The coldest weeks are here and the pause outside offers a welcome chance to plan our dream gardens. It’s a time of promise! This year, we’re using the online Almanac Garden Planner—which is now iPad-compatible! That’s handy because we can plan from the couch this winter. Plus, there are some amazing new features such as “Evidence-Based Companion Planting,” which really fits the Almanac. Ready to become a better gardener?
Customized to Your Weather Location
Before we get into what’s new, let’s start with two of the most common questions for anyone planning their garden:
- When exactly should you start your seeds, whether indoors or outdoors?
- Which vegetables and flowers will grow well where I live?
No need to look up dates! No guesswork! The online Garden Planner shows you a personalized garden plan that’s already based on your exact location, intelligently tailoring your design to your specific climate, landscape, and experience.
Using data from over 5,000 weather stations, the Garden Planner also allows you to quickly find the best plants based on sunlight, soil, and other specified criteria. You can even select “easy” vegetables if you’re a beginner!
Evidence-Based Companion Planting
Last year, we included some companion flowers in our vegetable garden beds: marigolds and, in another part of the garden, nasturtiums. As well as adding a cheering splash of color, they help attract beneficial insects that help with crop growth, so we’re keen to include even more of them this coming season. Our plan is to include many more companion plants, safe in the knowledge that any small space lost to veggies will be more than made up for in the health of our crops.
We also want to make a real effort to group together plants that naturally benefit each other—and this is where the Garden Planner’s new Evidence-Based Companion Planting is simply brilliant. You just select a crop that you wish to grow and then tap on the Companion Planting icon; it now lists companions for that plant and which way the benefit between the two crops lies. And this is all based on proper scientific evidence, not hearsay!
Crop Rotation: Avoiding Pests
This may be your first year growing a garden, but if you continue, it’s important to avoid planting the same crops in the same place if you want to avoid pests. For example: If we tried to put tomatoes in the same bed as last year, the garden planner flashes red. That’s because this is where we grew them there previously, so now we know to move them elsewhere to avoid fostering tomato pests and diseases in that bed. In other beds, some crops are fine to repeat.
We love playing around with our plan—it’s half the fun of the whole planning process!
Forget Paper and Pen
Draw out garden beds, add or remove plants, and easily move plants around to create the perfect layout—it’s much more versatile and exact than pencil and paper! No erasing and erasing. Beds can be resized and moved as required until you’ve perfected your plan. It’s like being able to move furniture with a finger.
Speaking of furniture, if you have a laptop or an iPad, you can now plan right from the couch with your feet up and cocoa in hand. Then, when the weather warms up, bring your plan with you into the garden!
Save Money on Seeds and Plants
Never buy too many seeds or crowd your plants again! The online Garden Planner calculates how many plants will fit into your space! This is one of our favorite features. No math or graphing by you is necessary—it’s all done automatically! You can easily stretch out the garden bed—extending the row or expanding it out into a block. And the number of plants will expand based on the correct spacing for that crop! As you expand, the software automatically calculates how many plants can be grown within that area, helping you to avoid overcrowding your plants and achieve the highest yields.
Once you’re done with your plan, you can print out a complete shopping list of plants and materials so that you can easily get started.
Journal Your Garden!
We love snapping photos of our garden and taking notes! Tracking our progress is what truly helps us become a better gardener.
The Garden Journal is a free app that works on our mobile phone OR tablet device so you can bring it straight to the garden and take those photos outside, record when we planted or watered, make notes on the first appearance of pests, and see how much we’ve harvested.
That means that we can learn from our mistakes, see which vegetable variety worked best in our microclimate, and retain that knowledge. Understanding what to do next makes a huge difference to the success of a garden!
More Amazing Gardening Tools
The online Garden Planner is truly a gardener’s best friend, with year-round tools like…
- Personalized planting charts showing how much of each plant you will require for your garden, as well as when to sow, plant, and harvest them.
- Email reminders of what to sow and plant based on your personalized plan.
- Pest and disease information so that you can stay one step ahead of any problem and keep plants healthy and productive.
- A library of existing garden plans from gardeners in your area or gardens of a similar size, which you can browse to see what works well in your area. Choose plantings from our database of over 250 vegetables, herbs, fruit, and flowers.
- Instant access to expert knowledge in the form of hundreds of in-depth articles and informative videos on how to grow.
Free to Try for All!
We want everyone to experience more successes in the garden! For this reason, we’ve tried to keep the annual cost as low as possible; a lot of programming and work has gone into this sophisticated software to make it very easy, accessible, and friendly plus we continue to provide expert advice and support year-round. As many garden planners will tell you, you’ll easily save that money each year using this garden planner.
In addition, we offer a free trial (NO credit card required) so you are free to play around for 7 days, which is ample time to plan your first garden.
Again, you can use the Garden Planner and all its features for FREE for a week! Here is a link to a free trial for those of you who have not used it yet.