Vegetable Garden Plot

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suggestions for improvement
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This is my first year using plangarden and I really like it, however, I do have some suggestions for improvement. First, I think it would be beneficial to have some sort of spacing tool. In other words, have the program be intuitive, so if a gardener is placing tomatoes on the garden plot, the program would know that tomatoes need at least 18" on all sides of them to grow. Then if I tried to plant another vegetable within the 18 inch "buffer zone" the program would have an error message pop up that says, "Too close! Tomatoes need at least an 18" diameter of clear space!"

Another way to improve the application would be for it to be aware of companion plantings. Thus, if I try to put dill next to carrots, the program would have another error message that say, "Dill and carrots are incompatible with each other: plant elsewhere." In other words, the program would have a database of what cannot grow next to what.

Then, in the harvest section of the program, I'd like to see exact dates, or at least exact "windows" of dates for the ?harvest estimate?. For example, right now if I click on "Date planted" I get a little icon of a seedling, but have no idea what that date is unless I go back to the "Manage Vegetables" section and look it up. Similarly, it would be nice to have the harvest dates exact, so I have an idea of when to expect my first picking, and when to expect my last. As it stands now, we have to guess what the dates of actual harvest are.

Also, I think there?s currently a bug in the program. I went to the ?manage vegetables? area and told all of my vegetables to ?hide name?. I then saved my garden plot so that no names where showing. Yet, when I went back several days later to look at my garden again, all the names were back on. You may want to look into that.

The ?Daily Log? section is also confusing and complicated to use. I?d like to see more actions there, such as: plant, prune, uprooted, replaced, animal (as opposed to bug). I think more options would be nice.

Last, on the main page (http://www.plangarden.com/main.php) the word ?details? is not spelled correctly. You?ll find the incorrect spelling next to the explanation of the ?Manage Vegetables? section.

Those are some thoughts and ideas that I had as I was using this software. I think what you have is really cool, and I?d like to see it be even better. I?m certain that with the kinds of changes I listed above, you can develop this software into something even better and more useful than it is today. Good luck!

-Steven Dickens, M.Ed.
Westchester, IL

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First on the buffering, I have a test database that has this information in it. My idea so far is to not have collision detection, which I think can be annoying, but that may just be me. Instead I would have an option where you could turn on the spacing information and a circle of the right size would be drawn around each plant. If you had to plants too close together, then you would see this and make adjustments. Spacing does vary between seed packages and gardening techniques. I know that square foot gardeners plant vegetables at different spacings than row gardeners. I will put out a preliminary database with different types of spacing and allow users to adjust to their own liking.

I will do something with companion planting, but I haven't decided what yet. Companion planting also seems to vary from source to source. Some companion planting guides are to encourage better growth or yield, while other companion guides are for bug repelling. So I want to make different types of companion planting available, but again make it so people can enter their own in and customize it.

I will look into save name, I think there may be a bug there that I will try to address in the next release that I hope to roll out this week.

I am glad to hear you find this confussing. I may change the way this works. I tried a different method for inputing and changed it a couple of times during the beta that ended a while back, but haven't gotten any good feeback on this feature yet, but only a handful of people seem to be using this feature heavily.

Hmm, spelling isn't my strength, but it is annoying to have them so I will remove them tomorrow.

Thanks again. This program is just in the start of its life and will definately grow a lot in the near future and will probably always look for good input and idea.

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