Sunday, 16 March 2014

The Veg Plot Plan

It took a while, but I've finally managed to get the main veg plot onto the computer. I had to compress a few paths, as my veg plot actually exceeded the size where it was printable or publishable!

If you want a better look, here's the link

A Winter Job - auditing the seed stock
and planning what's needed for the coming year.
So, I have jumped into the modern age and computerised my garden plans. Not only that, but for the princely sum of £15 I get an e-mail every two weeks telling me what I need to sow or plant. I would usually delight in spending long winter evenings planning my planting scheme for the coming year and carefully drawing it all out. This is OK until I change my mind about something and the whole thing becomes a mess. On the other hand, I do like the feel of a hand-drawn plan, complete with little notes scribbled all over it.
I really couldn't decide whether or not to splash out the fifteen quid annual subscription. What swayed me was that the plan and timings take account of the average last frost date for your postcode area. This is a boon, for I get fed up with trying to work out when I should plant something which the books say to sow in "late spring" or "early summer". You simply place vegetables on your plan and they are automatically added to a planting list, complete with dates for sowing, planting outside and harvesting. If you place a cloche or polytunnel over your vegetables, the program cleverly changes the sowing dates for you. You can also put your own notes in or click links to information about said vegetable. You can customise the dates for different varieties too.
The other advantage of this program is that it remembers where things were planted from year to year and will give warnings when the rules of rotation are being broken. This is not such an issue for me, as The Wheel, as I call my main vegetable plot, is designed to make a four way rotation very straightforward, the main groups just rotating round into a new quarter each year.

The Plan in action on the ground

The rotation feature is more useful when you have a small space which you are trying to juggle with year on year. For me, this well describes the polytunnel. Another useful feature is the ability to input which months a certain crop will occupy the land for. You can then display the plan as it would look for a particular month. For instance, the early crops in the polytunnel raised beds will come out in late summer to make room for a few Chinese Cabbages.
For a proper look at the polytunnel plan you can follow this link.
So that's it. Wouldn't it be wonderful if I could get the computer to do the digging, the sowing, the mowing and the weeding too!

... Actually, no it wouldn't. Too easy.

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