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


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.



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:


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


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


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.


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:



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).



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

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):



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 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.



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).


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 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.



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.



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.


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.



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”).


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:




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.



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.



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.



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.



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 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.




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.



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


Happy gardening in 2015!

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:


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


Happy gardening!

Greenius – Getting Started

This blog post will guide through the (easy) steps for setting up your Greenius account. Let’s do it!

1.- Sign up/Log in

In our landing page (, register in 5 seconds (or login in even less). You’ll receive a confirmation email in a few seconds.

2.- Enter plot name and size

First things first, we need your plot name and size. So grab a measuring tape (or size it with your steps), and enter your plot dimensions (units are meters or feet, depending on the system chosen).


enius plot name and size


An empty grid we’ll be created such as this in your user home:


Greenius plot grid

Read More

New demo and features in Greenius

New Greenius demo

We have been very busy lately making improvements and building new features for Greenius. We have recorded a new demo (don’t you love the tune?) showcasing the main functions in the app, such as editing the plot, posting a message, etc:


New and improved Greenius features

  • Questions: a very exciting feature, we think. Now, if you add #question to your post, this will pop up in everyone’s timeline, so anyone can help you out. See image below.
  • Resize plot: if you made a mistake when you created a plot, or you changed the size of your garden, now you can resize your Greenius plot in one simple step. Note: your garden plants will re-arrange as a result of the resizing, so you will have to fill the grid with the vegetable icons again.
  • Love post: we have added a new heart shaped icon to the posts so you can mark your favourite posts.
  • Tooltip: when you hover over a plot or the icons in a user profile widget, the name of the plant will be displayed.
  • Weather widget: now you can see what’s the weather like in other gardeners’ location. We have also added a reminder in your user home if you haven’t set you location yet.
  • Security: last but not least, we have upgraded the security of Greenius to HTTPS for extra protection.

Greenius questions

Coming soon…

These are some of the new features that will be available in Greenius very soon:

  • Image upload: you will be able to add images to your posts.
  • Notifications: users will be notified by email when they have a new follower, comment, etc.
  • Social log in: so you don’t need yet another password to join us.
  • … the list is open! Tell us what you’d like to see in Greenius, all feedback and suggestions are welcome. As always, contact us here.