Free Gardening Software

Jeanne Grunert
gardening software
Gardeners turn to free gardening software for a variety of reasons. Some gardeners want the convenience and assistance of computer software to help them plan out a vegetable garden, choose suitable companion plantings, and figure out how many of each variety to plant. Still others would like to plot out new sun or shade beds and need the help of software that contains a large database of flower choices to spark their creativity. Whatever your reason, there are many places to find free gardening software online.

Free Garden Planning Software

There are many places to find free software. Some top sites and choices include:

  • Dmoz offers a long directory and list of possible software for download. Not all are free, so you'll have to sort through the list, but it includes software to print out your own garden journals, plan a vegetable garden, and much more.
  • Plan a Vegetable Garden promises "say goodbye to graph paper" with their software kit. You can download a free 45 day trial version, and the site includes tutorials to help you use the trial version. Plan your vegetable garden, include new varieties, and figure out how much space you'll need all with this handy software.
  • Garden Planner offers a free 15 day trial of their software. Printouts are watermarked, so you can indeed use the software for the 15 day trial period and print out plans from it - just know that the software marks them. The reviews give this one high marks and claim that the drag and drop images of plants are very easy to move around on the software to design your garden.
  • Garden Organizer offers a trial version of the software for free. If you want to the full version, you will need to pay for it.

Software Safety Concerns

Is it Safe to Download?

Before rushing to download any promised free software, take a few precautions. If you have antivirus software on your computer, be sure that it's turned on and updated. Set the software to scan any downloads, if possible. If that's not possible, don't save them to your computer without scanning them. Save them to a disk, scan the disk, then install them.

If all this seems too cautious for you, remember that one malicious bit of code, virus or link inadvertently downloaded onto your computer can render your computer inoperable or ruin your existing programs. While most places offering free software downloads scan their downloads for potential viruses, add your own level of protection on top for greater assurance.

Is It Truly Free?

Most sites offering free software offer either a trial version of the software or a limited version. A trial version gives users a 'try before they buy' experience, allowing them to use most, if not all, features to see if they like the software. If they do, there is usually a link included in the software itself to the website where they can pay for the full download. Typically, a code is then emailed or given to the user that unlocks the rest of the software. If you don't buy the full version, you may get constant reminder notices to purchase the software, which can be annoying, or the software may freeze or lock so that you can no longer use it.

Gardening Software Is Just the Start

Gardening is a hands-on hobby, so while software can help you plan, it can't take the place of getting your hands dirty. Use the software program to plan your garden, but also look through gardening magazines and catalogs for inspiration. Talk to your local garden clubs and neighbors too for ideas for new and unusual plants for your garden..

Free Gardening Software