Your privacy matters

How many accounts you have out there on the Internet? Probably the very first things that come to your mind is Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. I bet that you also have many accounts being forgotten long time ago, legacy of forums era. That’s heck of information about you, and if you’re reading this, probably you’re kind of person that’s concerned about it.

Of course there are privacy settings in almost every account editor. But they are usually of type “all or nothing” or quite complicated to realize what’s going on with them without proper knowledge about portal. In Greenius we realized that it could be simplified.

Many components of your account depend on others. E.g. Information about sports you like is part of your interests in general. So what point is it to set privacy for sports if you blocked access to your interests?

In Greenius we give users the opportunity to adjust privacy settings to everything related to their account. Just on user’s home only there are many settings that one could possibly want to adjust:

          1 – Cover photo
          2 – Profile picture
          3 – Location
          4 – Bio
          5 – Plot
          6 – Section containing products one grows
          7 – Section containing users one follows
          8 – Section containing users that follow one
          9 – Section containing shop products and posts that one likes
          10 – Posts written by one

image05

Of course to allow user to adjust those settings we could simply create a list of questions like:

        - Who can see your bio?
        - Who can see your plot?
        – Who can see your ‘growing’ section?

And so on… But we find it highly inelegant and wanted to create visually appealing and clear solution for that. We came up with an idea to leverage those dependencies I mentioned before and display those settings in a tree diagram.

Every node of the tree, being single privacy setting, can be set to four level of tolerance:

 

global-tile global; everyone will be able to see this

id-tile logged in users only

followees-tile only users being followed by owner

private-tile private; only owner will see this

Also, we said that some settings have no point under some circumstances. In my opinion, tree layout gives better understanding of this, as then it’s quite simple – children node cannot be of bigger tolerance than it’s parent.

privacy-settings

 

This also allows us to conveniently set preferences for user. If one decides to change privacy of his map marker position to global, then according to image above, location setting needs to be global as well. But he is not obliged to do it manually. We do it recursively for every parent as long, as any change is needed.

To implement that we decided to tackle D3. We already had some experience with it by doing data visualization for our recommender system. Main factor for this decision was ease of creating tree layout, and D3 allows that with almost no effort. Besides, it’s always great to learn new tools!

New design and features in Greenius

The last few months we have been busy preparing Greenius for the new gardening season. Here is a few things we have been working on:

Shop

In our new Greenius Shop we have curated the best gardening products from selected retailers to give you an easy way to shop for everything you need in your garden.

Greenius Shop

 

We have designed a sleek and simple shop for the best user experience, selecting the best products from independent retailers:

greenius shop product

Topics

Gardeners care much more than about their harvests. Now you can follow topics that interest you (like cooking, climate change or yes, gardening) and get the best articles on the subjects on your own timeline.

greenius topics

Re-design

New features aside, we have re-designed Greenius with a clean esthetic for the best user experience and usability.

Landing Page

An entirely new landing page, where you can see gardener and product widgets from the web app, as well as a live world map of our growers. Also there is direct access to the Shop and the Explore section, without needing to log in.

Greenius-landing-page

User home

The new user home feels cleaner, as we have included a choice to show or hide the plot, and decreased the number of post categories.

greenius user home

Plot editing

We’ve made editing the plot (a graphical representation of your garden) easier and with more options:

greenius-plot-edition

Explore/Search

And finally, we re-designed the search feature to make it more intuitive and added the above mentioned Topics to the searchable (and follow-able) entities (along with Posts, Growers and Plants).

greenius-search-plants

 

What do you reckon? We’d love to hear your feedback, so drop us a line at info@greeni.us to share your thoughts if you’d like, cheers!

What to Grow in April

With snow and frosts behind us, is finally time for some gardening!

 

It’s time to start sowing indoors, but there are many choices that can be sown directly outdoors too, in a well prepared soil.

 

These are our 10 picks to grow in April, enjoy!

Sow indoors:

Now is the time to start sowing summer plants that will later be transplanted outdoors.

Aubergine/Eggplant

Aubergine Eggplant
Aubergine (or eggplant) seeds should be planted in pots and left for about 10 weeks . Then they should be transplanted at 25-30 cm depth. It’s a plant that needs a lot of sun ( between 10-12 hours per day) and never be exposed to frost (minimum temperature 10-12ºC)

Courgette/Zucchini

zucchini courgette
To grow courgettes you will need plenty of light and warm weather, although it is not too demanding regarding to soil, adapting easily to any kind.  Sow seeds in pots in couples and transplant the strongest one. Go for successional sowing if you don’t want a zucchini glut.

Pumpkins

pumpkin

Seeds can be sown in 2 ways. The first is planting directly in the garden in early spring and put a plastic or plastic bottle covering the ground so that it is protected from frost. The second way is to sow seedlings indoors or plant them in pots, keeping them  indoors until the frosts are behind.

Cucumber

cucumber
Cucumbers can be sowed in pots and transplanted for early crops. Sow two or three seeds three or four weeks before the last in pots with humus. Remove the smallest or weakest plant to keep just one plant per pot. Transplant outdoors at a distance of 1.2m x 0.5m (cucumber plants are big!), when plants have two to four true leaves.

Tomato

tomato

Sow indoors and transplant the small plants to the garden or large pot one week after the last frost. The tomato plant needs a lot of sun, so it’s not worth even trying to plant tomatoes in your garden or terrace if they do not receive at least 6 hours of daily sunshine.

Sow/plant outdoors:

There are plenty of vegetables that you can start sowing directly indoors, here is a small selection:

Beetroot

beetroot

At planting time (While it tolerates light frosts, optimum growth temperature is between 15 and 18ºC), sow directly into the soil in 2cm deep rows. It’s recommended to soak the seeds in water a couple of days earlier to promote germination. When plants first begin to grow leaves it’s time to thin them to get more space for plants that are growing smoothly.

Swiss chard

chard

Chard seeds are also put to soak in water for one or two days before planting. Then the seeds are planted 2.5 cm deep in the soil directly. If we want to plant in rows in an garden, seeds are planted at 8 cm distance between one and the other. Given that the swiss chard need al lot of space for roots, the rows are separated by 45 cm. If we are going to plant in a pot, put one plant per pot.

Cauliflower

cauliflower

Typically, cauliflower is a winter plant, but there a summer varieties we can plant now. If the flower starts to turn pink or purple it’s advisable to cover it with leaves as direct sun makes it mature very quickly. They should be harvested when they are firm and hard, and they can stay well for about a week hung upside down in a cold place.

Kohlrabi

kohlrabi
Kohlrabi plants don’t grow much, reaching as much as 30cm in height, and its very fast growing, developing in a couple of months from the time of planting to harvest. It should be harvested when the tubers are underdeveloped, as they can quickly harden and lose quality.

Spinach

spinach

The best time to plant different varieties of spinach is in early spring, as the plant needs little heat to grow. To sow spinach seeds, you have to make a small hole in the ground about 2 cm deep. You can grow spinach in rows with up to 12-15 seeds per meter and 30 cm row spacing.

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We are finally getting some sunny and warm(ish) weather and start sowing some seeds in pots. We have sowed #courgette and  #aubergine  seeds, as well as some #flowers. Yo can see what’s in our plot here (click “Show Plot”).

 

How is you spring gardening?

 

What to grow in March

With spring around the corner, gardeners all over the world (or at least in the north hemisphere) are getting excited for some renewed activity in the garden, after the cold, cold winter.

 

Some general tips for this month: Apply a good amount of compost to prepare for spring transplants; increase watering frequency to compensate for higher temperatures, and place a layer of leaves, straw or humus to keep the soil temperature and moisture.

 

There is a wide variety of vegetables, herbs and fruits you can grow in March, even directly in the garden if there are not going to be more frosts in your area:

Borage

borage
Borage adapts well to all types of soils, but grows best in sandy ones. It also adapts well to all types of climates and even to part shade.  It is sowed in rows about 30 cm apart, and once planted the seeds need to be covered with soil as they need darkness to complete the germination process.

Coriander

coriander
You can grow this herb for its leaves or dried seeds. Choose a site that receives full sun. It is necessary that the soil is well drained and  with a good amount of fertilizer, like most herbs. Sow seeds 1/2 inch deep, after all danger of frost has passed. Remove the leaves at 4 inches and cover with mulch to conserve moisture and prevent weeds when plants emerge. Check young plants to ensure they do not dry.

Dill

dill

Dill doesn’t tolerate dry soils. It doesn’t get well with a dry environment so soil with regular moisture helps the plant to withstand dry conditions. Sowing is very superficial, not more than 1 cm deep and we will have the germinated seed in just two weeks. Dill is very fast growing.

Kale

kale
This trendy plant is tolerant to both heat and cold, in fact frost makes kale sweeter. You can sow kale seeds directly outdoors as soon as the soil temperature reaches about 8ºC. Cover the seeds with ½ inch of soil, separating the plants from 45 and 60cm. Water the plants as needed, and keep the soil moist but do not water them too much.

Turnip

tumip

Once one of the most consumed vegetables in Europe (before potato), when sowing turnip plants should be spaced 8-10 cm apart, seeds going about 13 mm. deep. It is important to water in abundance and keep the roots from becoming too large and fibrous. Regarding the soil, it should be light and fertile, best if you also have organic matter or compost.

Corn Salad

com salad

Before you sow corn salad, you’d better soak the seeds in water for a couple of days so as to favor germination. The process is very simple because you can form rows and then spread the seeds. Keep a distance of 10 cm between rows. This crop can be exposed to light or be in part shade.

Leek

leek

It is very easy to grow leeks and there are early , mid-season and late varieties; periods overlap with each other. You may obtain leeks with different varieties eight months a year.

Strawberries

strawberries
Strawberries can be grown both in pots or directly on the ground, if you have enough space in your garden or yard. It should be noted that the strawberry is a plant roots very easily and does not pose too many problems when planting. Also, this plant resists cold and heat very well, and is even able to survive frosts, so you should not worry if you live in a cold area. The best time to plant strawberries is in late winter and spring.

Carrots

carrot
Carrots prefer a rich soil albeit light, which is why clay soil is the least liked because of its heaviness and carrot seeds find it very difficult to form the root well. You can sow carrots in late winter and late summer depending on your climate. It is best to soak the seeds , I do an hour or two hours for a couple of hours.

Onion

onion

You can plant bulbs instead of seeds, and the best time to do it is in spring. Holes are made every 15 cm along a line, inserting a bulb into each hole and then tightening the soil around it to make it very firm.

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Is winter behind you already? We had some warm weather in the past few days, but we have a wet and cold week ahead of us, so we are still in winter mode, waiting for better days to start with the spring garden. We harvested all the cabbages, and next task will be putting some stakes for the green peas, so not too busy yet. See what’s in our plot here (click “Show Plot”).

 

What about your garden? Anything interesting happening?

 

What to Grow in February

Baby it’s cold outside! If you can’t wait for spring to grow vegetables in your garden (why should you?), you can sow and plant these plants (under cloches if you live in a cool area) during this month.

 

Here is the Greenius list of veggies to grow in February (see here posts  from January and December):

 

Broccoli

Broccoli
This plant can withstand winter. Plants are set 45cm apart and rows are separated by 75 cm. Like all members of the cabbage family, broccoli needs to be constantly moist, this means we should water every time the soil is about to get dry.

 

Spinach

Spinach
Spinach prefers rich, moist soils, but can grow in any soil as long as it has sufficient organic matter. It is sown in February and March, directly. It is best associated with carrot, cabbage, beets and cauliflower, and harvested between 45 and 60 days.

Endives

Endives

Juicy, crispy and fresh at the same time, endives grow at a temperature starting from 8ºC, developing best when the temperature is between 16-20ºC. Regularity is important at the time of sowing, both seed spacing (20-30cm) and depth (4-15cm).

Chives

Chives
This herb comes from fresh and cold climates so has a certain resistance to frost. The best soil for the growing chives should be slightly chalky but moist, well drained and very rich in nutrients. Dry leaves are not used because they lose their aroma; However, you can freeze them. Space plants 5 cm apart and harvest in 7-11 weeks.

Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi seeds should be sown in rows separated from each other by 30cm at a depth of 5cm. Next cover with compost and water. Thinning will take place 5 or 6 weeks later, leaving only one plant every 20cm. Maintenance consists basically on mulching to maintain a certain level of coolness. A first harvest may take place between 8 and 10 weeks later, when the swollen part of the stem is the size of a tennis ball. This last point is important because if it keeps growing it will no longer be edible.

Carrots

Carrot

You can start sowing early varieties of carrots now. They will take about 3 weeks to show themselves and the first leaves look like grass. Maintain moisture with light regular watering. Harvest in 3-4 months.

Cabbage

Cabbage

Sow now in seed trays and transplant them in the garden in 4-6 weeks. There are many varieties of cabbage, so if you love them you can have cabbage growing all year round.

Lettuce

lettuce
There are many varieties of lettuces, so to start growing some now you must choose a variety that suits the climatic conditions of your area. Lettuce should not be planted all at once, but successionally. This will allow us to harvest for longer periods and avoiding lettuce to became too bitter.

Raspberries and blackberries

blackberries raspberries
You can now plant these fruit bushes if the soil is not frozen or waterlogged, and enjoy them in summer.

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How is winter treating your garden? We had snow for a few days last so i am not sure how our crops will fare. Garlic seems doing fine, at least. And now it’s raining non stop, I think I will have to stay out of the garden for a few days still. You can see what’s growing in our plot right now here (click “Show Plot”).

 

Greenius ClojureScript integration and roadmap

There are three basic ingredients to take care of our brains: exercise (walking is enough), social contact (we are humans by the relationship with others) and intellectual exercise, to do something challenging, different. Certainly the adoption of the Clojure stack forces us to stay sharp – simplicity demands to think.

ClojureScript integration in plot editing tool

As you already know, our back-end code is entirely built with Clojure and Datomic and now, thanks to Jonas Enlund, we have our first ClojureScript + OM component. Since last week Greenius users have an improved Plot edition tool, with new features like undo/redo, zoom and -coming very soon- multi-plot option.

Jonas has used the Flux pattern to build the architecture and these libraries:

:client {:dependencies [[org.clojure/clojurescript "0.0-2498"]
[org.clojure/core.async "0.1.346.0-17112a-alpha"]
[org.clojure/tools.reader "0.8.13"]
[org.om/om "0.8.0"]
[prismatic/om-tools "0.3.10"]
[cljs-ajax "0.3.3"]]

GreeniusPlotGrid

 

The new plot has been smoothly embbeded in our Enyo based UI via iframe in an Enyo component.

 

The result is a powerful grid edition tool for our users, and for us, the foundation for the next Clojurescript based component in our Roadmap: an integration with plant sensor Koubachi where we will display real-time visualization of data in charts/graphs.

 

newplot

Greenius Roadmap

We are currently working on designing and developing some very exciting new features for Greenius:

Plot edition

Just released in the beginning of February, it’s a huge improvement on the plot editing functionality. This new development opens the door for the multi-plot feature in the future.

Shop

We will add a curated shop to the platform, with selected products from independent retailers. We hope to publish it by the end of February 2015.

Koubachi

Our first sensor integration! We will make it possible to connect your Koubachi plant sensor to our platform offering real-time and historic data visualization as well as customized plant-care suggestions.

Follow topics and interests

This feature will enable users to follow gardening and green lifestyle topics of their interests, complementing the capability of following other gardeners and specific plants.

 

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Lots of exciting work ahead to build a useful and meaningful platform that will contribute to create a greener future and in the way, help us keep a healthy and sharpened brain with the Clojure stack!

 

What to Grow in January

If one of your new year’s resolution is to grow your own, you don’t need to wait until spring to start a garden!  You can start slowly sowing and planting a few vegetables before the warm weather activity frenzy. There are still not many vegetables that can endure these cold and short days, but it can be a great way to get a handle on things.

 

Here is the Greenius list of veggies to grow in January to start the year in the best green way:

 

Carrots

Carrot

You can start sowing early varieties of carrots now.  They will take about 3 weeks to show themselves and the first leaves look like grass. Maintain moisture with light regular watering. Harvest in 3-4 months.

Cabbage

Cabbage

Sow now in seed trays and transplant them in the garden in 4-6 weeks.  There are many varieties of cabbage, so if you love them you can have cabbage growing all year round.

Radishes

Radish

Some of the easiest vegetables to grow, radishes can be sowed anytime of the year.  It’s also a great choice for a child’s first garden, as seedlings show up in a couple of days.

Shallots

shallot

Easy to grow and very productive, it’s a good idea to save a little space in our garden for shallots. After harvest you should save the thickest and healthiest bulbs in order to save seed for the next crop.

Beetroot

beetroot

You can sow seeds directly into the ground at 2 cm depth. It’s best to to soak the seeds in water a couple of days earlier to promote germination. When the first leaves emerge, it’s time to thin the plants to give more space for the remaining plants to grow smoothly. Protect them from harsh frosts.

Peas

peas

Peas tolerate low winter temperatures, even standing frost, and it’s a crop that adapts to the needs of each area. A ground without excess moisture will do you wonders to this crop so it’s best watering when the weather is dry, especially if the plant already has flowers and pods.

Indoors

Tomatoes

tomato

If you are lucky enough to have some space indoors for seeds (or better still, a greenhouse), you can start your summer tomatoes from seed, and transplant them later to your garden.

 

Sweet peppers

sweet pepper

Same as tomatoes, this solanaceae plant can be started from seed now in a warm space. Then they must be exposed gradually to outdoor conditions, starting from a sheltered porch, a shady spot or a mini greenhouse, in a process known as “hardening”.

 

 

What are you growing in your garden or greenhouse at the moment? Last month, we planted some garlic, peas and onions, and we are thinking of adding some carrots soon maybe (last year’s harvest wasn’t that great). To see what’s in our plot right now, click here!

Happy New Year gardening!!

New year’s resolution: 10 reasons to grow your own

With a new year come… new year’s resolutions! If your wishes for the new year include to improve your health and wellbeing (and your family’s), make a environmentally sound gesture and save some money… look no further! You just need to start growing your own food, start a small garden of your own.

 

Here are 10 reasons to start gardening:

1 Fresh and tasty food at your doorstep

There is no better feeling than to step out to your garden (or balcony) and pick up a couple of things to make a meal. It really does taste better!

2 Out and about: your garden is your outdoor gym

Gardening keeps you fit. Planting, weeding, mulching, harvesting and other tasks will keep you active all year round.

3 Zero miles food, 100% local

Emissions over the entire food cycle, including production, consumption, and transport add up to an important chunk of the greenhouse effect and therefore climate change. A simple step like producing some of the food you eat is a step in the right direction.

4  Budget friendly, best ROI around

Gardening can help you save money. At the same time as you are eating fresh, organic, and seasonal produce, you are reducing the cost of your grocery bill. This blogger made the numbers. Make sure you start small to keep your costs down.

5  Community pantry: share your surplus produce

Ever heard or the zucchini glut? Well, it happens to most gardeners in the middle of summer, when they harvest more zucchini than they know what to do with. (It happened to me too). This is when you share your gardening surplus with the family, friends and community, creating and maintaining those important ties. You can also donate to your local food bank and similar initiatives.

6  Free therapy: chill out with your chillies

This is not just happy talk. Gardening can help cure depression, according to recent research. Getting your hands dirty in the garden can increase your serotonin levels – thanks to contact with soil and a specific soil bacteria, Mycobacterium vaccae.

7  Fair recompense: enjoy the fruit of your labour

Quite simply, enjoying your fresh vegetables after a good gardening session is priceless. And if you have kids, it can show them an invaluable lesson about effort, patience and reward.

8  Landscaping: create a scenery in your backyard

We are in the “No Mow” team on this one. A live and luscious garden beats a manicured lawn any time. Plus is so much better for the bugs and bees!

9  Break new ground: cultivate your garden & your mind

Trying new things, getting out of your comfort zone, it’s never easy. But learning new things can have innumerable benefits, as this New Yorker article suggests.

10  Get down to earth, sync with nature

There was a time when I use to say: “Uff, it’s so hot today!”. Nowadays it goes like:  “Uff, it’s so hot today! Will the spinach be ok?”. Gardening makes you more aware of the environment, the weather, the bugs, etc. It also makes you appreciate even more the hard work of small farmers who respect nature and bring you their best produce to your local market.

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Any thoughts? What are your new year’s resolutions this year? What are your gardening plans and goals?

 

Happy gardening in 2015!

What to Grow in December

December is probably the less appealing month in the garden, the short day and cold weather reduce the activity to a minimum and we also devote less time to the garden, since neither the climate nor the social events leave us much time on these dates.

 

But the garden is not paralyzed at all, we will always have things to do, either tending the few plants that remain, mainly by weeding, either by picking up the last harvest, or preparing the soil for the next season.

 

Anyway, there are still a few things you can grow in your garden in December. Here is the list, and I hope some  gardening will keep you warm!

 

Garlic

Garlic

It is very easy to grow, the care is simple and you can even have them in pots. Great choice If you do not have much space.

Onions

Onion

You can plant a batch now to harvest in spring, in a well drained spot of your garden.

Radishes

Radish

Radishes can be sowed anytime of the year. Remember to do successional sowing to avoid gluts of radishes you don’t know what to do with!

Broad Beans

Broad Beans

The broad bean can endure harsh and cold climates, so it’s an ideal plant for winter.

Peas

peas

Early peas are planted between the months of October and February for a spring harvest.

Herbs (indoors)

Outdoor gardening is limited during the winter months, so it can be a great option to sow some herbs in pots in a guarded area.

Basil

Basil

Basil is a very common aromatic herb to plant at home and can be used to make some delicious pesto sauce. It is easy to plant , you only need to put it where it direct sunlight and go by watering frequently. Keep in mind that this is an annual plant that is to be planted anew each year.

Chives

Chives

Chives, with their soft and spicy flavor, add a nice touch to salads and many other recipes. Chives grow fast and will soon fill the pot. When that happens, transplant it to a bigger pot.

 

Oregano

Oregano

One of the most commonly used spice in cooking is oregano, a plant of Mediterranean origin. Oregano is a very hardy plant, so you’ll have no issues growing it strong and healthy .

Parsley

Parsley

With a pot, some soil and some seeds, watering frequently and a good dose of sunshine, we can grow parsley quickly and easily any time of the year.

Thyme

Thyme

Planting is done in late winter, to provide full grown plants during spring and summer. With a packet of seeds you will have plenty for the whole year .

What’s in your garden at the moment? In our plot, we are harvesting broccoli and spinach as needed in the kitchen, and we hope to start picking some leeks soon. When (if?) it stops raining we might sow some garlic and plant some onions too.

 

Happy winter gardening!!

New on Greenius: plant cards, notifications and public accounts

Fall begins today, a season when gardening activities start to mellow a bit, in preparation for next spring. But not for us! In Greenius we are working hard to improve our web app and make it useful (and fun!) for all gardeners around.

 

Here are our latest changes and new features:

Plant Cards

This will make a very useful addition to your information and organization of the garden, we think. This is a page or card dedicated to each of the plant growing in your plot. The data you can add to the plant card is: variety, number of plants, and “More info“, where you can add anything you’d like. On the bottom, all the posts about this plant will show in chronological order.

 

Greenius Plant Card

 

There are two ways you can access a plant card:

1. From the plant widget in the “Growing” section in the grower home, clicking on the “Card” button or the plant name:

 

Plant Widget

 

2. From a grower’s widget (which you can find in the Following/Followers section, for example), clicking on the plant icons:

 

Greenius Grower Widget

 

To access Irati’s broccoli card, go to: https://greeni.us/Irati/growing/Broccoli

Notifications

We have added a new element to the top toolbar so you can see all that’s going on in your Greenius account: new followers, a comment on your post, somebody liking your post, etc.

 

Greenius Notifications

 

We are working on the email format of the notifications. Coming soon!

Public Accounts

Last but not least, we are making a significant change affecting all Greenius accounts. As of September 2014, all Greenius accounts will be public by default, meaning that they can be viewed by non-registered users. If you wish your account to remain private, you must login to Greenius and tick the box in “Make this account private”. You can also easily delete your account if you wish so in the same Setting page, accessible from the menu on the top right corner.

 

As part of this change, we have also updated our Terms and Privacy policy, please read it carefully here.

 

As always, Greenius is a work in progress, so we appreciate all your feedback, opinions and requests. Don’t be shy and drop us a line to info@greeni.us.

 

Happy gardening!