all, rains, freezing rain, sleet, and snow. A week ago we had winds sustained in the upper teens with gusts in the upper 20's for 3 days. This week wasn't as windy, with 5 to 7 mph. I say we need one big snow, some cold, and we should be done. Doesn't happen that way though.

    Today I did plant some seeds that need cold stratification. Tomorrow I will get them out to my shed for their 4 weeks or more of slumber in the cold. Another part of the garden planner app is a garden journal. I entered that in the journal, as well as added a note related to the weather. It didn't snow that came Thursday night, and almost all day Friday. It did show it as rain but I felt a need to be a little more accurate. It let me pick what I planted today, 72 organic echinacea purpurea and 36 marshmallow. I will go back into the planner and set the source of my seeds, both from Hudson Valley Seed Company.

    This past Tuesday I planted 7 bulbs I was gifted. The woman's mother had saved them from something her children had given her. They didn't look like hyacinth bulbs so maybe tulip, although they were smaller than the tulip bulbs I planted this fall, or maybe even daffodil bulbs. They were still firm but had started to sprout a pale yellow want-to-be leaf. They are on a bench by my patio door and are already started to get some color even though we've only had about 4 hours of sunshine in the past 4 days. Whatever they are will be a surprise.

    I still haven't gotten my garden layouts done on the planner. I'm thinking of giving up on doing the new bed and just dealing with the existing gardens.

  • OwlOwl Posts: 189 ✭✭✭

    I checked with this developer and they do not currently offer an iPad/iPhone product yet but say it is in the works.

  • chimboodle04chimboodle04 Posts: 286 ✭✭✭

    @Lexie I have the iPad/iPhone version though.... Search up Garden Plan Pro - that is it. I had this version first for years and decided to buy the one for my computer as well this year - all of my plans that I had created through the iPad/iPhone version were automatically available in the computer version...

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