Technology In The Garden

How can your smartphone help you be a better gardener?

Unearthing helpful gardening apps

Whether you’ve got the greenest thumb in your neighborhood, or you’re new to it all, the world of gardening apps offers numerous tools and resources to help you dig into your gardening game. 

Here are seven useful gardening apps, catering to a variety of gardening needs, from plant identification and care, to garden planning. There are so many ways to dig into this fertile ground of technology and learn how these apps can help us maximize the use of our own green spaces. 

Let’s start with garden planning and organization tools. If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed by planning and designing a space, there are apps that help you create a customized garden layout based on your individual needs and goals. And once you’ve got it planned out, you’ll need a resource to organize and keep track of all the elements you need to keep your garden growing and healthy.  It doesn’t matter how big or small your space may be, these three apps can help you take most of the guesswork out of garden planning, and you will get the most bloom for your buck. 

Hortisketch: This app allows you to choose from a variety of plants and create a virtual garden. The app gives you all the information you need about each plant you choose, including its requirements for growth, spacing, planting, etc. It also includes a calendar based on your growing zone. This app teaches you how overcrowding and the growth patterns of your plants should impact the way you organize your layout,  and helps you visualize how it all will look before you start buying, digging, and sweating. Create a plan for your garden or even design a whole orchard. You can optimize your layout and feel confident that your plants will do well. A subscription costs $34.99 a year, and includes unlimited plan design, as well as access to Garden Manager. 

Garden Manager: Good gardeners must stay organized, but it’s hard to keep notes over years, and it’s even harder to keep track of them. Compost your old notebooks! With Garden Manager, you can keep lists of your favorite suppliers, your most useful guides, plant pest and disease information, and everything else you used to write down in a notebook. This is a great space for tracking seed and plant inventory as well. You can organize your photos and links into easily accessible locations that work for you. The app also allows you to simply take notes, in which you can include your observations, ideas, and improve your skills. Best of all, this app is free, if you purchase Hortisketch! 

From Seed to Spoon: If you’re short on time, and you’re a beginner, this free app will work well for you. This app will guide you through planting, growing, harvesting, and even preparing over 60 veggies with planting date recommendations that are specific to your zone. It will inform you about all aspects of the growing process, it helps you plan your garden by giving you info about which plants grow best next to each other, and what kinds of plants do not grow well together. It also provides details about pests, diseases, and how to combat those problems, as well as which bugs are the beneficial ones. The app also offers great reminders and tips in all areas of planting and growing. 

Do you have a yard full of growth that you’re not sure how to even identify? There’s an app for that! Kids will also enjoy these free apps because they involve photography as well. Here are two that will help you identify what’s growing out there. 

LeafSnap: This is a plant identification app that uses visual recognition software to identify trees and plants in just a few seconds. It’s got a vast database of all known species, so if you’re able to take a photo of the plant, the app will identify it, as well as give you detailed information about it. LeafSnap includes indoor plants and information about their care, so that once you have identified the plant you have, you can learn how to care for it. 

Plantifier: This app, developed by, is another helpful tool for identifying plants. You can simply upload a photo of the plant, and with the power of crowd sourcing, other gardeners, and experts in the Plantifier community will assist with identifying the plant. Plantifier also allows you to explore a vast collection of plant images and information. You’re leveraging the expertise of this community and benefiting from collaboration with them. 

ID Weed: Would you like to know what weeds have taken up space in your garden? Now you can identifying their names, and find out  plenty of other useful information about them. While your first instinct might be to pull them out, wait! There are many weeds that are hiding all sorts of nutritional and medicinal properties. Your cure for heartburn or coughs might be out there, or some additional sources of vitamins and minerals. Before you dig them up or mow them down, take a second look at what’s really growing out there. 

And one to grow on… 

Moon and Garden app: If you’re interested in alternative gardening methods, the Moon and Garden app gives you suggestions for gardening and timing your planting based on biodynamic agriculture. This is an alternative gardening method that helps you plant, harvest, and rest based on the moon’s phases. This is an age-old technique that allows the phases of the moon to determine the specific gardening task you need to be working on. So, when it’s a full moon, gravitational forces cause moisture levels in the soil to rise, but there’s still light after dark. So, this is a suitable time to plant root crops, perennials, biennials, and bulbs. The app explains why it’s beneficial to complete certain tasks on certain days. And it’s free.

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