I wanted to write to you today about a wonderful application I found last year at Mother Earth News . I don't know if you have ever heard of them but I remember them from way back when I was much younger. My sister lived out on a farm in the backwoods and she was all about raising her animals and living off the land. they had beehives and goats, chickens and rabbits. She used to make her own goat cheese and had fresh eggs all the time. She also always had a huge stack of these magazines laying around. I loved looking through them. They told you how to do all kinds of things. Make your own greenhouses, dehydrate food, the list goes on and on. I earned a healthy respect for them during this time and I have always wished I had that big old pile of magazines now.
So last year I was struggling to start my garden. This is a serious struggle for me. It was all one wicked steep slope and covered with some kind of tall branched plant. I still don't know the name to them but they are everywhere here and a pain to remove. This picture is after I stripped the hillside. See that pile of brush in the background? That was only a small amount of what we pulled out that week. Then we had to dig down to even the area out and we made a big pile of rocks at the bottom (they all came form the soil!) I hope to eventually make retaining walls and make this more terraced.
I have never really gardened before except a bit of container gardening in my sky high apartment in Mulhouse.
And then I started playing with it. You start out by setting your location and it figures your frost dates out if you are in the US. I had to find that one out for myself and set it manually since I live in France. It has this grid that you can lay out your garden, well really you can lay out a big chunk of land if you want. That's what I did.
I put the house in and everything. Setting the garden in place was tricky but it really let me see what I was working with. You see, with my garden being on the side of a mountain with lots of rocks, steep incline, all kinds of fun stuff it was hard to figure out the size. I finally did get the measurements and had it laid out on the grid.
After that you can start adding your plants and that was fun. There are all kinds to chose from and they even offer different seed catalogs to chose from and if you want you can even open the page to the catalogs and buy the seeds right then and there! (I envy you all back in America, they have made it easy) I found this whole set up extremely helpful for me to get an idea of how much I could fit in and where. I set up my garden and put in all my plants just as I had planned.
The part I loved the most was after setting it all up you can click on the plants list and it takes you to a list of all the plants you have selected. It shows you sowing times for both indoors and out and also harvesting times. It really helped me to get my plants out at the right times and know when to expect them to start bearing fruit.
The really nice part of it all though is that they email you and let you know when you need to plant something or harvest it. They also send you lots of tips and there is a wealth of information on their site. The only thing I didn't like it the amount of emails I got from them that had nothing to do with the planner. I am not sure if I somehow subscribed to something besides the planner but really they do have a lot of nice information in their emails and I do occasionally click through.
Would I recommend this planner, definitely. I can't say my garden was a success but that is my own fault. I had some nice lettuce and cauliflower coming in but my poor tomatoes and peppers were a joke. I know this was my fault though. I should have chosen more appropriate plants for my garden and I should have been more vigilant. If I want tomatoes and peppers here on the mountain then I will require a greenhouse. There is no avoiding it, but that's for another post!
I found this photo when looking for the garden photos...I can't believe how much she has grown!