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crop planning genius

Posted: April 1 2013

Tech-Savvy Maine farmer Clayton Carter of Fail Better Farm created this sweet crop-planning software and has offered it up for free!  If you've always wanted to be more organized but couldn't find the time, this is your lucky day.  Here's the dealwheelhoe-stubby:
You've found a sweet piece of land, ordered a pile of seeds, rigged up a greenhouse and you're itching to get started planting … but when should you seed your peppers so that they're ready on time and how many will you need to fill up 2 beds … no scratch that you don't care how many beds; you want to know how many to plant so you can sell that cute new chef the 100 pounds they had ordered for the second week in September.  What to do?!
Enter Crop Planning Software
Started in 2007 as a Northeast SARE "Farmer Grant" by a young, organic farmer in Maine, this free and open source program aims to help small farmers plan and manage the hundreds of plantings they will be making every season.  It allows you to create a "database" of crops and varieties and then to create plantings of those crops, saving lots of tedious and error prone cutting and pasting or repetitive entries.
  * Enter a desired planting, transplant or harvest date and the program can calculate forward (or backward) to the others for you.
  * Enter just one of "beds to plant", "plants to transplant", "flats to start" or "yield desired" and the program will fill in the rest for you.
  * Have a lot of successions to enter?  Create one of them, then just duplicate it and shift it by a week or two.  
  * Not sure if you've got enough space for your plan?  The program can generate a chart of how many beds you'll need each week, how much greenhouse space you'll need each week and more.
Once your plan is done, you can print PDF planting lists for the greenhouse or field that will only show what needs to be done that week (and, of course, what you didn't get to last week).  Seeded something in trays in the greenhouse?  Check it off as "planted" and it will drop of the GH list and show up on the "transplant to the field" list when it's time to set it out.
And after this season, you can create next year's plan based on this year's and even have it generate a list of how much seed you'll need to order for each variety.
It's a free download for Windows, Mac and Linux, and if you like it, they accept donations.  In addition to the main project page , there's also a fledgling Facebook page and the really adventurous can find the source code over on Github .  It has received support from Northeast SARE MOFGA  and Fedco Seeds

hudson, new york