Review: VegPlotter Garden Planning Software
When I first moved to my current home, I wanted to convert the 7m x 7m concrete slab ‘garden’ to a raised bed and container garden. This space already contained a 3m x 1.8m shed and a 1.8m x 1.8m greenhouse so available space was limited. In order to maximize the available vegetable growing space I needed to plan meticulously so that no space went unfilled for very long.
A trawl of the internet found several software packages for planning garden & allotments. Some were downloadable (client side) and others were online useable (server side). I wanted a server-side package as these tend to get updated and improved with time. I trialled a couple but the one that really ticked all the boxes was called VegPlotter.
I was so impressed with VegPlotter in my garden, that when I was allocated an allotment, the first thing I did was to create a plan of what I had inherited. I have used it to create my current plan of action and also a future plan of my end goal. I can do this because once I have created the plot and the permanent structures it is possible to duplicate the site for planning or evaluation purposes.
So what does VegPlotter offer?
In the words of the founder –
Get organised! The easiest way to plan your garden – Quickly fill your beds with vegetables using the simple drag and drop interfaceRichard from VegPlotter
VegPlotter is a very versatile and easy to use piece of gardening planning software. At its most basic level it allows you to create a plan of your garden or allotment exactly to scale, create beds, containers and structures to mirror what you already have or wish to have, and place your chosen fruit, veg and flowers into your beds and containers.
The first time you go to the VegPlotter website you are presented with the option to take a free 7-day trial. There is no requirement to pre lodge your card details before the trial can commence. At the end of the trial you will be directed to the subscription pages where you can choose from two packages, but more on that later – plus a special offer.
Even before you have to commit to a free trial or subscription, you can access all of the user guides for the products under the ‘user guides’ link at the top of the page. The three YouTube videos are a very useful introduction to the product and give you all the basic information that you need to start your own garden/allotment plan. In addition, there is a whole plethora of instructional pages via the links on that page.
VegPlotter is available on desktop, laptop, tablet, and mobile and works with all the latest browsers including Android, IOS and Windows Phone. This makes the VegPlotter planning tool fully accessible whilst you are at the allotment.
But what else does the package offer?
Apart from just being able to drag and drop beds and plants, VegPlotter also allows you to predetermine the row orientation in each bed. For each particular type of vegetable, VegPlotter is pre-programmed with crop and row spacing and will automatically size to suit the bed space. The narrative for each vegetable will then show the numbers of plants required which helps pre-planning the seed growing.
One of the great planning features is the month by month approach. You can pre-plan as far into the future as you want and VegPlotter will note sowing, planting out and harvest dates so, as the year progresses, the plants will appear and disappear from the beds. This is very handy for identifying vacant space that can be utilized.
Coupled with the month by month planning tool is your location. Set this up correctly at the start and the month by month planner bases all its calculations and dates on your location taking into account your first and last frost dates and you average mean temperatures.
Every vegetable in VegPlotter comes with a list of suitable companion plants, very useful for the beginner trying to get their head around what should be planted with what in order to get the best out of your crop and reduce the risk of disease and pests.
Once you move into your second and subsequent years of planning, VegPlotter remembers what crops were planted with their locations and will flag-up a crop rotation issues to help avoid potential plant pests and diseases.
Each vegetable that you put into VegPlotter has a facility to place notes for historic or future reference. Another very handy use for this journal is the ability to scan and import the seed packet instructions for future reference. This saves having to keep empty seed packets just for the instructions. How many times have you failed to reorder seeds because you have seen an empty packet?
VegPlotter has a very comprehensive and expanding plant base which can be accessed via the Grow Guide link at the top of the page. Scroll through the vegetables or use the filter to narrow your search. Clicking on your selected vegetable brings up a concise and detailed ‘how to grow and when to harvest’ both in text and graphic formats.
However, if VegPlotter does not have exactly what you are looking for. Open up the page for the closest vegetable to the one you are looking for and click the ‘Copy As New CustomPlant’ button to create your own customised plant. You are able to change sow, plant-out and harvest dates, plus plant and row spacings. This makes your selection of vegetables endless (Advanced Package Only).
Square Foot Gardening (SFG) – VegPlotter allows you to plan for SFG without have to change from standard beds to SFG beds. If you want just one SFG bed you can select one from the Add Beds section and you will have a complete SDG bed. However, if you want to mix and match within a single bed selecting a particular veg in the Grow Guide will advise how many plants can be placed within the square foot.
The final element of VegPlotter I want to talk about here is the MyJobs section. Accessible from the MyJobs link at the top of the page, this page provides you with a month by month work schedule of what you need or should be doing. It is based around sowing (in/out), planting out, harvesting and coming out. It provided you with quantities that you will need so you can plan ahead.
There is so much more to VegPlotter than I could write about here and the only way to get a better understanding of VegPlotter is to take the free 7-day trial. Once you have registered for VegPlotter follow all of the instructional videos and links to learn how to use it to its full capability.
In addition, follow and subscribe to the VegPlotter YouTube channel as well as follow them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram as many updates are announce through these social media channels
VegPlotter comes is two versions with annual subscription fees for both.
Essentials £15 per year
12 months access to VegPlotters unique vegetable garden planner including:
- Unlimited garden plans
- Plans of any shape and size
- Planting schedules tailored to your local climate
- Monthly jobs list
- Access from mobile, tablet and desktop (unlimited devices)
- Row or Square Foot Gardening (SFG) planting styles
- Automatic Row and SFG spacing
- Crop rotation warnings
- Companion Planting suggestions
Advanced £25 per year
All the benefits of the Essentials package with…
Create your own Custom plants with their own custom planting Schedules.
Get a full 20% off the initial price of either package by using code DODDY at the checkout
Disclaimer: I was supplied with a copy of Advanced VegPlotter by VegPlotter.com for the purposes of this review and as an affiliate. All opinions are my own.