April 1, 2013

How to Use the Internet to Plan Your Garden

Winter’s taking a long time leaving us, and Spring seems to be shy this year.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t start planning your garden yet.

In fact, one of the fun things about gardening is you can start planning even while it’s snowing!

And nowadays it’s gotten a lot easier and more fun, thanks to the Internet.

5 Web-Based Tools for Garden Planning

1. Webapps and Apps

There are apps available these days that can take care of some of the details of plotting and planning your garden. You provide information about your garden’s location, whether you have containers and what kind, and the garden’s basic shape. Then you receive information about what plants grow well in your area, which ones will fit in your space, and even the best places to plant various plants.

Some apps even remind you of when to plant, prune, and harvest. This can come in handy if you’re planning a vegetable garden!

There are similar apps for iPads and iPhones, too. And the mobility of the iPhone means you can take it out “in the field.”

2. Gardening Websites

Do an online search for gardening sites in your area. Some sites dedicated to only one aspect of gardening, such as when to plant or how to preserve your harvest; others focus on native plantings in your area. Still other websites can help you with the layout of your garden and clarify what zone you’re located in. A great place to look is your extension service – they should have a website with a wealth of information.

3. Social Networking and Groups

As you look on the web for gardening information, you’ll undoubtedly find chat rooms, message boards, Facebook pages, and online groups dedicated to gardening. Join one or more of these! There is nothing like discussing gardening with other like-minded people who are often full of advice. You can ask questions and learn from others’ experience. And there will probably be lots of information and links to websites and other resources.

4. Online Calendars

An online calendar can be a huge help in planning and maintaining your garden. You can use it to set up reminders to weed, plant, and water, for example. My favorite is Google calendar, because it also syncs with my other devices.

5. Online Garden Planners

And finally, there are online planners where you can, with the click and drag of a mouse, design your entire garden. You can add shrubs, a patio, containers, flowers, fences…you get the idea! This is a great way to hone in on what you want to plant in the spring, so you don’t end up with a trunk-load of impulse buys.

The Internet is a fantastic tool for garden planning. Put it among your most-used garden tools — and you don’t even have to sharpen it!

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Alexis Rodrigo

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