The Horta Fácil software was designed as a tool for vegetable gardeners and extension agents in order to effect an efficient planning and management of continuous vegetable production over time. By taking into account the phenological cycle of different vegetable species, the software optimizes the area to be grown with each of them, and indicates the number and dimension of the area modules to be grown for each crop. Calculations can be done for a variable number of vegetable crop species, based on the expected weekly production for each of them. These calculations use crop cultivation models based on the different phenological phases of the crop cycle, on the spacing utilized, and on expected yields, information that is stored in a data bank included in the software. Data bank information can be edited so as to provide realistic data for each crop for specific locations. In addition to calculating the crop modules for each species to be grown, the software also provides a cropping schedule with the common tasks to be performed in each crop, on a week-to-week basis. The software optimizes the crop production schedule, and provides for a more exact estimate of the quantities to be harvested each week, in order to avoid periods with under or overproduction. It also provides an estimate of the total area and total water usage by the vegetable garden to be planned. Horta Fácil may be an important tool for extension technicians and other professionals involved in the planning and management of vegetable production activities, whether in commercial, home, school or community gardening.
Vegetables; staggered crop production; crop production schedule