Mother Earth News Introduces Subscription Online Gardening Tool
(Press Release) TOPEKA, Kan. (Jan. 12, 2011)—Between picking the last of the fall harvest and planting your first seeds this spring, what's a gardener to do? The answer comes not outside but online.
Mother Earth News' new online Vegetable Garden Planner helps users create customized garden plans based on their local climate, desired crops and rotations within the garden.
Knowing the best times to plant each crop is one of the trickiest aspects of food gardening. The Planner first determines someone's local average spring and fall frost date by matching that user's ZIP code to data from the nearest of almost 5,000 weather stations in the United States and Canada. Users then draw their garden layout and click to place the crops where they want to grow them. Once the crop is selected, the Planner indicates when to sow seeds (indoors or out) or set out transplants, and gardeners can opt to receive e-mail reminders every two weeks listing which crops it's time to plant.
"This remarkable planner is truly going to make food gardening much simpler for both beginners and experienced gardeners. Plus, it's fun to see your garden plan beautifully organized right on your computer screen—with NO weeds!" says Mother Earth News Editor in Chief Cheryl Long.
The Planner includes details for more than 80 fruits and vegetables, 29 herbs and 13 cover crops. The crops all are coded with space requirements, so once a crop is placed into a plan, the Planner will show how many will fit into the selected space.
Gardeners also can use the Planner for succession sowings and crop rotations. To make crop rotations easy, plants are color-coded by their botanical family, and the Planner keeps track of the plants' location in the garden. When the user works on the next year's garden layout, the Planner will automatically look at the previous year's plan and warn if the user tries to deviate from standard rotation practices.