Gardening Goes Digital

It’s certainly no news to say that the digital world has expanded into every area of our life. The explosion of applications for smart phones now includes gardening apps that are actually helpful and – thanks to the ubiquitous nature of these gadgets – easily carried out into the garden on a trip to the local nursery. You can get ideas for garden design, the lowdown on new plants, or advice on combatting a pest or disease with just a few clicks.

GardenMinder – From Gardener’s Supply comes this free app to help you plan your spring garden. The download also comes with a $10 coupon code for Gardener’s Supply products, making this definitely worth a second look.

Leafsnap – I can never remember the names of trees and that’s sad considering my father spent much of his adult life planting, trimming, and caring for trees. Columbia university has developed a free app for tree-ignorant people like me that will identify a tree from a picture of a leaf.

Purdue Perennial Doctor – Got something hinky going on in your garden? The Purdue Perennial Doctor will help you zero in on the cause of your plant’s problem. For $0.99 you have access to sound advice from a respected university.

Garden Time Planner – Burpee has made available an app to help busy gardeners know when to sow, transplant, and harvest, based on their regional conditions. I’m sure there are other seed providers that have similar items available. Check out their websites for further information.

Sprout It – Advertised as an app that will help you ” plan and manage your best garden ever,” Sprout It focuses on edible gardening. The price is right (free!) so it might be worth a closer look.

Garden Magazines – The latest thing for magazines is to provide a free digital version of their publication for current subscribers. Organic Gardening, House & Garden, Better Homes & Gardens, and Mother Earth News are just a few publications that do this. Check with your current subscriptions to see what’s available.

A recent survey sponsored by the Garden Writers of America (of which I am a proud member) reported that only about one in ten gardeners used smart apps to help them with gardening, not as many as I might have guessed. If you are part of that 90% not yet using these free or low-cost aids I say it’s time to break out of the old habits and get your gardening game on with these and many more apps that can help with almost every aspect of this fun pastime.

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Gardening is an exercise in optimism. Sometimes, it is the triumph of hope over experience.Marina Schinz
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