April 13, 2010 -- It's hard to believe, but it looks like we're finally out of the doldrums of winter. For those who live in climates with more distinguishable seasons, April bears witness to the emergence of the warmer sun, longer days, and the promise of summer — all ushering in the start of another gardening season.
Those who garden know that timing is everything, and a bountiful crop requires planning and organization. For novice and advanced gardeners alike, there is always something that can be learned about getting the best from the earth. Following are 10 great gardening apps that serve that very purpose, and can help yield juicier tomatoes, more fragrant rosemary, and brighter hydrangeas.
1. Landscapers Companion
Although the cost of this app is high, gardeners of all levels will appreciate the sheer volume of information that is contained in Landscaper's Companion. This app serves as an encyclopedia of more than 1,400 plants across 16 categories, including perennials, shrubs, annuals, house plants and more. There are also approximately 5,700 photos within the app for visual reference.
2. Fruit Garden
Fruit Garden focuses on the harvesting of 22 different fruits, and includes tips and tricks on soil preparation, planting, and recommended varieties. Note, the harvesting schedule in this app is specific to the UK, but even if you are not in that region, valuable information about growing each fruit can still be gleaned.
3. iGarden USA
iGarden is a comprehensive compilation of fruit and vegetable harvesting schedules based on your designated zone. When any particular seed is selected, helpful information such as days to harvest, planting depth, space between rows and optimum germination temperatures is offered. Each entry also includes recommended insecticides to keep your plants pest-free.
4. Bugs and Insects
Speaking of bugs, with a database of more than 900 pests, the Bugs and Insects app is a great resource for gardeners looking to determine the culprits who have been nibbling on their harvests, or just identify frequent visitors. Users can create lists, tag "favorite" bugs, or just flip through the entire database to satisfy a curiosity about entomology.
5. Botany Buddy
Botany Buddy focuses solely on trees and shrubs and contains information on approximately 1,300 species. One hindrance is the lack of an A-Z directory from which to peruse. Instead, users must enter a search term to find the tree or shrub of choice. Despite this, the app provides very detailed information and also enables registered users to share collections with fellow tree and shrub enthusiasts through the Botany Buddy website.
Cost: $5.99 (Reduced from its usual $9.99 price for a limited time)
6. Botanical Interests
Botanical Interests is another information-laden app that includes harvesting advice on approximately 287 varieties of vegetables. There are beautiful illustrations to accompany each entry and avid gardeners will appreciate the myriad varieties of vegetables it covers, including 26 different kinds of lettuce, 19 peppers, 20 tomatoes, and 13 types of basil.
This is a great app that provides valuable information on 25 different herbs. Within each herb, you can find information on how best to plant it, culinary ideas, and even medicinal uses. In addition, there's a comprehensive tab outlining basic guidelines on planting an herb garden.
8. Garden Pilot
Garden Pilot combines a directory of more than 14,000 plants with a comprehensive article database. It covers a wide range of topics, including plant diseases, fertilizers and chemicals, organic gardening and eco-friendly ideas. A recent update to the app also shows which plants are available for purchase at local app-participating retailers. A lite version of this app is available for free, but only contains a listing of 150 plants.
If you prefer more visual gardening instruction, this app features informative videos on topics such as "Small Gardens, Big Ideas," "Novice Knockout Gardens," and "Adding Pizzazz to Your Patio." The video quality is fantastic, but due to the large amount of space it consumes, please note that the download time is much longer than others.
10. The Plant Doctor
You've sowed the seeds, watered per instruction, and eagerly await the fruits of your labor. But wait — is that plant supposed to be yellow?
The Plant Doctor is a free app that provides a listing of the ten most common plant ailments. If your plant's issue isn't addressed by any of these, a form can be filled out within the app and sent directly to a plant pathologist for an official diagnosis and treatment options — each one costing $1.99.
iLocate – Gardening Supplies
In order to get the garden, you need the garden tools. iLocate – Gardening Supplies offers listings of garden supply retailers in your area. With a simple and easy-to-use interface, this app provides one-click calling functionality and relies on Google maps to identify locations nearby.