This is fun!
I played with the GrowVeg program and it is really quite fun.
I do need to do my garden plan in a sideways orientation rather than up and down because it obliterates the veggie lables otherwise. I didn't realize it will let me map out my whole yard, not just the actual garden plot. So i have more things i want to play with... but in a half hour of playing to learn the system, i came up with this:
I really think i will subscribe. It lets you customize your varieties, their size, spacing and names. If they don't have a veggie in their list, they have a 'blanks' for you to customize- and it allows for much detail. It let me put in my paths in and it even has fruit trees. I'm sure there are more little features, but after just a half hour of just playing, those are what i found.
I did a test print also and it looks really neat, clean and comprehensive.
I'm going to concentrate more on detail for my actual working plan and i will let me put marks where my hoops will be. This will help me measure more accurately for the spacing when i actually get out there.
Now that i have a better guide on space needs of each plant, i will have a better idea of how many plants i will need and how many seeds i need to sow and which plants can be multicropped and companioned. If i subscribe, this could be a great tool to keep me more organized next year. I will be able to know just how many of what is needed and i won't have a ton of extra seedlings. I can plant only what i need.
Another thing i was thinking about is proper seed storage. Now i admit i have had awesome luck with germinating old seed, but i'd rather be sure that i can be sure. So around the time when college gets out, i plan to see if i can find a good deal on a used mini refrigerator. I want a dedicated storage place for my seeds to hang out.
From what i have read, seeds stored at cooler temps and very low humidity can be kept extremely viable for 10 years or more. Silica gel is used to keep humidity down and little refrigerators are adjustable and if i plan to use it for seeds only, it won't be opened much throughout the year. That means there will be few temperature fluctuations in their lifetime.
Gardening authors like Steve Solomon even encourage you to buy the bigger packets of seed of many types of veggies and store them properly to save some money. His math does work out in favor of this. Particularly if you like the varieties and plan to plant them every year.
This would also be good if i try the Eliot Coleman method of low tunnels in the late fall, i'd need to buy extra seeds to keep us in cold season crops longer since my season for them would be extended... i might need twice as many seeds each year, so for 8-10 years worth of seed in a bigger packet rather than multiple small packets, the difference could be quite dramatic.
That is if my attempts are successful.
House work.... then more GrowVeg playing.