7 Great mobile apps to help you in the garden
Your garden shed no doubt contains the essentials; gloves, lopper, hand trowel, soil knife, a watering wand, and probably a couple of your favourite gadgets. One other essential you should add to your tool kit is your smartphone, or tablet.
Here is a starter collection of apps that are essential for the serious or beginning gardener:
Organic Gardening Magazine
One of the main reasons that many people enjoy gardening is the “back to nature” angle. Many gardeners have decided that loading the soil with chemicals and spraying their plants with pesticides that are dangerous to their pets and children and even contribute to such problems as colony collapse and contaminated ground water is not exactly the same as working with nature. The app provides a digital version of the paper magazine, which provides a handy guide to such topics as identifying good bugs, and how to guides for growing everything from vegetables to roses.
The Organic Gardening Planting Planner
This app is the perfect companion to the one above, especially for newbies. The app uses your device’s GPS system to determine your exact location and provides information on which plants do best in your location, when to plant, when to harvest, and how to treat the soil. The app also sends weather alerts and advice on how to deal with them.
RHS Grow Your Own
The free app is one of House Beautiful’s top rated apps. Few things are as rewarding as growing your own fruits and vegetables. You get the therapeutic advantages of working in the garden and the added treat of fresh, good tasting, and healthy food for your table. Once you input the items you want to grow, the app creates a custom to-do list and guides you throw every step of the process from preparing the soil to harvesting your crop. If you want, you can even have the app send you weather alerts!
There are two highly rated apps for those who are looking grow their own fruits and vegetables, Fruit Garden and Vegetable Tree. Both are especially helpful for those who have previously dealt only with flowers and those new to gardening in general. Both deal with diseases and pests that are unique to vegetable and fruit gardens and include tools that help you plot your garden for maximum yield as well as pointing out which plants actually help other plants to flourish.
The free app developed by the British Geological Survey and the Centre for Ecology & Hydro-logy has received high marks from several gardening experts including The Telegraph’s gardening editors. The app is especially helpful to beginning gardeners as it helps identify the soil properties, such as type, texture and pH, based on your location. This helps you decide which items will do best in your garden as well as ways to bolster the soil to help your plants thrive.
Gardeners, especially, new ones often see plants, which they want in their gardens, but don’t know what they are. Gardenista recommends a number of field guides, such as NatureGate, Leafsnap, and iPflanzen which allow you to identify a plant quickly and easily. Most allow you to submit a photo of the plant and then return not only the name of the plant but also a number of characteristics and cultivation tips. The Garden Compass Plant app is another one that is highly recommended and which in many cases will link to a source where you can purchase the plant you just identified immediately.
Bugs in the Garden
If you have a garden you are guaranteed to have bugs. Some provide a lot of benefits, like eating other bugs or invasive plants, and others simply destroy your hard work. The Bugs in the Garden app helps you identify what critters are in your garden and includes pictures of every stage of the bug’s development from larval to adult.
This inexpensive app (around £4.00) is available for both Android and Apple devices and guides your through every aspect of gardening. The app allows you to check for the suitability of a plant for your particular area of the UK. It gives you detailed information on how to manage the particular plants in your garden, and identifies common plant diseases and pests and provides the best course of treatments. You can also use the app to set up your garden journal, complete with photos and to-do lists with reminders.