Sunday, April 26, 2015

A Garden Planner

We enjoyed an early Spring this year, and last week I planted the first few rows of my vegetable garden.

This year I spent some time studying the theory of companion planting, and put a little more thought than usual to the placement of my plantings.

Because I tend to lose my hand drawn diagrams,  this year I decided to plot my garden using a Google Spreadsheet.

I discovered it is quite easy to put images inside the spreadsheet cells, and then once entered, all you have to do to "Plant a Row" is highlight the image, click on the little square at the edge and drag.

This is far too much nerdy fun.

Here is what I hope my garden layout will be when everything is in the ground. (Click on the image to see it in better resolution)

If you want to design your own planner using a google spreadsheet, here are a few tips:

I made the cells 45 x 50 to allow my images to be large enough.
-- do this by selecting all the rows or columns (highlight an area and then use the keystrokes shift-space for rows, or control-space for columns)
-- while they are selected, right-click and choose "re-size rows" or re-size columns".

I filled everything with a tan color. Select All, and then find the color you want using the Custom Color Selector.

There are two ways to insert images in a Google Spreadsheet. One is simply using the Insert menu. Images inserted this way can be freely moved around and re-sized. My little ladybugs and butterfly are inserted this way.

I wanted the vegetables to be inserted directly into the cells however, so I used a function dialog for images: =images("URL")
I also wanted to manipulate the size of each image, so I added ,4 and then the size of the image, for example, the marigold function reads like this:

I wanted to use copyright-free images, so just to be safe (and have fun) I drew my own primitive little images using Microsoft's paint tool.
Take this link to my hidden resource page.
Right click on the image and "copy URL" to insert them into your own spreadsheet project.
They are not fine art, but they worked for my purpose, and you are welcome to use them.

The ADVANTAGE to going to all this trouble -- besides knowing which row has what! -- is I will know exactly how to rotate crops in next year's garden. I can just make a new planner further down the page, copy-pasting my images already loaded into the spreadsheet. Easy!