Monday, June 3, 2013

These apps can help your garden grow


Bugs In The Garden is one of
many apps for gardeners.
The iTunes store for Apple gadgets and the Google Play store for Androids are chock full of free or inexpensive apps that can help both novice and expert gardeners.

For example, Garden Tracker will help you map your garden and choose the best crops for the space you have available. It starts with a grid that represents your plot. Tap on a square to choose a flower or vegetable from a scrolling list with a picture and description for each entry. The mapping process helps you avoid placement mistakes, like putting lettuce rows under the shade of corn stalks.

The Beginner’s Gardening Guide is designed to get novice gardeners up and growing. It’s a collection of articles and images that starts with the basics, like good soil management, and proceeds through designs for vegetable and flower gardens and then on to plant and pest management. The app's design doesn't have a lot of sizzle, but the information it delivers is direct, useful and easy to comprehend.

And Garden Bugs lets you identify who is chomping on your cabbage. The app has photos of hundreds of common garden pests and recommendations on how to make them disappear. In addition to insect invasions, the program also helps you diagnose plant diseases and offers treatment options.

The Landscaper’s Companion is an encyclopedia of plants with entries for more than 26,000 vegetables, shrubs, trees and flowers. Each entry has a profile of the plant with information that includes its growing zone, growth rate, water and sun requirements, and its height and width at maturity. A couple of features can be especially useful for managing your own plantings. First, tag an entry as a favorite to identify plants that you already have or are considering, then use the note option to record comments or additional information. The app also lets you add photos of your own successes or failures.

Garden Pro also has a large database flowers, herbs and vegetables with details on their preferred soil, water and light conditions. It lets you add photos, keep a journal and set a program that will give you pop-up reminders when your plants are thirsty or need fertilizer.


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Follow me on Twitter @ricmanning and read my technology columns at My Well Being.


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