Garden Planning Tools
If you search for "garden planning tools" on the Internet, you'll find dozens of applications. Most of those are essentially "landscape architecture" tools for people who want to design the visual look of their (flower) gardens. This is an interesting design problem, but not the problem addressed by Geo Garden Club.
If you narrow the search to say, "vegetable garden planning tools", you'll still find many that focus on the visual look of the garden bed, but there are a few that focus on the kinds of issues of interest to GGC. Here are the most relevant applications we have found:
|GPP||Garden Plan Pro||20K+||Free version (1 bed), $19.99 one time purchase, $1.99/month subscription|
|GM||Garden Manager||20K+||Planner: $0. Coach: $6/mo, Coach+Online Library, webinars, members only chat forum: $7.5/mo|
|GI||Grow It!||700K||Out of business (?)|
|PM||Plants Map||?||Free plan, or $49-$99/year|
|SG||Smart Gardener||?||$10/3 months; $30/year|
Some general observations about garden planning tools:
- Many of these sites focus primarily the needs of "recreational" or "beginner" gardeners, and/or focus on garden construction.
- The social media integration for the some of the apps is questionable. Why "like" a picture of a plant?
- The gardener-to-gardener communication channels are quite primitive, consisting of posting to Facebook or publishing journal entries.
- Most tools have a very limited free tier, with a typical paid subscriber base at $1-$3/month.
- Some tools tend to be underwritten by seed vendors, and so the planning tool is oriented toward marketing and seed sales.
As noted before, a popular tool for serious gardeners is a spreadsheet such as Google Sheets or Excel, perhaps in conjunction with a document editor (Google Docs or Word). This combination of tools is free and very flexible, but lacks any domain-specific functionality.
Urban Agriculture Tools
"Urban Agriculture" is a general term for cultivating, processing, and distributing food in or around urban areas. These tools are distinguished from home garden planner tools by a focus on more professional, market-oriented approach to small-scale farming.
|LF||LiteFarm, wiki, github||1000s||Free, Open Source|
|VT||VeggieTables||?||$89/year + $19/additional user|
Some general observations about urban agriculture tools:
- These tools all emphasize (and provide support for) commercial, for-profit farming (albeit on a small scale).
- Several focus on record-keeping required for organic certification.
- Several focus on people management.
- None have mechanisms to share data with neighboring farms.
Citizen Science technologies
There are several tools available to support citizen science as it relates to climate change:
Our goal is for GGC to complement existing approaches to Citizen Science. We would like to work with these organizations to determine the best wa for GGC to collect data to augment current data sets and make them more valuable to researchers.
How does GGC fit in?
Analysis of the technology landscape reveals that there are basically two clusters of features: "Novice" features that are associated with the garden planning tools, and "professional" features that are associated with the urban agriculture tools.
The market niche for GGC is between these two areas:
"Beyond Novice". GGC gardeners have generally solved the "layout problem", and are interested in more sophisticated record keeping than is available in current garden planning tools.
"Non-professional". GGC gardeners do not require people management technology. In addition, in a professional setting, local data sharing could be undesirable to farmers as it might reveal competitive secrets. GGC gardeners are in a non-competitive environment where data sharing within the community has little downside.