Winter is finally showing signs of coming to an end, and if you are an avid gardener like me, you know that it’s almost time to set aside the seed catalogs that we’ve drooled over all winter and get ready to dig and plant! The following is my list of the top 10 best gardening apps for 2014. The apps are not in any particular order, and most are free or low cost and are available in the iTunes store. With these apps, all of us gardeners, from novice to expert level, can plan and create our most brilliant and bountiful gardens yet! So, let’s dust off those shovels, rakes, and hoes, it’s time to play in the dirt!
Organic Gardening Planting Planner 2014
The last few years have seen an upsurge in avoiding the use of pesticides and GMO seeds, so there has been a revived interest in organic gardening methods. This free app is compatible with the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch and allows users to learn about a variety of plants and gardening methods, plan virtual gardens, learn the best sowing, planting and harvest times in their local area. The app’s smart calendar also makes it easy to create to-do-lists as well as make important notes in one’s garden journal.
Garden Time Planner
This free app works with the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch and is great for the novice that needs help getting their first few gardens started. The app allows users to learn the best times to plant, transplant and harvest popular plants in their local area. The app provides links to helpful how-to gardening videos, as well as automatically creates a to-do list with reminders for common gardening tasks.
This free app works best for planning raised bed gardens, and has a journal feature as well as allows users to set reminders. The app is compatible with the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad.
Vegetable Garden Calculator
Are neighbors and co-workers hiding from you because you’ve passed along one to many zucchinis? Do you struggle with knowing how much is too much or too little to plant? This free app is for you then! Compatible with the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch this app takes away all of the guess work and allows you to easily calculate how many plants you need to grow just the right amount of most popular produce items.
You know that carrots and peas go great together, both in the garden and on the plate, but what about all those other plants? Are some of them “frenemies?” Yes, believe it or not, there are some plants that are beneficial to one another when they are planted close by, and others are harmful to one another. This 99 cent app helps you to stop sabotaging your efforts and is compatible with the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.
Is it a weed? An edible plant? Is that bug helpful or harmful for my plants? What is that stuff growing on my zucchini vines? Even the most knowledgeable gardener eventually encounters a plant, growth or insect that they can’t identify. Now, you can get to the bottom of these mysteries with this free app that’s compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. Look through the app’s database, or snap a picture and submit it to a team of horticultural experts who will solve the mystery for you. The app even provides links to plant and seed vendors.
Our Rose Garden
The appearance of most gardens can be instantly improved by the addition of one or more roses. Roses are also beneficial to numerous vegetables and make excellent planting companions for garlic and other bulbs. This free app is compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch and provides everything you need to know about planting, pruning and even over-wintering roses as well as helpful information and videos about the many rose varieties, as well as how to protect them from disease and pests.
Who doesn’t love a juicy, ripe tomato picked fresh off the vine? I think what I love the most about this incredibly versatile plant is the fact that it comes in so many varieties. There are the unique flavored, colorful heirloom tomato plants like Aunt Ruby’s German Green, Cherokee Purple, Old Yellow Candystripe and Pink Brandywine as well as newer hybrids that offer a more uniform tomato such as Early Girl, Sweet 100 and Sun Gold. With so many options it can be hard to decide which variety will work best for you given your taste and visual preference as well as needs and local growing conditions, but this free app for the iPad takes all of the painful deliberation out of the equation. This app helps you pick the best tomato and then provides links via Safari to seed vendors for your chosen variety.
Yes, I know chickens are technically livestock, but many gardeners, even urban gardeners, are considering adding a few chickens to their garden. In addition to providing “free” eggs, chickens are a great way to get rid of many common garden pests naturally, and they also produce great, high nitrogen content fertilizer. While many locales have limits to the number of chickens one can own, keeping a couple of feathered pets is allowed in many areas, so make certain to check out your local zoning ordinances. This app is not free, but at just $2.99, it can help you to pick the best variety of chick for your garden space as well as provide helpful information about their care.
I’ll round out my list with this $2.99 app that is a great way to get your young children involved in gardening through creative play! The app is compatible for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch and teaches children about organic gardening, sustainability and how to plant seeds.