To create a successful crop plan, the first thing you need to know is that there are as many ways to crop plan as there are stars in our Universe. But garden apps often don’t allow for changing the spacing of plants. Additionally, crop plans need to be tailored to YOUR garden. Your climate, sunlight, orientation of your garden, and a number of other factors need consideration. Because of this, it’s not ideal to rely on garden apps and programs for your crop plan. Garden planning apps may sabotage your abundance and can be very limiting.
How Garden Apps Sabotage Your Abundance
The apps are programmed by web coders, not garden experts. So a lot of the garden knowledge that gets you the abundant harvest you want isn’t incorporated into the app. Because of this, garden apps can be inefficient.
Lack of Climate Considerations
Garden programs often don’t understand your unique climate and can be limited by systems like the US Hardiness Zone map that are not sufficient enough to create a crop plan that maximizes your garden real estate space. For crop planning, you can’t just use the climate data. You have to use your senses and your observations.
So let’s say, for example, that you put your city or town into the app and it spits out your climate data. That’s all well and good, and it might be close, except what if you live on the north side of the mountain or next to a creek in a valley? The climate for your garden might actually be cooler by as much as 5-10 degrees! This makes a huge difference in gardening.
Another possible issue with these apps is that they sometimes use a garden map as a crop plan. These maps are extremely wasteful of garden space because the map only allows you to build one moment of time in your garden. Garden maps are like a single frame of an entire movie. While the garden maps do help you with crop spacing, they can’t show you your garden through time. So you place lettuce in bed 1 in the spring. Then you harvest it, but your map won’t let you put anything else there so it stays empty the rest of the growing season. What you want is the movie, not a single frame. So a crop plan is essential to maximizing harvest yields.
Inflexible Plant Spacing
The biggest potential issue with garden apps is that they typically use a standard spacing of each crop, but spacing will depend on specific varieties and methods of planting. This confines you to always planting your tomatoes 18-24 inches apart. But if you single stem and plant them just 12 inches apart, you will get fewer tomatoes per plant but can get higher yields overall. However, most garden apps are programmed with set spacing.
Diminishes Harvest Yields
This set spacing also doesn’t allow for interplanting, underplanting, and forget about overlapping succession plantings. So, for example, when expert growers plant radish, they’ll often plant them one inch apart in three inch bands. Then halfway through the maturation of the first round of radish, plant another right next to it. That way, by the time the first round is mature enough to harvest, the second planting right next door is just starting to get big enough to need more root space. The first round is then harvested to leave more space for the second round. As the second round is halfway grown, they’ll repeat the process. This overlapping of succession planting breaks the rules of normal plant spacing found in most garden apps.
Prevents Intercropping and Underplanting
And what about underplanting and intercropping? Plants that have different root depths don’t interfere with each other and can be grown super close together. So, for example, I plant lettuce all around my tomatoes. Tomatoes may need to be spaced 18-24 inches from each other, but lettuce roots are very shallow and don’t grow as deep or wide as tomato root systems so they can be planted almost on top of the tomato.
When it comes to crop planning, garden apps will never be as good as you can be. You have a first hand experience of your local conditions. And where applications are bound by rules, humans are creative. As you gain experience in gardening, you will learn which rules can be bent and which ones can be thrown into the compost pile entirely and utilize your unique creative thinking to maximize your harvest yields. When it comes to successful crop planning, you are more suited for the job than any program or application.