Real Men Sow

Gardening Gets Geeky – Online Allotment Planners

shed plan from Garden Planner 2.5I love a bit of allotment geek. Last weekend, I borrowed a surveyor’s wheel, and took precise measurements of my plot, ready to start this year’s plan. Then I found something tremendous – online allotment planners.

For 2011 at least, pen and paper is out, point and click is in. I found three neat planners, each with their own elements of electronic charm, and enough variety to get us all dragging and dropping.

If you happen to be a square-foot gardener, then the free Kitchen Garden Planner could be for you. The Planner kindly tells you how many of the 54 veg available will fit tidily in each square foot block, and provides you with sowing instructions to boot.

Pick your vegetable, move it to where you fancy planting, and that’s all there is to it. In fact, a whole plot plan could be done and dusted in 10 minutes.

There’s no metric option for us pesky kids, but you can edit the veg names to remember seed types.

And best of all, it won’t cost you a – er – bean.

Should you be more concerned with creating pretty Alys Fowler-inspired garden-allotment hybrids or finding a nice home for your chickens than the size of your yield, try the Garden Planner 2.5.

For £15, you get all manner of items to add to your lovely plan, including animals, furniture, ponds and shed welcome mats. There are a few vegetables to sow in amongst the beautifulness, but you don’t get any growing instructions.

It does look nice though. I’d frame the plan of my shed area (above) and stick it on my wall.

For full-on geekiness, it’s got to be the growveg.com Garden Planner (below). You have to draw the chickens yourself, but the stack of features makes up for this.

vegetable growing planning with growveg.comAs well as growing advice, crop family groups and a choice of 130 vegetables, fruits and herbs, you can use the view by month option, which is especially handy for efficient succession planting.

The planner will also estimate how many plants you can cram in to a row, before creating you a planting plan adapted to your own regional climate and setting up a email reminders in case you’re the forgetful type.

There is an annual subscription of £15, but if you’re a beginner or looking maximise your harvest, then this planner is perfect.

However, be warned, these tools come with consequences. They’re highly addictive. I’ve spent a week messing about already. My lovely girlfriend is proposing No Computer Nights. You may lose your partner, and your social life.

On the bright side, you won’t go hungry.

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3 Comments

  1. Real Men Sow / a cheery allotment blog » Blog Archive » Ten Tips When Planning the PlotFebruary 7, 2011 at 1:43 pmReply

    [...] chosen my seeds, prepared the ground and now I’m armed with my paper and pencil (or laptop and garden planner!), raring to plan this year’s [...]

  2. Real Men Sow » Blog Archive » My Allotment Plan 2011February 11, 2011 at 6:18 pmReply

    [...] the end I decided against using an online planner, but did geek out with Microsoft Excel. I just can’t leave this alone at the moment, I’m using [...]

  3. CroilaFebruary 20, 2011 at 3:06 amReply

    I use the growveg.com garden planner. Even though I’ve only got a small urban garden, not an allotment. But that planner is fabulous! Totally appeals to my inner OCD geek ;-)

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meIn 2007, I took on a redundant allotment plot with my gardening-mad mum Jan. As all good mums do, she went along with it, but I don’t think she held out much hope. However, over a decade later, and she now lets me do stuff without watching over my shoulder, so I must be doing something right. [ read more ]

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