Planning

any references to the GrowVeg.com garden Planner

This is where the  Fran's Victory Garden 2017 Plan Planting Dates on the GrowVeg GardenPlanner comes in super helpful. I was getting ready for the Spring planting March 15th. The ground hog saw his shadow and we are getting his six more weeks of winter. I can't see the ground for a half a foot of snow.  The forecast has a frost down in the teens at dawn on March 23rd, five days from now. The forecast is mild until then. I'll start planting later that day. Now I will sprinkle some BBQ ash on the snow to encouraging melting where planting is planned.

The planting will include more roots for asparagus and raspberry plants. Here is the list:

  1. Arugula from the starter trays, I will do this last in case planting takes me several days.
  2. Asparagus from roots I have to purchase. I will be adding to an existing patch.
  3. Brussels Sprouts from the starter trays.
  4. Cabbage (Summer) from the starter trays.
  5. Cauliflower from the starter trays.
  6. Lettuce (Leaf) from seed.
  7. Peas from seed.
  8. Raspberry from starter plants I have to purchase.
  9. Spinach from seed.

2017 Seedling Trays, yes, that is snow outside

Started germinating the first batch of seeds on February 22nd just before going to St Croix for six days, turned the house heat low, it was 62 when we returned, so a low temperature environment.

The following is transcribed from my ad hoc clipboard notepad I kept when I set the seeds in damp filter paper to start germinating February 22nd. The 'Started' date is when the sprouted seed is placed in the starting tray (above).

. Plant Note #
1 Cauliflower Germinating 2/22, Started: 3/1 7
2 Eggplant Germ. 2/22, Started: 3/6,3/8, 3/10 12
3 Arugula Germ. 2/22, Started: 3/6 7
4 Lettuce Old seeds, no germinating, will start in garden from seed 0
5 Cabbage Germ. 2/22, Started: 3/1 9
6 Brussel Sprouts Germ. 3/1, Started: 3/6 16
7 Marigold Germ. 3/1, Started: 3/6 8
8 Bell Peppers Germ. 3/1, Started: 3/10 13
9 Hungarian Hot Wax Pepper Germ. 3/1, Started: 3/10 12
10 Peperone Corono Roso Germ. 3/1, Started: 3/10, 3/15, ... Germ 3/10 (a) 10
11 Sweet Bannana Germ. 3/1, Started: 3/6,3/8 6
12 Tomato, Money Maker Germ. 3/1, Started: 3/10, 3/11, 3/14 ... Germ 3/10 (a)   - Matures 75 5
13 Tomato, Glacier Germ. 3/1, Started: 3/14 ... Germ 3/14 (a) -  Matures 55 7
14 Tomato, Cherry Germ. 3/1, Started: 3/8 ... - Matures 65 6
15 Tomato, Plum Germ. 3/1, Started: 3/10 ... - Matures 80 6

Last year didn't get much blogging done. My excuse is I spent the Summer right up to the first frost relaying the patio's pavers. I am now attaching the patio to the paths. I'll add a pic when the snow is gone.

This year I am making some changes to the garden layout. The big plot with the diagonal paths is being enlarged by adding another foot in width by moving the path closer to the deck. Last year's smallest plot is being attached to the big plot by removing the path between them. These changes add about fourty more square feet to the garden. This additional space will be used to add another diagonal trellis in the large plot. I will try to grow eggplant and peppers on this new trellis.

I am using the GrowVeg Garden Planner for the third year, love it. Here is the plan.

This year the first sign of life was almost two weeks earlier. February 22nd saw the first rhubarb breaking the soil, this has been a mild winter, the next week+ looks tough tho.

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This is the second year planning Fran's Victory Garden with the GrowVeg Garden Planner.

The big change is the large plot by the deck will be filled with trellises diagonally situated so they face south. The garden is located on a squarish piece of land where the corners of the square point toward the points of the compass. With the trellises diagonal to the square they will be facing straight south. In the past, the trellises would be at an angle to the sun and the phototropic nature of plants would pull the plants to the southern corner.

Also, this year the cabbages and cauliflowers are going in tunnels right from the get-go. Yeah, lets beat those cabbage worms.

Another big improvement this year is edging for the plots, in the past the dirt had a way of migrating onto the pavers, dirty.


It is February (and 25% off at the garden supply store) and time to get started on planning this year's Fran's Victory Garden. No new veggies this year, more variation in existing choices tho. This year's changes are strawberries in the Topsy Turvy Strawberry Planter
and a new orientation to the trellises. The plants that use trellises are very phototropic, move toward the sun, so, since the garden is laid out diagonal to the compass points and the orientation and size are constrained by the property the trellises will be set diagonally facing south in the plots. This will be great or a yuuge mistake. Here is the in progress plan of the 2016 Fran's Victory  Garden.

20160213_100513_resized
From the garden store

At the garden supply store I bought two large pots to grow more herbs outside the kitchen door on the deck, a mess of peat starter pots and seeds. $64.33. This year's seed purchases are:

  1. Tomato, pole, Moneymaker from Botanical Interests
  2. Tomato, cherry, Sweetie from Botanical Interests
  3. Cabbage, Copenhagen Market from Botanical Interests
  4. Cauliflower, Early Snowfall from Botanical Interests
  5. Pea, snap, Sugar Snap from Botanical Interests
  6. Edamame, Butterbean from Botanical Interests
  7. Beet, Early Wonder from Botanical Interests
  8. Thyme, English from Botanical Interests, looked for Lemon Thyme as suggested by Wayne, no luck
  9. Dill from Botanical Interests for a pot on the deck
  10. Winter Squash, Waltham Butternut from Burpee
  11. Sweet Pepper, Red Majesty Hybred from Burpee
  12.  Oregan  from Burpee for on the deck
  13. Garden Bean, pole, Kentucky Wonder from Burpee
  14. Marigold, Happy Days Mix from Burpee
  15. Cover crop, Crimson Clover from Botanical Interests. Rather than leaving an empty patch for the remaning season, I will plant this as cover.
Last year's seeds
Last year's seeds

Seeds are good for several years if stored properly, but, I usually only use new and last year's. I will use earlier year's seeds in spots where there is an early harvest or when I run out planting a larger patch than planned. Last year's seeds I will use are:

  1. Pepper, Hungarian Hot Wax Pepper from the Seed plant
  2. Pomodoro, plum tomato from Franchi, IT
  3. Peperone, Corno Rosso di Toro from Franchi, IT
  4. Cilantro, Slow-Bolt from Renee's Seeds
  5. Italian Pesto Basil from Renee's Seeds
  6. Italian Parsley, Gigante from Renee's Seeds
  7. Eggplant, Black Beauty from Botanical Interests
  8. Beet, Early Wonder from Botanical Interests
  9. Tomato, pole, Red Siberian from Botanical Interests
  10. Pepper, Sweet Banana from Livingston Seed
  11. Squash, Zucchini Dark from Livingston Seed
  12. Cucumber, Straight Eight from Livingston Seed
  13. Radish from Burpee


In mid March I will get Strawberry starter roots from the garden store. They will be planted in the starter pots and then transplanted to the Topsy Turvy Strawberry Planter, an exciting new adventure in deck gardening.

A Bunch of Raspberries
A Bunch of Raspberries

Been picking Raspberries for days now. Today there were so many from the three year old plant I am thinking I will be overwhelmed when all four plants are mature. Fran is going to make a Raspberry Peach pie.  Stay tuned for pictures and the recipe.

The previous two years I bought ladybugs to deal with aphids, no aphids this year, so far.

Did a lot of weeding these last several weeks, I will try cloth mulch, wish me luck. The cabbage tunnels appear to be working. Gonna do more weeding later today in 90+ degree heat.

Beets are coming up fine this year, another couple weeks, no bunnies this year. The first planting of Snow Peas only grew a foot or so, odd, the second planting is doing fine. Only about 10% of the Edamame germinated, reseeded a week ago, some success. The Zuccs are doing great, will pick the first in a few days. The Pole Beans are doing great, wish I liked beans more.

Spent some time with the garden planner software, all the plants are identified, planters, tunnels and notes added. I have to spend some time dressing it up, trouble coloring inside the lines. I have some ideas for user fields, properties, and processes, more later.

Learned something new on the cruise, how to dry tomatoes on a barbeque. I probably made most of the mistakes on the first go, turned out excellent anyway.  I like things that work easily. The batch I did are also smoked, I had to throw some wet wood chips on to lower the charcoal temperature. Again, I like to focus on things that work easy, next year many more tomatoes to dry.

No time for blogging, too busy gardening. The plot cultivating tasks were:

  • Leveling out the high spots and moving around dirt
  • Straightening plot borders
  • Raking off winter's weeds
  • Spreading composted manure
  • Tilling with my Nuclear Powered Tiller
  • Surveying the planting spots for the trays of transplants
  • Excavating and conditioning with potting soil the transplant sites
  • Transplanting the seedlings
  • Watering
  • Thinning
  • Sowing second spring seeds

All the first transplanting and seed sowing (not the late spring planting) were complete on April 26th.

Starter Tray w/ thermometer
Starter Tray w/ thermometer

We had our last frost April 24th, three days after the average last frost, still, the last frost is May 15th. It was not a hard frost, froze over the birdbath but no harm done in the greenhouse. The greenhouse's bottom shelf is full of bottles of water to hold the heat in times like this.

Everything went together like it was planned. Well, my new GrowVeg.com Garden Planner helped out a lot, still learning the tricks, it is very rich in features. It is classic, I wish I had bought it months earlier.

Online Garden Planning Tool

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Fran's Victory Garden is evaluating Web Based Garden Planning Packages. I have started out Binging & Googleing "web based vegetable garden planner", learned right away to specify "vegetable ". With the responding wealth in websites I realized I might have a difficult time, there were a good number of planning packages. Where to start? By adding "reviews" to the query resulted with a starting point to enumerating the features of each package. As I read the Review websites, I will add to the following Features list. Later when I visit the sites, I will create a grid of Features.

Features:

  1. Web based. - required
  2. Vegetable focused. - required
  3. Shareable. - required
  4. Odd shaped plots. +
  5. App available.
  6. Succession Planting.
  7. Track Varieties.
  8. Garden Journal or Log.
  9. Ease of use.
  10. Help and Tutorials.
  11. Free Trial.
  12. Annual Fee
  13. Membership roles.
  14. Affiliate program.

The list of Review Websites is where I'll start familiarizing myself with the possibilities. I will work thru the list alphabeticly foot noting which web based sites are are being reviewed. When all the data is collected, I will look at each of the sites in desending order of number of time reviewed.

Review webpages:

  1. TreeHugger's "7 High-Tech Online Gardening Tools to Plan the Perfect Garden". reviews 1,2,3
  2. Dave's Garden. reviews 3
  3. Small Footprint Family. reviews 1,2,3
  4. Top Ten Reviews' Vegetable Garden Software Review. reviews 3,1

Web Based Garden Planning packages:

  1. GrowVeg.com reviewed by 1,3,4
  2. Gardener's Supply reviewed by 1,3
  3. PlanGarden.com reviewed by 1,2,3,4

The next step is comparison shopping.