6 gardening apps for planning your plantings

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Composite image by Aislinn Sarnacki

A great way to prepare for the growing season is to carefully map out your garden spaces, whether you plan to tend a large vegetable patch or a tiny planter on your patio. Visualizing these places is key to ensuring each plant has enough space and sun.

When it comes to mapping, the tried and true method is with pencil, paper and ruler. However, if you’re the type of person who enjoys creating diagrams and recording information on a screen, there are a few gardening apps and websites that may interest you.

Garden Planner

Garden Planner by Artifact Interactive, available for Windows and Mac OSX computers, allows you to plan out gardens on a two-dimensional space from a birds-eye view. The mapping tool allows you to create gardens of various shapes and sizes, then fill them with pre-made objects, including a variety of vegetables, herbs and flowers. You can also add pathways, fences, gravel and more. And there’s a tool for adding labels. In mapping out your garden with this program, you’ll need to research how much space each crop requires. While the program’s objects are sized to give you an idea of how much space they need, the program doesn’t offer any information about how much space each plant needs. It costs $38 to download, with a 15-day free trial.

My Green Space

My Green Space by Green Space Solutions Inc., available for iOS and Android devices, is a free app designed for planning vegetable and herb gardens, and it has mostly good reviews. The app features a simple mapping tool based on the square foot gardening practice, which is dividing a garden space into small square spaces. Based on your location, the amount of sunlight your garden receives and the square footage of your garden, you’re given a list of suitable crops to choose from. Once you’ve selected your plants, the app places them in a two-dimensional view of your garden, arranging them in the best order for companion planting. You can then use sliders to increase or decrease the amount of each crop, and, once you’re happy with the layout, you’ll receive information about when to plant, thin and harvest each crop. Not bad for a free app.

Gardenize

Gardenize, available for Android and iOS devices, is a free app that has overwhelmingly good reviews. The app allows you to enter and store detailed information about each of the plants you grow, as well as organize those plants in garden lists. The app also features a social network in which you can find follow fellow gardeners, by request, to see what they’re growing. While Gardenize is helpful in keeping your plant information organized, it does not feature a mapping tool, so you can’t use it to visualize the layout of your garden. The major advantage of this app is that you enter your own plant species information and photos, which means you aren’t reliant on plant lists provided by the app developer, which in other apps cause problems because they’re so limited.

GrowVeg Garden Planner

GrowVeg Garden Planner by Growing Active Ltd is an online garden mapping and journaling tool that costs $29 for a one-year subscription and $45 for a two-year subscription, with a free 7-day trial. The map tool allows you to build the exact layout of your garden and surrounding outdoor space with the use of drawing tools and ready-designed garden objects, such as walls, fences, greenhouses, sheds and nearly 200 fruit, vegetable and herb plants. As you build the diagram, the program generates how much of each crop you’ll need, as well as a graph of when to sow, plant and harvest each crop in your location. In addition, you keep a record of your gardens in the GrowVeg Garden Journal, which features icons that you can click to quickly record garden tasks, such as which plants you watered, weeded, added mulch to or harvested.

Garden Planner Pro

Garden Planner Pro, also by Growing Interactive Ltd., costs $7.99 and is designed to be similar to GrowVeg Garden Planner but for iOS mobile devices. The app allows you to map out gardens by dragging and dropping objects, resizing shapes and drawing lines. It also features information for nearly 200 plants, just as GrowVeg Garden Planner does, and it offers growing advice based on your location. The app does not feature a journal, though the creator plans to include that in the next upgrade. So far, the reviews on the app have been mostly negative reviews due to the limited plant list and what some customers consider to be a confusing layout.

Vege Garden Planner

Vege Garden Planner by Bento Software, available for iOS devices, has a free trial version; however, an in-app purchase of $3.99 is required to drag many of the plants to the garden mapping area. Made specifically for vegetable and herb gardens, this simple app allows you to create square or rectangle gardens of specific sizes, where you can map out various plants based on how much space they typically require. The app also tells you which plants grow well beside each other and which do not with a chart and icons that flash as you’re building your garden map. Unfortunately, there’s no feature in this app for creating and naming your own plants; so if a type of plant that you plan to grow isn’t on the provided list, you’re out of luck. Also the plant list is very general, and you can’t edit your garden to display names of specific varieties.


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