Way back in 2003 I wrote a newspaper article about using a Palm PDA (personal digital assistant). In the years since, Palm has gone out of business and many of us use smartphones daily.
I use mine all the time: to look up plant names, to check what I’ve written about a topic, and to find directions to a garden I’m visiting.
There are several smartphone apps that can be very helpful for gardeners.
Rather than try to research each one, I found this article in the New York Times that seems to cover several good ones.
Mike D. adds “Dirr’s Tree and Shrub Finder is the best App I have found for my iPhone. It doesn’t help you plan or design your garden, but it does help you to identify and properly place and cultivate your plants. Yes, it’s 15 bucks, but the book is $75, and the book does not fit into your pocket!”
Botany Buddy’s price tag might deter you from purchasing it. However, when you consider all that the Botany Buddy app offers, one might want to reconsider. The app allows you to search more than 2,000 plant species by common or botanical name. Whether you’re looking for a particular tree, shrub, cactus, succulent or tropical plant, chances are you will find it in this app’s database. There over 9,500 original and scientifically verified color photos for you to browse (none of the content is taken from Wikipedia or Flickr). Once you have installed the library, you won’t need an internet connection to load it up, meaning that you can use it while you’re out and about. Should you want to share your botanical finds with other buddies, you can do so directly from the app. Updates are free, too.
Pocket Garden is geared towards those interested in vegetable gardening. Whether you prefer artichokes or zucchinis, you can find information on planting their seeds in Pocket Garden. In addition to suggestions on planting depth, spacing and watering, you’ll be assisted with color photos throughout the gardening process. This app tracks your own organic garden. The app will help you estimate when the veggies are due to germinate and when you can finally harvest them.
- Gardening Toolkit (Available on iTunes for $1.99)
Gardening Toolkit takes into account your location, the season and frost likelihood and will put together a list of suggested plants for you to grow. In fact, if you live in the U.S., all you have to do is type your zip code and the app will display your “hardiness zone” which is a rundown of year-round climate conditions in your area. Once you start planting, use the “My Garden” feature to track when each plant is going to bloom and when you can harvest it. The app even comes with a To-Do List feature so you don’t forget when to add fertilizer and lets you add your photos. Last but not least, if you’re ever in doubt, you can browse the encyclopedia, which contains information and photos of over 1,000 species.
Gardenate provides information on over 90 edible garden plants. If you open up the “Planting Now” feature, you’ll receive local planting information for the U.S., Australia, New Zealand and the U.K. The calendar feature, in turn, will tell you what to plant and how, month-by-month. The Gardenate app itself works without an internet connection, but if you want more tips, head to gardenate.com to interact with a community of plant lovers online.
The creators of this app describe it as being “great for medical marijuana patients,” but really, anyone growing any kind of plant at home can take advantage of the Grow Journal, which lets you easily track the growth of your plants. The app itself comes with a list of over 150 plants, but you can also add your own including photos. Emailing the status of a plant to your friends and family will require an internet connection.
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