DATABASE FOR BACKYARD VEGETABLE GROWERS
by CHARLES BARTISH
Digital Gardener plans the layout of your vegetable garden and maintains a record of your plantings from year to year--but you'II still have to plant it yourself. Just enter the size of your parcel of land and choose your vegetables (among 30 given varieties from asparagus to watermelon). Digital Gardener tells you how many plants per vegetable row to plant, and how far apart your rows will need to be. You can SAVE your plan for use next year and print out a report to carry to the backyard. This BASIC program works on 8-bit Atari computers with 32K memory and disk drive.
Every spring a young man's fancy turns to baseball, love and--gardening! But gardening is no hasty pleasure sport. You need to plan before the earth is turned and seed is sown. Do you like radishes? Plant as many as you'd like. Hate spinach? Ieave it out. With Digital Gardener, you simply tell the computer which vegetables you want to plant and the size of your plot of land. Your Atari will determine row spacings and planting distances, tell you which vegetables are most compatible when planted next to each other, and draw a colored map of your garden with all the rows labeled. You can then store your garden layouts on disk to review and modify next year.
With this type-in listing and your 8-bit Atari computer with disk drive, this spring you'll avoid the inevitable frustration that sets in when you remember that you've been through it all before, but you can't find the scrap of paper that recorded the plan for last year's delicious harvest.
YOUR PLANTING PLAN
Type in Listing 1, MYGARDEN.BAS, check it with TYPO II and SAVE a copy before you RUN it. From the main menu, simply follow the prompts.
First, decide whether you are preparing a new garden or recalling an old one for review. The program stores completed gardens with the file extender .GAR and shows you the stored list if you select the RECALL option. (Antic Disk subscribers will find two sample gardens listed under JOES1984.GAR and DADS1984.GAR).
To plan a new garden choose the MAKE option. Give the garden a name and type in the desired number of feet for length and width. The program will recommend a length, but you need to specify the width, or just go ahead with the suggested garden size of 15 x 30 feet.
Lines 4000-4290 store the data for each of the 30 vegetables in the list. This data provides the name, row spacing, plant spacing, number of plants to feed a typical family of four, and height requirement for each vegetable. (This information came from Grow Your Own Vegetables by Robert Fletcher, Reference Circular 559 from Pennsylvania State University Publications, 1974).
The program places the tallest plants closest to the north border. (You may want to adjust the location of your plot according to the sunlight exposure so that lower vegetables, such as lettuce, are not shaded by the corn). Plants are ranked by height-- tall pole beans and corn are assigned height values of 1 and 2, respectively. Low-growing radishes get a height value of 28. You may set up combinations of vegetables if you know you will use space in the same row for different members of the same family. For example, my CB1 (combination one) is a mixed row of Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower.
The program will recommend the number of rows or plants you should grow to satisfy the needs of a typical family of four. You can change these values anytime you run the program, or you can insert new values in the DATA statements to suit your own personal needs.
PLOTTING THE PLOT
Now that you've selected the key garden parameters, store the data to disk. The program will add the suffix .GAR to your garden data file name. Pressing [START] will allow the program to calculate the arrangement, row spacing and plant spacing for the garden.
Onscreen you'll find each vegetable's name and the following information: DISP is the distance between plants in inches. ROWS is the number of rows of that particular vegetable. DISR is the distance between rows in inches. And SUM is the distance, in feet, of the last row of a given vegetable from the north end of the garden.
The first row of the first vegetable is always planted six inches inside the border. Digital Gardener will calculate the length required for the garden. If the recommended length exceeds the specified length by more than 10%, a warning message and options for proceeding will appear. One option, of course, is to accept the recommended new length and break out the rototiller, fertilizer and mulch and get started!
When you and your Atari are satisfied with the plot, press [START] for a colored drawing of the garden. Each group of rows will be identified by the first three initials of the vegetable's name, and the number of rows of each vegetable will appear. Press [START] again to return to the Garden Summary. To get a printout of this summary, press [SELECT].
PLOTTING YOUR OWN
The resolution of Graphics 7, used for showing the garden plot, limits the number of rows on the screen to about 70. However, the program will calculate much larger gardens. The variable ROWGAR is dimensioned for 70 rows and must be increased to accommodate larger gardens. You don't like traditional rectangular garden plots? Create your own complex garden designs with this program by breaking the larger garden graphically into smaller ones.
Charles Bartish, PhD, is a chemical research manager in Allentown, Pennsylvania. He uses Digital Gardener himself to successfully plot vegetable gardens from a 3 x 5 foot postage stamp to a monster 25 x 50 foot family plot that yielded an enormous crop.