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GrowVeg.com Online Garden Planner Review

The Snarky Gardener loves to plan his garden planting and GrowVeg.com is what he depends on year after year.

GrowVeg.com Online Garden Planning Tool

When it comes to my garden, I’m a planner. I love to design it over the winter when the snow’s on the ground, obsessively moving plants around over and over again. GrowVeg.com lets me undertake this without issue. Each year is represented in its own plan with the previous year copied over onto the next one so to include perennials and mark the previously planted families (nightshades, legumes, spinach, etc).

The red represents legumes (beans and peas) that have been planted in the previous 2 years.
The red represents legumes (beans and peas) that have been planted in the previous 2 years.

In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable. – Dwight D. Eisenhower

Here's the planner interface. This represents my Fenced Backyard Garden as of July 2015.
Here’s the planner’s interface. This represents my Fenced Backyard Garden as of July 2015.

Shown above and below is the planner’s interface. The garden displayed is my 50′ by 30′ fenced backyard garden as of July 2015. Another nice touch is the ability to not only represent the various fruits and vegetables via graphic (notice the strawberries to the upper left?) but to also attach the variety to the plant. You can even add your own varieties if they are not listed (looking at you Snarky Orange Cherry tomatoes).

A closer look at my July 2015 garden
A closer look at my July 2015 garden
An example of my July 2015 plant list including starting, planting, and harvesting times.
An example of my July 2015 plant list including starting, planting, and harvesting times.

Monthly charting is easy and straight forward.

Another plus of using an online garden planning site such as GrowVeg.com is that you can see your garden’s progression through the season. Here’s an example of my garden from April to September 2015. See how the spinach disappears (because it bolted and when to seed) and others come in to take their place. Succession planting at its best. In June the Swiss chard, eggplants, and peppers are planted. and in July, beans (both green and dry) to fill out my garden. Note: the brown rectangles represent my raised hugelkultur beds.

Fenced Backyard Garden April 2015
Fenced Backyard Garden April 2015
Fenced Backyard Garden May 2015
Fenced Backyard Garden May 2015
Fenced Backyard Garden June 2015
Fenced Backyard Garden June 2015
Fenced Backyard Garden July and August 2015
Fenced Backyard Garden July and August 2015
Fenced Backyard Garden September 2015
Fenced Backyard Garden September 2015

Pros:
Plant Families with previous 3 years
Varieties
Perennials
$45 for 2 years
Publish to Web
Plant List includes location based planting and harvest times
Ability to add your own varieties
Detailed growing information on each plant.

There are some downsides to GrowVeg.com

I do really love the ability to publish my plans out to the web, but there are limitations to the size you can show. Of course this is because if you get too wide, the detail will be difficult to see, but it’s a restriction nonetheless.

You can also notice by the graphical nature of the software, it’s really easy to tell when I’m not working on work at work. I’ve had many a curious co-worker as me what I was planning on planting. It’s so obvious to those who don’t even garden. Guess I’ll just have to plan at lunch time or at home (which isn’t a bad idea anyways).

As shown earlier in this post, I do enjoy the month-by-month tracking of my garden. My only wish is that I could go week-by-week instead. I’m a detail oriented person, and knowing which week something was planted or removed would help immensely.

Cons:
Size limitations if you use Publish to Web
Co-workers know that I’m not working
Wish for more granularity (weeks instead of months)
More plants (missing yarrow for example)

A valuable tool to plan your garden.

So as you can see, GrowVeg.com has many features to let you design the perfect garden. Month-to-month and year-to-year representations of your plots are available at your fingertips.

Fenced Backyard Garden Update – 3/31/2013

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Fenced Backyard Garden as of 3/31/2013

March has been a cold and dry month. I was hoping to have more in place by now, but my houseful of starts means April should be busy. Last weekend did give me the opportunity prep the tomato/pea cages and the pea/corn mounds.  The corn mounds are my version of a Three Sisters Garden with early bush peas replacing the pole beans.  I could also go with climbing peas but then I would have needed to plant those after the corn had been planting (timing is everything).  Also, it’s official – the rosemary is dead as it didn’t overwinter.  But I did find rosemary arp at a local garden center, which is supposed to be perennial in Northeast Ohio (fingers crossed for luck).

The Snarky Gardener will be direct sowing in the next week.  Included will be kale (Toscano and Red Russian), kohlrabi, Swiss chard, lettuce, and peas (bush and climbing).  Leeks, kale, spinach and lavender will be transplanted from hardened off starts.

Snarky Gardener definition:
“Hardening off” means taking your starts outside more and more over time to get them acclimated to the outside world.  All the wind, sunshine, and temperature swings take some getting used to for your little ones.

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Homemade tomato and pea cage
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“Tomato Row” with WinterSown milk cartons and 2 liter bottles in the background. 3/31/2013
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Fenced Backyard Garden Plan for April as of 4/2/2013

Fenced Back Yard Garden Update – 3/9/2013

With temperatures in the mid-40’s and bright sun, March 9th turned out to be the first day of 2013 I was able to get into the garden and do some hoeing and planting.  The first inch of soil was frozen in spots but otherwise very workable.

Fenced Back Yard Garden as of 3/9/2013
Fenced Back Yard Garden as of 3/9/2013

First I took care of the garlic that I had wrongly planted back in October (see “Plant Garlic Cloves Not Bulbs“).  Then I put in the Jerusalem Artichoke I received from the Food Not Lawns Cleveland seed swap back in January.  The back middle of my garden along the northern fence seemed like the best place to bury it.  I probably could have spread out the four tubers more, but oh well.  (Note:  I replanted them a few days later, spreading them out more).

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Jerusalem Artichoke – 3/9/2013
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Jerusalem Artichoke – 3/9/2013
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Jerusalem Artichokes mulched with last year’s Brussels Sprouts and broccoli – 3/9/2013

Once the Jerusalem Artichokes were planted, I took on the task of making four east/west crooked rows for the Oregon Sugar Pod II Snow Peas (I suck at straight lines).  I’m not sure if I was too early planting them as I read after the fact that they should have soaked in water overnight.  So much to learn as a gardener, so many mistakes to make.  I also put out my 2-liter bottles to prep the area for spinach.  I direct sowed them on 3/14 (12 under the bottles and 6 without as a control group to see if the extra cover helps or hurts).

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Planted snow peas (foreground in 4 crooked rows) and Jerusalem Artichokes (to the left in the picture).  2-Liter Bottles are prepped for later spinach planting.  The Snarky Gardener is the shadow.

As my starts have matured (but not the Snarky Gardener), I’ve been planting them in whatever cups and pots I can scrounge. Pictured below is broccoli, kale, kohlrabi, spinach,  and Swiss chard (which didn’t thrive and had to be eaten – yum).  The plastic drawer allows these to be easily pulled into the house when snow and ice threaten to freeze my little friends.  Unfortunately I’m not sure which ones are kale and which ones are kohlrabi (or if I even planted kohlrabi).  A poor job of documentation when starting related seeds inside means I’ll just have to play it by ear when planting.

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After all this, I decided to check up on my herbs after pulling off the leaf mulch.  My sage looked OK, with some leaves green and others more gray.  The rosemary is in bad shape and I’d be surprised if it comes back.  I’ve even taken it off my latest garden plan (I’m a realistic optimist).  I heard there’s a type that can overwinter in Ohio – Rosemary Arp.  It’s a hybrid that must come from a transplant.  It’s either that or the SG will need to “pot up” his rosemary in the fall.  On the positive side, the oregano and thyme came back without issue.  I think thyme is my favorite herb, as it grows very well and has both culinary and medicinary uses.

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Sage – 3/9/2013
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Mostly dead rosemary – 3/9/2013
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Oregano – 3/9/2013
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Thyme – 3/9/2013

Fenced Back Yard Garden Plan for March 2013

March is finally here and my garden planning is in full swing.  I’ve changed my plan literally dozens of times through February as I keep refining it to perfection.  Of course it will change even more times in March as I actually put plants into the ground.  My starts are doing well and will be ready to transplant in a few weeks.  Not sure which ones are going in right away (under 2-liter bottle cloches most likely), and which ones will get the hardening off treatment.  For now I’m playing it by ear as to who goes out when.  I’ve also decided to go pea crazy as I’ve been reading too much about nitrogen fixing and cover crops lately.  I’ll purchase my peas when I go to get my spring onions and potatoes at the Garden Spot in Ravenna in a week or two.

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Fenced Back Yard Garden Plan – 3/1/2013

Fenced Back Yard Garden Plan for February 2013

Last year I signed up for GrowVeg.com Garden Planner (“The smart way to plan your garden.”)  It was $40 for two years and let’s me play “SimGarden” as much as I want, moving my virtual plants around and adding new ones.  I just discovered a feature that publishes one garden plan at a time.  The Fenced Back Yard garden plan (which is my primary garden) is located at http://www.growveg.com/garden-plan.aspx?p=312234 and also appears in the Garden Plan links to the right.  My goal is to republish every month so everyone can see the current state of my gardens (yes, there are more than one).  I will also post plans and pictures each month so each garden’s evolution can be tracked.

As you can see from the pictures below, the fence is laying (or is that lying?) down on the southern side as I’m increasing my garden size from 50’x20′ to 50’x30′ this spring.  I will be tilling the new area in March or April (weather permitting) because it’s currently lawn, but not the rest as I’m going no-till as much as possible.  Also, in the foreground, you can see the mounds of leaves that I piled up during the fall (thanks to my John Deere lawn sweeper).  All these leaves from my lawn (oak and maple mostly) will be used as garden mulch throughout this year.

North Facing View of Back Yard Garden – 2/9/2013
East Facing View of Back Yard Garden – 2/9/2013

The plants you see in the garden plan below are those I wintered over.  The top of the plan is to the north with a big sugar maple tree to the north west.  That means I can’t plant anything that needs full sun in that corner (where the “Vit” corn salad/mache and  “Seven Top” turnip greens are currently).  I found this out the hard way in 2011 when I planted  corn and cucumbers over there and they grew poorly (micro corn anyone?).

Back yard garden plan for February 2013 (North is at the top)
Corn Salad - 1/29/2013
Corn Salad (or Mache) – 1/29/2013