Much of my farming experience thus far has been about the path of least resistance. At times, the least resistance means something as simple as taking fewer trips back and forth between the beds. Or carrying a lighter load. Or creating a tomato tumbleweed, like this:
But then there are the computer days, where simplifying your work requires understanding the whole farm as it exists on paper. Well, on screen. We started out with an excel file, 11 worksheets deep that breaks down everything from how much yield to expect, how many seeds to buy, the space required for planting, and loose harvesting dates. This will make your head spin:
The process was a little rough. Ah, but there are other tools. We started using AgSquared- a new online software that helps small-scale farmers schedule their plantings, plan for how much seed to order, and generally keep the vegetable part of the farm (an amazingly small part) in order.
It’s so much more handsome than my 11-tab spreadsheet.
I’ll dive in a bit more to AgSquared in upcoming posts. We’ve had a lot of ups and downs with this software. A software in beta means software with some bugs. But we’re working our way through it.
In the mean time, there are a lot of new applications coming out that can help you figure out when, where, and what to plant on a smaller scale garden. Here are a few I’ve found:
Smart Gardener (great minds think alike)
Grow Planner iPad app (from Mother Earth News)
Garden Tracker (iPhone app)
I haven’t used any of these yet, but if you have, I’d love to hear about it.