I learned a valuable lesson, today. When you sign up to do a review, make sure that you are compatible with the company. Meaning, in my case, make sure you can't do for free what they are charging forty dollars for. Forty dollars.
I didn't do that. And so I signed up through Tomoson to review an online gardening planner from groOrganic.com. It seemed to be a perfect fit on first glance, gardening, check, organic, check, planning, check. Yep. That's me! Perfect fit, right?
Wrong. They charge forty dollars for one year.
Forty Dollars. For one year, and I spent a bit of time wondering WHY anyone would pay forty dollars for this?
Because not everyone is me, that's why.
I'm the type of person who will put an extra couple of hours of labor into something to save a couple of dollars. I would spend several hours researching all my garden stuff, get it all in a row, draw out a quick diagram, commit it to memory, and plant.
This approach has yielded me several tons of tomatoes and more zuccini than you can possibly imagine. I've had a smattering of peppers and corn, and more arugula than you've ever seen in a grocery store. Recalling my days as a restaurant manager, I love to mentally weigh out each bit and then divide the cost of my garden to tell me how much I'm paying per pound, which I then go ahead and translate into savings. It's my own special little savings game.
And then I pat myself on the back and tell everyone how wonderful I am. Clearly, I have modesty issues.
I've also had some gardening disasters worth a what not to do video on youtube. I've cried over aborting my baby corn plants- did you know 'thinning' means 'brutally yanking a perfectly healthy plant out of the ground and allowing it to die'? And then there are the carrots- in an effort NOT to murder all those sweet baby plants I didn't thin them out enough and they fused themselves into a mighty mutant power carrot the size of my head that ironically wound up in the trash can.
I obviously DO need the help, after all.
So let's talk about this website.
It's a truly fabulous design. The experience begins with a video tutorial on how to use the planner. It's laid out simply, the kids could easily help design the garden with it. There's a WEALTH of information at your fingertips- sun, soil types, when to plant, when to harvest, it's all right there-and part of your service is this great email reminder system. It reminds you WHEN to plant, shows you how many plants would be in a square foot range.
It works out crop rotation for next year, as well. This is a big deal, because certain plants really suck the nutrients out of the ground. So if you plant your corn every year in the same spot, eventually your harvest won't be what it once was, because your dirt has no more nutrients. This type of information would be invaluable to the novice gardener.
This is good stuff, people. Doing a garden right can mean the difference between a handful of peppers, and freezing bushels to last you all year.
So is it worth the forty dollars? Let's take a look!
This is a clip out of where I see my garden going, it's a small section, but you can really see a lot of what's going on. Along the top of the picture, there's a button for each letter. You click on that, and it brings up all the pictures of veggies and their little info button. You can click on those, and then drag them into your yard. You see that tree? That's the middle of my back yard. As of right now, it's shading some arugula from the harsh summer sun I can only dream about. (There's snow clinging to the ground right now.)
So is it worth forty dollars?
No. And yes.
Let me explain. No, let me sum up. (tee hee)
There are a couple of packages available. One, is a simple membership, which allows you full access to the garden planner. It's 39.99, and will send you emails and help you keep things organized, and is really quite something. If you are going to spring for a gardening book at some point, this is really a much better option.
I, on the other hand, have little to do besides bake bread, wait to plant things, and watch my babies grow. This isn't a great option for me.
And this is where I go totally non-me and say, Get the more expensive package. The next one up is a little more comprehensive. You get 12 packs of non-GMO seeds, the access to the planner, and a real, live gardening specialist will look at your plan. I didn't get to review the larger package, but to me, if you are going to spring for help with gardening, you might as well get all the bang for your buck. And non-GMO seeds are super expensive, I've seen them crest five bucks a pack. You also get a gardening manual, and other gifts and discounts throughout the year.
I like this better. I like the idea of kicking my ideas around with a real, live, person, and getting real, live feedback. 12 packs of seeds is more than I purchase in a year, so this covers a portion of the start up cost of the garden as well. I find a lot more value in the more expensive package, in the same way I'd sooner purchase the club pack of chicken breast at a smaller per pound price, I feel the larger package would be a better fit for me.
Where to buy:
You can check out the garden planner here The layout of the White House Garden! I was kind of enthralled with that.
There are whole really beautiful raised garden packages here. You've probably seen these on the Kardashians, and I know Tori Spelling is using them as well.
For the classroom
I'd like to thank groOrganic for letting me review their product. I enjoyed doing it.
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. Tomoson Product review & giveaway Disclosure.