If you want to start growing some of your own food, and you want to do it in the most sustainable and eco-friendly manner, but you don't know where to even start, there's a handy free online vegetable garden planner that can help you become an organic gardener, one step at a time.
If I had one packet of seeds for every time I heard, "I want to start a vegetable garden, but I have a brown thumb," or "... but I don't know anything about gardening," I'd never have to buy another seed again. Sometimes those conversations about wanting to begin gardening make it sound like there's some kind of esoteric knowledge that needs to be discovered in order to begin planting, but the truth of the matter is rather more mundane, as gardening skills can be learned just as easily as any other skill, and once you know the basics, the rest is just practice, practice, practice.
For novice and newbie gardeners, or those gardeners looking to improve their own growing skills, this smart garden planner can guide you through the organic gardening process from planning to harvest.
The Smart Gardener web app lends a (green thumbed) hand to potential backyard growers and teaches its users the skills necessary for an abundant organic garden, from planning the garden, to buying the right seeds, to starting your own seedlings, to planting them in the soil and caring for them through the season, to harvesting them when ready.
The planner is designed to work in all climates and regions, and throughout the entire year, with regional recommendations based on local weather conditions. The app guides users through the process of choosing the plants best suited for their location (and the database includes over 3000 organic, GMO free, edible varieties), determining where in the garden to plant each variety, and deciding how many of each to plant to feed their household.
"Planning a garden, buying the right plants or seeds, and planting it all out can be quite exhilarating. It can also be very frustrating for people. There’s so much information, many times conflicting, that it can get overwhelming, particularly for most of us who have very busy lives, but really want a great garden." - Kristee Rosendahl, co-founder of Smart Gardener
Users set up a personalized Smart Gardener profile and create a virtual garden plan layout which shows where each garden bed is, and what varieties of vegetables or herbs are planted in each square foot of it, and then sends a list of garden tasks to users that outlines the weekly to-do items in the garden, including mulching, planting, thinning, watering, and more.
Smart Gardener also has a digital garden journal that automatically pulls in the garden layout from your smart garden plan and allows you to keep notes, add pictures, keep track of garden tasks, and can act as a repository for tracking all of your garden's information.
"SmartGardener.com makes it easy and convenient for you to plan, manage, harvest, and even shop for and share your organic vegetable garden all from one place. Eliminating frustration, intimidation and the time consuming search for specific gardening information, Smart Gardener provides you with a highly personalized garden plan, To Do list, journal and relevant information based entirely on your personal growing conditions, the seasons, your garden and household size, and food tastes."
The basic web app is free, but Smart Gardener also offers paid add-ons for increased functionality and personalization, such as a guide to succession planting, a primer on vertical gardening, information on growing berries, a square foot gardening guide for intensive gardening, and the ability to add other garden infrastructure to the layout (such as paths, structures, shaded areas, etc.).