GrowVeg vegetable gardening software: Square Foot Gardening and more

plan your vegetable garden

Seeing a few rays of sunshine in the gloomy Pacific Northwest, I decided to open up GrowVeg and start planning for my fall crops for the upcoming season.  I was pleased to notice a new bit of functionality the Square Foot Gardening feature.  I started growing with the square foot method after being inspired with my first gardening book appropriately titles “Square Foot Gardening” by Mel Bartholomew.  I consider him the original cheap vegetable gardener where this book provides a great way to produce more food in less space but is also filled with very cost efficient tips for your home garden.

GrowVeg takes advantage of this technique by allowing you to select the plants you want to grow and automatically shows you the amount of “squares” your plant needs as well as how many plants you can add in the square with the number appearing in the top left corner.

One additional benefit of GrowVeg is when you use the service for a couple years, not only can you save time by reusing the template from the previous year, but it also remembers what you planted at the various locations and warns you to not plant that family of vegetables in the same location for effective crop rotation (another recommendation of Square Foot Gardening) by showing a glowing red indicator (see below) where to avoid planting this year.

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Another cool feature is revealed by clicking on the info icon it will display a real picture of the plant and all of the basic information you need to know to grow almost any edible plant you can think of.

GrowVeg Software

I will admit last year I did not follow the planting dates that GrowVeg recommended, I was optimistic (ok really just impatient) and started my seed a few weeks too early resulting in some poor yields for my cold spring crops.  This year I am going to be a little more pessimistic and use their dates and following the convenient planting guide.  Which along with the reminder emails (and a little restraint) hopefully I will been eating a few more spring veggies this year.

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If you want to to try GrowVeg.com out for yourself you can sign up for a free 30 day trial and in a 5-10 minutes you can have some detailed plans as well.

Enjoying Spring at the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

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Growing up in the area I have had a lifetime of the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, but now being the father of three little girls I have a feeling I will be seeing more of these millions of flowers blooming.  With the not so spring like weather we have been having this month it seemed like a nice day to remember what spring is supposed to look like.

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My middle daughter found some flowers that matched her shirt.

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Now off to catch up on the work in the garden I should have been doing today…

Garlic growing in my driveway

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Just to show our level of rain in the Pacific Northwest, I must have misplaced a couple of garlic cloves when I was braiding my garlic last summer since I noticed 4 garlic plants growing in the gravel next to my driveway.

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Even with the less than ideal “soil” they were growing in they have some decent looking root structure.  Provided my garden has a no plant left behind policy I dug up each of these garlic plants and found a place for them next to the garlic cloves I intentionally planted in my garden last fall.

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Successive Pea Planting

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Last year by 5 year old learned she likes to pick and eat fresh pea pods and was very diligent on harvesting new peas as she found them.  Unfortunately this meant less peas for me.  This year I am using successive planting to ensure I get my fill this year but also do not get overwhelmed with one big harvest all at once.

I started the process about a month ago by soaking my sugar snap peas in water overnight…then forgetting about them and ended up planting them by flashlight in the rain the following day.  I couple weeks later I did the same for my snow peas in a separate part of my garden. 

If everything goes as planned I should get some early snap peas and followed by some snow peas 2-3 weeks later.  Even if my plants do not cooperate and I get overwhelmed with too many peas I can always leave a few on the plants and harvest the pea seeds for next year.

Planning garden using GrowVeg (Year #2)

Though GrowVeg worked great for planning my garden last year, this year it became even more useful.  By creating a garden plan using my template from my previous year not only did it save time but also showed where I should not plant certain vegetables because I planted the same family of plants in that area last year.  Here is my plan for my larger plot:

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I am growing much of the same as I have in past years with the addition of broccoli and Swiss chard.

For my longer fence plot here is what I am going with the following:

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New in this area I am going to plan on growing some dry beans for storage as well as some green beans along with our regular cucumbers, tomatoes, and sunflowers.

I also have an area I am planning on growing herbs, though for that I am just going to wing it.

In the end it took me about 3-4 minutes to create this plan thanks to GrowVeg which I can print out and keep by the garden so I don’t have to wonder, “Now where did I plant that spinach again.”

They do have a free 30 day trial if you want to try it out this year.

Average last frost dates are only right half of the time

Our last frost date in my area should have been March 24th but given the frosty mornings this past week and the fact we had snow coming down most of today it looks like this year our last frost date will fall on the other side of the bell curve. Unfortunately, I was optimistic with some of the great weather we were having earlier and planted my tomato seeds for a much earlier move outside. The poor tomatoes are still growing in my PC grow box but starting to not look so good. As you can see from the picture below my tomato plants are in some dire need of some non-artificial light. I am afraid I might end up buying my tomato plants at my local nursery (yet again) this year. Vegetable gardening is definitely one of those hobbies which it does not pay to be a too optimistic.

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