I’ve been having a lot of fun with Smart Gardener’s garden planner. It appears to be completely free to use for veggie plantings, though you can purchase a couple of $1 – $2 add ons (one time charge) that allow you to mark out shade, fence lines, and add things like fruit and herbs. From a programming and design standpoint, that is a pretty amazing value. I’d expect a site this well thought out to be subscription based.
My garden plan is right here. You can zoom in and out, pan around, and hover over plants for more information. It was so much more visually appealing to work on and make when I compare it with my little Photoshop mockup I posted previously!
I found it through Pinterest and spent Saturday night building my garden. After you’ve entered or chosen all your plants (most of mine were already in the system, bonus!) it’ll place the plants in your garden using the data it has on each plant. For example, tomatoes hate growing by potatoes, did you know? I didn’t love the way it arranged my stuff (I didn’t want anything else growing in the corn patch), but did use the data supplied to arrange my plants next to plants they will grow nicely with.
There are a few limitations:
- I can’t mark out where the greenhouse is, so the ‘smart’ part of the website doesn’t take into consideration that my smaller boxes are in an area that is hotter and more humid. And though it works with my zip code, it won’t increase the temperature or season length in that area either. I’ve requested this feature.
- Because we use the Mittleider method and train big veggies and fruits up a string or cord, my watermelons, pumpkins, tomatoes, and squash are all overlapping in the planner. It wants to give them more space, but they’ll be just fine going up a string like I have them entered.
- I wish there was some kind of bulk-copying feature. You can copy a single plant, but filling in my corn and potato areas was a bit tedious copying one at a time.
- I did purchase the fruit add on, but I needed to add things like Huckleberries and Ground Cherries. It has no idea what those things are so it is giving me blackberry symbols and overlarge dimensions for them. It says someone will review what I’ve entered so hopefully that’ll get fixed.
- I also purchased the succession add on, but cannot for the life of me figure out how it works. It looked like it would show the plantings you planted later sort of grayed out or smaller, but all it has done for me on the admin end is add an ‘s’ over everything that *can* be succession planted.
If you sign up, link up to your garden (or email me!) I’ve had a good time browsing through the other public gardens and have found a few more veggies I want to try.
Now, I had one of the worst nights ever with the 3 year old’s feet in my back for most of it, and am going to go take something for this killer headache and see about mulching the front flower beds.
p.s. A lot of these plants are new to us, so if you catch any errors or see something we ought to know on my garden plan, let me know!
p.p.s. Go check out my friend’s one-day website: My 40th Birthday Wish (warning it plays music immediately). It’s her birthday today and she has one single wish… go check it out.