My iPhone Gardening Apps

Cathy Olson
Adams County Master Gardener

Growing a garden, eating organic and being techy are all the rage these days, so why not combine these three by getting some good apps for your "smart phone"? Following are apps (applications = programs) that Iíve "bought" or read about for my iPhone (many apps are free, many more cost 99 cents; others are more costly). Some iPhone apps are also available for iPad and other smart phones, but not all are. That could be a column for the future.

Eden Garden Designer ($1.99)

You can design and share photorealistic gardens. Choose My First Garden. Then touch the My Plants button and scroll through a searchable list of plants. To plant, touch the spot in the garden where you want it to grow. Go back to the plant library and choose more annuals or perennials. You can bring up selectable seasons to see which plants will be in flower in your hardiness zone (Adams County PA is in zone 6). You can clean out your whole garden, or individual plants, by taking them to the Compost Bin. You define your plantable area by moving Adam and Eve (hence the app name) to diagonally opposite corners. (There is a lot of cuteness in iPhone apps.) In the Plant Info screen you can learn genus, species, height, zones, bloom color, etc. There is a thumbnail photo of each plant and a Wikipedia link, for more info.

Garden Pilot ($.99)

This is the first iPhone gardening app I bought, largely because it was recommended by Joe Lampíl, joegardenerTV, the guest speaker at Adams County Penn State Master Gardeners two years ago. It is a guide to 15,000 plants: vegetables, annuals, perennials, roses, trees and shrubs, aquatics, bulbs, succulents, ground covers, herbs, ornamental grasses and vines. You can search by common name or botanical name. With so many possibilities, there are several filters, such as hardiness zone, color of bloom, bloom season, water and light requirements, that help you narrow in on the choices of plants that you make. The color photos of the plants are magnificent.

Essential Garden Guide ($.99)

Start with the basics and learn what every gardener needs to know about soil preparation, watering and garden care. Then find out specific growing information about 31 vegetables, from asparagus to turnips, and 8 fruits, from blackberries to watermelon. The app is currently limited to these garden staples, and one hopes that Version 1.1 will soon be updated to include more plants.

iMyGarden Designer (Free)

This app is used to design a bulb garden, only a bulb garden. But you can choose from 230 flower bulb varieties and "plant" them where you wish in your virtual garden with a touch of your finger. You can use the built-in garden templates in the app for your design, or take a photo of your own garden with your iPhone and "plant" bulbs in it. You can create and store many of your designed bulb gardens, and share them with your Facebook friends.

Landscapers Companion Ė Gardening Reference Guide ($4.99)

This is a content-heavy app with information on 8500 plants divided among 16 categories of plants: annuals, bulbs, cacti, conifers, flowering and fruit trees, ground covers, herbs, house plants, ornamental grasses, palms, perennials, roses, shade trees, shrubs, vegetables/fruits/berries, and water plants. You can browse through the plants, looking for scientific or common names. You can learn about water usage, size and sun requirements for each plant. Pictures of the plants are included, but you can also add your own photos. You can keep a list of your favorite plants and e-mail the list. The current version is 2.68; the developer listens to suggestions for improvement, and makes them more often than many other apps. Internet access is required to download plant images, but after the download, internet access is not required to use the app.

Garden Buddy ($2.99)

If you need to figure out how many cubic yards of mulch or soil to order for your garden, ever wanted to build a fish pond, need to know where the local gardening suppliers are, community gardens and farm markets, this app is for you. You need to have Location Services turned "on" and have internet access, because the built-in GPS in your phone is used here. It connects to Google Local Search and allows you to find gardening suppliers, call them with a push of a button, view full address and contact info and add them to your iPhone contacts. You can view their location on a map and then get travel directions. This version of Garden Buddy is for North America, using inches, feet and cubic yards; there is also a metric version available for metric people.

Other apps not described here cover topics such as herbs, organic gardening, planning, journaling, insects and many others.

Read other articled by Cathy Olson