Winter can be an especially cruel time for gardeners. Unless you live in a warm climate or have a greenhouse to putter around in, you’ll likely spend most of the off-season pining and preparing for when the ground is soft enough again. Mother Nature Network estimates that the number of gardeners in the U.S. grew from 36 million in 2008 to 43 million in 2009, a 6 percent sprout.
With so many of us interested in gardening what are we to do? Besides daydreaming, ordering seeds from catalogs or drooling over photos of lush gardens, start by picking up that mobile device and pulling up fun garden apps. You’ll be set once the thaw happens.
Garden Tracker. If you’re someone who likes their garden just-so, then this app will make you happy. It divides your space into 50 X 50 squares, and you can jot down what you’ve planted in each quadrant of your actual garden. It will keep track of how many days until that planted item is expected to mature. There is also a place for notes about the care given to that particular sector – what days you’ve watered and how much. The app also isn’t for backyard gardens only — you can create separate grids for window boxes, community gardens, or even a mini farm. It’s $2.99 and might be considered priceless if you need much design guidance.
iPflanzen. Have you ever asked “what IS that?” when you see something sprouting that doesn’t quite belong in your vegetable or flower beds? The easiest solution is to instantly declare it a weed and pull it out. Before you do this, pull out your iphone 5s and activate this free app. By looking at its color, size, shape, seeds/buds and other characteristics, this app will give you a good guess of what it is from a library of more than 700 flora commonly found in gardens, parks, or forests. It might be worth replanting, or you might want to pull it, but at least it will no longer be a mystery plant.
The Fertilizer Calculator. Some gardeners swear by the “major holiday” rule of when to properly fertilize, while some follow the “none whatsoever” guideline, a well-managed fertilizer program and firm schedule really can do wonders for the productivity of your crops. Likewise, a poorly managed fertilizing program can cook your plants and let the weeds creep in. You can use this $2.99 app to figure out the right balance and blend of fertilizer chemicals to effectively feed your various plants. It also keeps track of when you last applied fertilizer, and even sends you an email reminder when suggested application dates are approaching.
Garden ID. If you’re new to gardening, and many of us are, you could use some constructive pointers now and then. This helpful app offers suggestions on where to plant and what to plant, and what’s going wrong. The “Identify a Problem” section shows you that lots of newbies have encountered what you’re going through, and can offer an easy fix. The free app offers info about a whole lot of fruit and vegetable types.
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