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Gardening apps

April 5, 2018

Are there any smartphone apps out there that you use to aid your gardening? If so, I'd love to hear about them. I have four gardening apps on my phone:

 

I've previously mentioned Mother Earth News' When to Plant app ($1.99 for Android and iPhone) for a general planting and harvest calendar. I like that the app uses the phone's location to identify the average frost dates reported from the nearest weather station...so if I go visit my family on the other side of the country and help them with their gardens, the calendar will automatically revise itself to reflect the local growing season.

 

Another great app that uses your phone's location is Falling Fruit, which is free to download for Android and iPhone. This urban foraging app provides a map of edible plants on public lands. I mostly use it to increase my knowledge of the plants around me. Occasionally, I use it to grab a free snack.

 

For help with identifying plants, try Pl@ntNet (free). Just snap a photo of the plant in question and the app will search its database of photos to try to identify the plant. Granted, it's not foolproof; the app's AI learns from its users, so it will become more effective over time.

 

Lastly, for your indoor gardening, I highly recommend downloading a light meter. I have Physics Toolbox (free, Android and iPhone), which is basically a Swiss army knife for nerds. It has a gyroscope, a G-force meter, a compass, and all kinds of other science measurement toys that I have no idea how to use. There are certainly simpler light meter apps available, just make sure to download one that displays its readings in foot candles. And now you'll never have to wonder if your houseplants are in a low, medium, or high light location again. The University of Missouri Extension Service defines low light as less than 250 foot candles (any less than 50 foot candles is "dark"), high light as more than 1,000 foot candles, and medium light as in between. Typically, south-facing windows receive the most light, north-facing windows receive the least light, and east- or west-facing windows receive medium light. However, the readings I recorded from my supposedly high-light south-facing window have shown me why my limequat has dropped all of its leaves over the winter...it's growing new leaves and I hope it can hang on until I can move it outside for the summer.

 

 

A quick backyard veggie garden update: the seeds are continuing to come up in my raised beds, but those veggies are still too small to be photogenic. My peas in pots on the back porch are coming along nicely though.

 

 

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