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I'm looking for a simple solution for keeping track of where I have planted various plants over time. The most obvious solution seems to be to use something like Inkscape, which is free, and allows me to label what has been planted where, and unlike paper notes, I can make simple adjustments by 'duplicating' a layer of the drawing, adding the date, and modifying the new layer with any changes in the garden. This will allow me to go back in time and see where, for example, I had planted potatoes four years ago. The 'inactive' layers on the graphical drawing can be turned off, so I can essentially get a 2D map of the garden across time. I can then add notes to each of the graphical layer so that I can learn from previous years' mistakes and triumphs.

However, I don't want to reinvent the wheel, and I'm sure there must be people already out there doing something like this in a computerised way. I wonder if anyone can suggest either (a) a bank of graphical objects that I can dump into my Inkscape drawing to represent things like trees, paths, etc, or (b) an alternative free software that does what I'm trying to achieve even more easily..?

I'm not looking for anything too fancy (i.e. I'm not designing a garden); just a way of keeping track of what's gone where, and how well it worked in the past.

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    If you could label/map/define zones/beds you could draw a sketch once and keep the rest of the data in a spreadsheet. People have done this on paper essentially forever. From limited experience, mapping is time-consuming if you want any accuracy. You might be better off using sketchup or one of the free CAD packages. The learning curve wouldn't be much steeper and if you want to map they have more appropriate features. – Chris H Nov 11 '16 at 15:40
  • @sue I consider this to be a valid question that a lot of gardeners would want to know so they can better manage their garden. So, my vote is to leave it open but then again, I don't know the detailed guidelines of what is acceptable in this forum – JStorage Nov 11 '16 at 22:00
  • Well, anything about plants, growing plants, thinking about how to grow plants and become somewhat successful doing so belongs on this site. My opinion. Captain needs to get away from the computer to get to know his plant family members. Spend more time outside than inside. Our brains are completely able to remember ENTIRE BOOKS word for word. Just being around your plants, looking up the different species and varieties to get to know each plant's needs is more than enough to remember them. Get away from that computer and phones! Get outside and get to know the rest of one's family! – stormy Nov 12 '16 at 20:38
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    I appreciate the sentiment @stormy; although I don't think using a computer to keep track of one's garden necessarily indicates spending too much time indoors. – CaptainProg Nov 15 '16 at 12:51
  • Oh, I agree. I've never found the need to computerize a garden. I am sure it will help you to make the transition from computer to hands on gardening! Sorry if I made computers sound negative. I am a designer who wouldn't or couldn't design a landscape using a computer. I was raised with pens, pencils, cool tools oh, and magic markers!! Eye, brain, thoughts to pencil and paper. Clicking keys doesn't work for me. I also have a bit of a photographic memory of anything I draw, write, measure...and definitely of anything I plant and watch throughout the seasons. – stormy Nov 15 '16 at 20:24
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A friend implemented an excel spreadsheet grid map, where each cell would represent a geographical point of his allotment (easy for square plots), this enabled him to do some things via comparing cells and tables over years to measure his 'area' of plants and to cross compare different versions which represented different times.

I would implement things slightly differently by making a map of 'areas', then a separate table noting which areas had what when and cross linking the two. Obviously both of these approaches require some technical knowledge, but as core concepts I think they'd suit the core question for 'software solution to track planting over time' with added benefits such as graphing etc...

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I have used Vegetable Garden Planner (http://gardenplanner.almanac.com/). It is a good tool that help not just keep track of what you planted each year but also with recommendations with respect to plant spacing, rotation, etc. and best of all it is not very expensive at all.

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    This looks like a really good product, actually. The only reason I've chosen the answer below over this one is that this one isn't free. – CaptainProg Nov 15 '16 at 12:44

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