At a Glance
- Access online; Drag-and-drop interface; Simple to use
- Basic tracking; No charts, graphs, or calendar
Drag-and-drop to plan, design, and manage your vegetable garden–and its harvest.
As someone who gets itchy (green) thumbs around mid-winter,
PlanGarden sounds like my dream software. Starting with a plot size
as large as five acres, you can use PlanGarden to draw your
envisioned garden beds, lay out all of your imagined plants
including plant spacings, set frost dates and indoor starting
dates, and start a daily PlanGarden log. When you’re ready to
plant, use PlanGarden to track varieties, amount planted (by plant,
row, or area), date planted, and estimated days to harvest.
PlanGarden has a harvest log too, so you can track how much you
gather from each plant. Unfortunately, overly basic features and a
clumsy interface make PlanGarden somewhat less than dreamy.
Use PlanGarden’s daily log entries to track actions in the broad
categories of Bug, Compost, Fertilize, Greenhouse, Herbicide,
Miscellaneous, Pesticide, Soil work, Weather, and Weed, and apply
these to your garden overall or the individual plants or plant
areas you’ve included on your PlanGarden plan. You can’t add images
to your log, but fortunately you can add a written description and
can pre- and post-date items.
PlanGarden does have annoyances: you can’t track production from
individual plants in a row, or draw a garden bed that curves
inwards; and there’s no easy way of diagramming shadows. You can
add photographs in PlanGarden’s Plot Layout tab, but you can’t
easily link them to your plants in the Manage Veg tab.
PlanGarden works online through any browser and no download. If
you choose to download PlanGarden, you still need to be online to
save your work, so the download is useful only if you have a slow
or intermittent internet connection. When offline, PlanGarden runs
in Adobe Flash Player, and shows up as Flash on the program header
and when you minimize, which makes it hard to find if you have
numerous programs running at once.
You can create a garden blog through PlanGarden, use a widget to
publish your plan online, and even create a .PNG image of your
garden. But this seems disappointingly ancillary to the main
PlanGarden program. For example, you can’t publish PlanGarden log
entries as blog entries.
Overall, I’d say that there are better and more intuitive ways
to track your planting dates and harvest than PlanGarden–a free
drawing program like Tux
Paint, a simple spreadsheet like OpenOffice.org‘s
free Calc, and a blog would save you $20 per year and would likely
leave you less frustrated. For tracking really detailed plant
information like germination rates or fertilizer use, try MyGardenBytes,
a free program designed for hydroponics that also works great for a
small scale conventional garden, or the $60 Garden Tracker.
Although PlanGarden is easy to use, some of the features are
hard to find and it’s a little too basic for a serious gardener who
wants to track and chart particular details.
Note: The application itself is free, but it
requires a subscription to the Plangarden service. The price quoted
here is for a one-year subscription.