Sunday, February 12, 2012


As much as we would like repeatable, predictable results in our gardening I am finding it to be more of an art than a science.  There are so many factors that come into play where timing is concerned like: air temperature, soil temperature, rain / water frequency and amount, water and soil quality, sunlight hours, shading, pests and disease, and beneficial bugs to name some of them.  And of course the quality of the seeds we start with and how old they are directly affect when and if the countdown even starts.  Seeds from various crops have different shelf lives and how they are stored is a factor as well in germination viability.

So, how does one know when to start seeds, when to transplant, and when to harvest?  It takes research, dedication, trial and error, and hopefully eventual experience.  We are grateful to have the information from others that helps us know when to do these things, but it still takes wisdom on our part to watch our plants and weigh the affect of factors such as mentioned above.  There is a lot of grace thankfully that God has built into the timing so that we can still have success even if we are not perfect.  Just like how He gives us grace when we mess up because we are not perfect.

We do know that timing is important and if we are too late with planting for example, we will never harvest any fruit before winter sets in.  There can be a lot of things to keep track of, especially if we have several different crops we are planting.  So, how do we keep track of all of this?  Well, we started with a good resource like Mel Bartholomew's "All New Square Foot Gardening" book which has some very nice charts that help us determine what to do when with various crops.  This was a good place to start, but to use the charts correctly we still have to do manual calculations to determine all the various dates to come up with an actual time frame to do something.

So what does a computer programmer do when things are slow at work?  He writes a program that he, and hopefully others, will be interested in.  After Timothy's boss OK'd the idea, and after several hours of learning a new programming language and operating system, Garden Time was born.  This is a program that runs on an android device and does all the tedious calculations for you to help you know when to sow, transplant, and harvest your crops once you enter your spring and fall frost dates.  There is a lite version available that lets you select a crop from the list and see its date information.  A paid version (only 99 cents) will also allow you to create your own personal list, and it will generate a to-do list based on the calculated dates so you can be sure to not miss a thing.  Click here to visit Garden Time on the Android Market if you are interested in checking this out.  The app picture was taken last year in our garden.  There are lots of ideas and expansion possibilities I could add to this program, like germination times and ideal temperatures, pests, diseases, treatments, fertilizers, recipes, general crop information and pictures, storage techniques etc.  So many possibilities but because it would take a lot of time and research to gather all the information and integrate it into the app, I am not making any promises. :)  Maybe someday.

View Our App on the Android Market

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