March is here and it’s time to finalize the plans for this year’s vegetable gardens. I have already ordered our seeds for this year but it is time to firm up the garden layout and planting schedule. This year I discovered a terrific site GrowVeg.com which offers a nifty on-line Garden Planning Tool which allows you to make a simple plan and space out crops based on growing requirements.
All you have to do is draw out your basic garden shape or beds, pick a vegetable or herb from a very exhaustive list and ‘plant’ it in your virtual garden bed. You can input your own variety and adjust any of the spacing needs as you like. It helps you visualize how much space each crop will use and even provides a plant count based on the spacing you choose. The best feature is that your plan is saved from year to year, sends you optional email reminders about what to sow and when to harvest, helps with crop rotation the following year and provides useful information for beginners.
I printed out both the visual garden plan and the handy plant list and garden scheduler which I can use to keep track of seed start dates and planting times. 2011 vegetable garden plan layout PDF.
While my excel spreadsheets in the past provided just as much information, I did find using this site provided me with a better feel as to how much space I had and best of all I am looking forward to using it to help with crop rotation next year, which is always a challenging task in a full garden.