Wednesday, March 3, 2010

IGPro Garden software review

I am trying to be a bit more organized this year with my endeavor of growing my own food.
Since I have such a large variety of seeds it is a bit of a challenge.
I like variety, to me it is not good enough to just grow one or two Lettuces, or one Zucchini, Radish, Carrot or whatever I want to grow. I love to have a colorful salad and the middle eastern Zucchini tastes very different from the dark green Zucchini or the Romanesco. Variety is the spice of life, right?
Also how else will I find the perfect varieties for my Pacific Northwestern Garden, I am still not a seasoned Northwestern Gardener, still trying to figure things out how things grow out here.

So this year I am working a bit more with my wonderful garden software 'IGPro' I got from the UK written by an independent software programmer who himself is a gardener and is a nice guy always improving the software as we users come up with new demands.
We call out to him "we really would like it to do this task" or " It really would be great if the software could be used for vegetable gardens", because it really was written for the ornamental garden not for growing vegetables and he takes it all in stride and making it better for us users. Since there are now quite a lot of vegetable gardeners using his program and it has been quite a challenge to use the program for the vegetable garden use he actually is writing now a new program, just for us vegetable gardeners. How often do you find that kind of customer service, especially nowadays?

I know it will be a great software when he is done with it and I will be standing first in line to get it.

The program is different from many other garden software program that it is not a program to design a garden but it is designed to keep track of your plantings, like a database of your garden. Once you input all your information you can keep track of where your plants are situated in your garden, when you need to take care of them like fertilizing, pruning, spray schedules, seeding schedules, you can link photos of the plants to their profiles, do queries to find specific plants, print out reports. You can collect all the information you need for each plant, when you purchased it, where you got from, profile information, growing information and the beauty of the whole software you can make it your own. You can configure the Plant Care Topics or plant cultures and properties to your needs the software let's the owner change the program to his/her liking.
It has tons of features and because it is so configurable and let's us build to independent data bases, us Vegetable gardeners with Ornamental Gardens got the idea of  using it to keep track of our vegetable gardening also.
This year I finally managed to get all my vegetable seeds into the data base, with some of the growing information. At least I now have almost all my information in there of when I need to start my seeds inside the house or outside and when to transplant them. With the built in Task program I now can set up the tasks for each vegetable I plan to grow this year, assign them to a garden area/garden bed, set the dates to plant and after it is all set up I can print out my report what I need to do today and take it out with me into my Kitchen Garden. The report shows me what bed it goes in. No more confusion of putting seeds into the wrong bed or not remembering where I put them because I ran out of the labels. Labels? You can even print out labels with this software.
Since this software is so versatile it also can be used for the professional gardener like Nursery owners or Landscapers, you can set it up to keep track of all the plants you use and things you need to do at a nursery and design your catalog with it. Or as a landscaper create a garden for each client with garden areas, the plants used in it and link photos of the plants then use the query program to make lists according to specific criteria like plant size, color, soil type or any other site specific criteria.
I highly recommend this program to anyone who likes to be organized in their garden.

I am still far from having it all set up perfect for my use since I started using it for my vegetable garden but once it is done I know I will be Soooo Organized.


Kimberly said...

Interesting...I hadn't heard of it before. Please let us know how it works for you!

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