Saturday, May 26, 2012

SmartGardener.com Review

Do any of you like to garden? Have you ever heard of smartgardener.com? I was really excited to find it, but sort of found my own way to use it. It's clever because it keeps you on schedule with your gardening tasks and helps you layout your garden, though I found I disagree with it sometimes.


Last summer Dave and I planted a garden right in the ground. It was sort of an oddly round shape, partially on a hill, and the soil was very rocky. This year as a birthday and Christmas present I asked Dave to build me raised beds so I could have a real garden.

SmartGardener.com is a site that helps you plan your garden from choosing the best plants, to keeping you on schedule, to helping you layout your garden. I planted mostly vegetables, and some herbs and flowers in containers up on the deck.

Here's a quick run-down of pros and cons, then I will elaborate!

SmartGardener.com Pros

  1. Exhaustive list of plant varieties and info.
  2. Keeps you organized if you start plants from seed.
  3. Recommends a garden layout for you.
SmartGardener.com Cons
  1. I see their point, but too many choices were over my head.
  2. Could be personal opinion but I don't think square footage requirements are dead on, I went by the guidance on my plants instead.
  3. I had trouble "saving" my garden lay out. There is a glitch regarding changing the zoom then editing, sad.

Okay, since I already knew what I wanted to plant, I went ahead and created beds. Cool, this part went well. Then I had to choose my plants. Well, I have cucumbers. I got them from Lowes and they say "Cucumber." SmartGardener.com lists over 145 varieties of cucumbers. :o( I understand the varieties are important, but really, mine are just cucumbers from Lowes. I had this problem with most of my plants. It also suggests a number of plants for you, which I had to edit individually.

Then the fun part comes where SmartGardener.com recommends a plant layout for you! This is a cool feature, as it will serve you better to place plants with shallow roots and deep roots near one another so they don't compete for root space. Also some plant are happier near one another, where some just don't like each other. Plus SmartGardener.com knows how much space each plant needs. This is where SmartGardener.com and I started to disagree.

For example it originally lined up all my lettuces alongside my tomato plants. I was afraid the tomatoes would start to shade the lettuce eventually though. So I nixed that. Also you can see above that I clearly disagree with the space SmartGardener.com says I need to plant tomatoes and cucumbers. At least it lets me drag and drop to rearrange.

What I wound up doing was planting all my plants then coming back to SmartGardener.com to make a map so I knew what was where. I wanted to do the same thing for my herb garden on my deck, but Herbs have to be purchased as an Add-On. What? I know...everyone wants everything for free. Well my container garden has been planted for about 2 weeks or so. So I made a second map with SmartGardener.com then took a screenshot of it to label in Photoshop. Tricky, but I really just wanted help remembering what was where!

Here's my container garden...not to scale...


So so I recommend SmartGardener.com? Yes! Go play with it, it will be fun and hopefully inspire you to grow delicious veggies!

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