So many of us have smart phones now and use them for everything from getting directions to searching out great places to eat or shop. Now, for the garden-minded among us, there are a number of plant applications. Here is a small selection of some interesting ones. For apps listed below, click on the app name, or for the Home Outside app, on iPhone or Android to visit the appropriate application store.
Leaf Snap: This sweet little app helps those of us who want to identify trees by their leaves and fruit. Developed by Columbia University, the University of Maryland, and the Smithsonian Institution, it is currently available only for the iPhone and iPad. The app is free.
Garden Answers Plant ID: For flower identification, take a photo of the flower and this app will compare it to a database of over 20,000 plants. The service is free but if more help is needed, you may “Ask an Expert,” where one of the staff supplies an answer for a fee of $1.99 per question. If the staff cannot identify your plant, you will be able to resubmit your question with more information and better photos at no additional charge. Under certain circumstances, you may be referred to your local master gardener, university resource, or other volunteer service — there is no fee for this reference. This app is available for both iPhone and Android.
The SmartPlant app: The app is available for iPhone and Android and comes in a basic or premium form. The free version provides access to the plant library and monthly plant advice. The premium variant, for $3.99 a month or $35.99 a year, gives you unlimited plant and pest ID, plus plant expert Q & A. This is a bit pricey, but the paid version does have good reviews.
Vegetable Tree Gardening Guide: This application is available in the App Store for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch for $4.99. It allows the gardener to keep track of plant information such as variety, number, date planted, and yields. It also allows the gardener to upload photos. Reviews report that the developer is very responsive to inquiries, and in fact it is the #1 vegetable gardening app on the App Store.
Home Outside: This app is all about planning your garden or yard. It is free for both iPhone and Android and allows the gardener to set up a plot and add elements, move them around, and try different components. Structures such as pools, houses, sheds, etc. can be included along with the plants, so an overall layout of your property is possible. It also allows GPS identification of your garden plot. Although it can be a bit challenging to start with, the tutorial is very good, and you will be proud of yourself for mastering it.
This is just a taste of the many apps available now for gardeners. We will be bringing your news of others in the future. We hope you will let us know about apps you have used and how you would rate them.