Software tells when to plant each variety of vegetable in every region

Q. I’m a programmer and I also am a gardener. I have a couple ideas for computer programs that are garden related.

However, to write the programs I’m thinking about, I need more
gardening information than I have in my hands. (I already own
GardenMaster and the growing manual and the other books that came with

What I am really needing the most to get started is dates for planting, maturity/harvest, etc., etc. All the information really
needs to be for every region is the program I’m thinking about could
be used for everyone (not just ppl in my region.)

I’d also be interested to know what regions can get 2 spring/summer
plantings (and what plants actually can have 2 sessions) and how to
determine when the first then the second should be planted.

I guess, is there one central source such as a gardening encyclopedia
or gardening bible?

A. I believe you already have the program you’re thinking of writing. It’s called the Garden Master CD, and it’s available here Meanwhile I’ll answer your questions below.

There are two major elements to the decision making process as to when to plant, and if or when a second crop can be planted.

The first factor is the last spring frost date and the first fall frost date in the area you’re considering. The growing season lies mostly within that time period. The Garden Master CD has a database of about 3,000 areas in the USA with their Average First & Last Frost Dates.

The second factor is the plants themselves. There are four “types” of plants with regard to their levels of frost tolerance:

1. Hardy, or frost tolerant – can be planted 3-4 weeks before the average last frost date (ALFD) of the spring.

2. Semi-hardy – can be planted 2 weeks before the ALFD

3. Frost sensitive – can be planted safely ON the ALFD.

4. Frost intolerant – can be planted safely 2 weeks AFTER the ALFD.

We also have a schedule of plants and their level of frost tolerance on the Garden Master CD, and this is used to give the GM CD software the ability to tell people anywhere in the country the exact day to plant their crops, no matter which one they are considering.

Seed packets and seed catalogs also give the days to maturity of each variety. And there can be significant differences in maturity times, even between different varieties of the same species. For example, there are tomatoes that mature in 55 days and some that take 85 days. So you need to have that information for the specific variety as well, in order to determine whether or not two crops are possible.

To determine if a second crop of something is possible, just check the days to maturity and the days to the first expected fall frost. Of course most people plant a second crop of cabbage (as an example) after the corn is finished, or whatever. It’s usually not the same crop back-to-back in the same beds.

Accessing The Different Parts of The Garden Master CD

Q.  My version says Mittleider Pro, and has the 9 manuals, but I haven’t found the 2 books or videos.  Do I have a WalMart version?  Are there older versions of the CD that don’t have what the new one does? The books are definately a valuble addition!

A.  Unlike the version sold nationally in WalMart stores, the Mittleider Pro version of the Garden Master CD does, indeed, have two Mittleider vegetable gardening books, as well as 9 of his manuals. 
Here’s how to access them:  As you open the program you have choices.  On the first screen you Launch the Garden master. 
On the second screen you have 4 choices – Designer, Training, Store, and Help. 
Choose Training, which opens up a new screen with User manual, Garden Curriculum, Mittleider Books, Garden Aids, and Graph Paper.
Choose Garden Curriculum –  click on the + – and see Intro to Grow-Beds and Boxes.  This includes the Garden master lessons and the Overview Video.  This also includes the 9 Mittleider Gardening Manuals.
Clicking on the + to the left of Mittleider Books will open two more lines, including 6 Steps to Successful Gardening and The Mittleider Gardening Course.
Clicking on each of them will let you open each book.  Enjoy!

Vegetable Gardening Software – Comprehensive, Yet A Child Can Run It!

Many of you own the Mittleider Garden Master CD. It’s an excellent resource for any vegetable gardener, and the Garden Designer software, created by Dr. Ron Guymon, is unique and better than anything else I’VE seen.

The short videos of Dr. Mittleider himself creating and working in
the garden are ighly instructive, such as watching him prune tomatoes, and the training lessons by Dr. Guymon are well done.

Without taking anything away from the software and training portions of the Garden Master CD, the two books and 9 manuals, which represent just half the cost of the CD, I believe are worth the price of the CD all by themselves, and that’s what I want to mention briefly today.

The 6 Steps to Successful Gardening book has been used virtually by itself to teach more than 10,000 illiterate African villagers to become self-sustaining b successfully growing their own gardens.  And this was done by one couple – an American Dentist and his devoted wife, who spent two years in Zimbabwe and adjoining countries doing humanitarian work.  Dr. Howard Morgan didn’t even know that much about gardening himself before going over there, but that one little book was all they needed to have 10,000 people feeding themselves!  Kudos to the intrepid Morgans!!

Even more could be said about the Mittleider Gardening Course, which is the product of many years’ experience and the collaberation of several outstanding PhD educators from Brigham Young University working with Dr. Jacob Mittleider himself.  That book is the lab manual for the intensive Agriculture Training Course that’s been taught in countries around the world, and which has created thousands of Master Mittleider Gardeners, and not a few millionaires.

So please don’t be put off when you first try to use the GM CD.  Have the patience to get well acquainted with the treasure you have acquired.

Sometimes folks are frustrated when trying to access the manuals for the first time, because 6 of the 9 are “locked” and require a password to open.

If you ever have this situation, here’s the very simple solution:

In the Training section under Garden Curriculum you have two
choices, one of which is Mittleider Manuals.

Click on the + sign at the left, and the 9 manual titles will be

Click on a manual, and if a small window saying Registration Bonus comes up, just click Close in the lower right corner.

Then click on View. On 6 of the 9 manuals you’ll get another screen asking for a password to unlock the manual.

Type master1, and then click on OK. You can then view the manual.

I believe you only have to do this once, and all manuals will
thereafter be available to you when you use the Garden Master CD on that computer.

When you use the GM CD on another computer you’ll have to repeat the simple process.

PLEASE don’t anyone kill the messenger! This was the “brain child” (or brain-freeze) of Dr. Ron Guymon, the creator of the Garden Designer portion of the CD. He felt it was important to encourage registering the CD’s with his company, and we acquiesced to his desire.

The Garden Master has sold nationally in Wal-Mart stores, without
the books and manuals, for almost $15, so I trust those who have the Mittleider Pro version feel good about the value they receive from this collaberative effort between the Foundation and Dr. Guymon.

I recommend anyone interested in vegetable gardening, especially if you don’t already have a lot of successful experience, to consider adding the Garden Master CD to your library.

And if you have someone in the family who’s young and computer literate (who isn’t nowadays?!) they will be able to use it immediately if they’re able to read!

Printing the Garden Plan – Screen Image

Q.  How can I print the Garden Plan Detail the way it shows on the screen in Step 6 of the Garden Master? When I try and print, it does it in a different format, using several pages, and it isn’t nearly as easy to work with.

A.  In Step 6, after you have filled up your garden using the Place Plants window, open the Expand View button in the lower left of the window. With all your planting information in the spread-sheet format on the screen, instead of using the Print button, do the following:Press the Alt and Print Screen keys simultaneously (this captures the screen image). Next open your Word Processing program (Word, etc.). Left click on Edit, then Paste. The material will be available to print. To make the document larger, place the cursor in the corners and drag.The process will have to be done twice, in order to capture the entire spread-sheet of information, since the right four columns of information do not show in the initial screen-dump.

Re-Doing Last Year’s Garden Plan

Q.  Can I use last year’s garden plan to create a plan for this year, or must I do an entirely new plan? And if I can, how do I do it?

A.  Yes you can. If you are updating your 2003 garden plan, you will have to go through the two-stage freeze date change described above if you want the same old garden but in a new year. You can then customize it as you desire.

Future Year’s Garden Plan – Creating

Q.  How do I create a garden plan for a future calendar year? When I tried to create a garden plan for 2005, I specified Custom Freeze Dates, changed the freeze dates to 2005, and the program came back and told me the fall freeze date had to be later than the spring freeze date, even though I had 2005 on both dates. The only way I could go forward was to put both dates back to 2004. Does the program have a bug? Or was I doing something wrong?

A.  You must first change the first fall freeze date to 2005, exit by clicking OK and then return to change the last spring freeze date to 2005, and then click OK again. It must be done in this order, making two separate changes – sorry for the inconvenience.

Very Large Gardens – Using The Designer

Q.  I have a garden area of 90,000 square feet (over 2 acres) and when I try to fill it up with plants the Garden Master program won’t take all the plants. It says “unable to insert a line,” and if I persist it comes back with “is not a valid integer value.” What can I do to plan a very large garden?

A.  Dr. Ron Guymon and his programmers, who created the Garden Master, have researched this problem and found the following: “The garden size issue is due to memory allocation protocol used in Windows 9x (including 95, 98, and ME). Unfortunately, there is no way to fix this problem without a major overhaul and even that’s not certain — it’s the same problem you get when trying to run any large C++ program under these earlier versions of Windows.  It is for this reason that many companies including Sun are dropping Windows 9x support. Since your custom version of the CD allows multiple gardens, larger gardens may need to be broken up if users are running Windows 95, 98, or ME.”  According to Dr. Guymons instructions above, if you are running on Windows 95, 98, or ME, I recommend you just make something like 4 – ½ acre garden plots out of your two acre garden area. This may well work to your advantage anyway, as you will then have a more manageable sized-126 beds in each of 4 gardens. Success to you.

Registration No Fun – Why Do It?

Q.  I don’t like the registration process, why must I do it, and why is it so difficult?  Also, how do I read the manuals and other things?  And finally, my current garden is only 2 feet by 15 feet.  I can’t seem to get the program to allow me to plant plants.  Can I get my money back?

A.  Thanks for your comments. And please forgive us for our failure to please you in your first exposure to The Garden Master CD. Hopefully your comments will help us learn to do things better.Dr. Ron Guymon, the creator of the Garden Designer, has forwarded your note to me, and I would like to try and help you figure things out, if possible.Dr. Guymon is working on making the registration process easier. Our idea in including the 9 manuals on the CD was to give everyone a very nice “bonus” for registering as a customer, and the 3 that are available for you to access before registering are intended to help you see the value, so that you will want to register and receive the other 6. Perhaps we didn’t explain that adequately.Are you able to read the 3 manuals? If not, you will just need to install the Free Acrobat Reader that is on the CD. That makes it possible to read PDF files, including the books and lessons, as well as the manuals.With regard to your garden of 2′ X 15′, all you have to do is make all your aisle spaces “0”, and you will have a row in which to plant. Certainly the benefits of organizing and planning a garden are greatly minimized with one so small. I hope you or your family or neighbors have the opportunity of growing a bigger garden, so that you can benefit from the unique and valuable features of the Designer.The Designer portion of the CD took a brilliant PhD educator, who has trained many Fortune 500 staff people, 3 years and something like $100,000 to create. And while it isn’t perfect, I really believe it can be a terrific tool to help you and your family and friends avoid the mistakes that so frequently cause failure in the garden.The books and manuals sell in the paper version for about $70, and are the result of Dr. Mittleider’s 57 years’ experience all around the world, and the assistance of other PhD educators in their presentation. By using these materials you can be confident of having a garden that is the envy of your friends and neighbors. I am attaching a brief recap of just a few of the many success stories from around the world, of people whose lives have been changed by using these materials.You may not be aware of the standard practice in the industry regarding software returns. Because of the ability of anyone to copy the entire contents of a CD ROM disk, refunds are not given, however, if a product is defective it can be returned for replacement.  Please give the books, lessons, video snippets, and the Designer another chance, and don’t judge this material too harshly on the basis of your first look – particularly using the benefits to creating a 2′ X15′ garden as a criteria.

Can you help automate the gardening process?

Q. Can you help automate the gardening process?

A. If you would like to create or expand your garden and need help with decisions and automating the planning process, the Garden Wizard, available at on the Software page, is a great tool!  Dr. Ron Guymon has devoted thousands of man hours over two and one half years to producing this multi-faceted tool for those who want help determining what, when, where, and how to plant, water, feed, etc.  It includes growing season helps for over 3,000 locations in the USA, as well as planting and feeding requirements for all common vegetable crops.

Another way to automate your gardening is to build a simple and effective watering system that will allow you to water quickly and efficiently while saving water.  The plans for this system are in Chapter 15 of the Mittleider Gardening Course – available at on the Books page.  They can be seen free in the Store section as well.