If there has ever been a “One day I’ll do this” for me, it’s been planting a garden. I want a garden bad! My first craving for a garden was when I discovered how expensive some herbs are in our area. For example, dried cilantro is insanely high priced here, and this gal loves salsa! My original garden dream, was to grow my own salsa garden. I started some herbs in the window, and while my sweet basil did well, the cilantro tanked.
Since that time I have been terrified to start a garden. We have a large backyard, so first, it would be great not to have to mow as much of the yard! Second, the more healthy we are eating, the more and more I become annoyed with the quality of the fresh produce in our area. It’s incredibly frustrating not to be able to find lettuce without rust or slime on it, or to have to pay an insane price for it if it looks good. I mean lettuce…come on. I also remember helping my Dad in our garden as a child. His Dad had a garden, so I kind of feel like a bit of it is family tradition to grow a garden.
After the herb fiasco though, I have been completed terrified to prep the yard and risk losing a crop. I live in Arkansas, and I have literally seen a garden beautiful and green one week and dead the next. It’s terrifying!
That’s why I was STOKED to get a chance to try out the GrowVeg garden planner. The first thing I loved about this planner is immediately after creating a trial account, there is a list of tutorials down the side of the screen.
The tutorials show you more features than you can ever imagine you need to start your own garden. Do you need irrigation pipes? You can put them in your planner. Want to make a flower garden? You can do that too. Raised beds? Potato sacks? You name it, it’s on there! I was incredibly impressed with the features!
I decided to make raised beds. I saw this layout online once and I loved it because you are supposed to be able to reach everything in the garden easily, and you can plant landscape vegetables in it as well for aesthetic purposes. As you can see, my original plan was just normal “lines” for my garden, but once I watched the tutorials and saw the raised beds, I made it look more realistic!
Then I found my absolute FAVORITE feature on the program. If you click the info button on a plant, it tells you EVERYTHING you need to know about that plant in your garden!
I especially love the companion plants area. It’s so nice to know you can and probably should plant certain things together for maximum growth and sustainability.
Then I REALLY got serious with this and made an actual model of my backyard. (Aside from the fact that I didn’t go outside and measure it off, which by the way, IS recommended.) I was disappointed I didn’t find a patio slab in the Garden Objects, but you can easily draw it off with a square. I used the “paving” sections and because I can’t draw a straight line to save my life, have a slightly crooked patio added in. I also decided if I was actually going to make a garden with FOOD in it other than to say “look I made a garden”, I might as well plan out what a useful garden for our family would look like!
All you have to do is click on the vegetable you want, and drag it along your garden space. It will leave a color behind, and show an example of the plant. The colors show what scientific family the plant belongs to and will help you with crop rotation in the future. For example, if you look above, broccoli and cauliflower leave green behind. While making this garden, I learned they are hard on the soil, so you can’t plant them in the same place the next year. This planner will also remind you of that if you copy your garden forward year to year. It will turn RED if you try to plant damaging crops in the same location the next year! That’s a pretty handy feature!
The GrowVeg Garden Planner also tells you how many plants will fit into the garden as you drag them along. It shows you what plants will survive into the next year (strawberries), and even gives a recommendation on how many of each plant should go together if they require more than one for good pollination. It also tells you that information for fruit trees. As you can see my *cough* little garden is ready to go!
One tiny frustration I had was not finding Romaine Lettuce on the available veggies. Then I realized if you double click each item, it brings up a custom menu. There are numerous varieties in the dropdown menu, and you can label it how you like.
I also found Potato sacks, and container plants for additional herbs etc. that I did not want taking up too much room in the garden.
My favorite part of the whole planner, aside from playing with adding veggies to the garden is this:
As exact planting guide specified to your garden zone. It tells you when to sow the seeds, when to plant and when to harvest. It also reminds you how many plants to buy, and of the spacing. If you have a gardening account with GrowVeg, it will also email you and remind you to plant!
However, one of the final features was a little disappointing to me:
The part list, I feel could have been a little better. However, I know raised beds have indefinite construction possibilities, but it would be nice to get a part list for a basic, intermediate, and expensive type of beds. How much wood do I need? What kind of wood? (they do have a video tutorial for this on Youtube.)
Overall, even though I received this planner as compensation for writing the post, I would pay GOOD money for this GrowVeg Garden Planner. If you’re an experienced gardener, I think it would take your garden farther, and if you’re new, it will certainly make planning your garden incredibly easy. I made my whole garden in less than an hour (once I stopped playing with the features.)
And the best part is you can WIN a ONE YEAR SUBSCRIPTION!!!
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