About Us

Enjoying the modern conveniences of life in a sustainable manner through technology, resourcefulness, and Zone 8a (North Texas) Gardening.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Our Virtual Garden

Sustainably Modern.

That is what we call ourselves. But, I've noticed that I haven't shared much of the modern aspects of what we do, so there will be some changes coming to this blog.

Modern living is about convenience, technology, and efficiency. Modern families have a lot going on and not enough time to do it. Unfortunately, there are some negative things that are associated with modern life: fast food, TV and video games at the expense of reading and outdoor time, we're more wasteful now of our food and our resources (electricity, water, etc) because they are available in abundance (to most of us). So our goal is to learn to live a modern life without some of these negativities and to pass those lessons on to our kiddos...so you will see a lot of them in this blog.

Periodically, I'll bring you a post about something that we do that is Sustainably Modern. We'll start with an example of where Technology meets Gardening: Our Virtual Garden.

It is basically an Excel Spreadsheet. Each square represents 6"x6" of garden space. I combine squares when I need more room than that. I use this virtual garden as a diagram for my real garden. You can see it below. The first two beds are shown for the Spring garden. You can scroll to the right or down to see more of the spreadsheet (the fall garden is to the right of the spring garden). You can also open it in excel if you would like. The brown areas are the walking areas of the garden.

It makes planting a snap; I know exactly where to put everything and I know exactly what is needed when. It helps me visualize spacing and companion planting and makes crop rotation a snap. When something doesn't work out like I planned; I simply make the changes here for next season. I never have to wonder what is growing where because I can simply refer to my virtual garden and it tells me which variety is planted in each spot; so there is no need for garden markers.

And best of all, at the bottom of my spreadsheet, I have equations that tell me exactly how much of each crop I am growing for each season. For example, it will count how many broccoli plants I am growing in the fall, how many I am growing in the spring, and provide a sum for the entire year. If I move crops, delete crops, or add crops these totals automatically update. I use this information to be sure that I am planting the number that is needed to met our needs/goals. The spreadsheet will tell me if I need to add more or plant less.

Basically, it makes planning a snap and takes almost no time out of my day to make adjustments (once I got it all set up of course).


  1. You're so well organized! I also start with a plan for my "perfect" garden, but it doesn't take me long to start putting in an extra plant here, or a new packet of unplanned seeds there, and before long I have no idea what is planted where! By the time the garden starts producing, it's all a guess as to what variety is being harvested.

    1. I do end up straying a little; but it's typically removing a plant or two because the real-life spacing doesn't look as good as it did on paper.

      This fall, I started a bunch of tomatoes, broccoli, cabbage, kohlrabi, and cauliflower. I labelled everything with a dry-erase marker. I didn't realize that is what I had used until they were left out during a rain. So I have a bed of brassicas and tomatoes that I have no idea what variety is where. I call them my mystery beds.

  2. I would love a spreadsheet like that. You could sell that as a template.