Tired of having to choose between ‘screen time’ and ‘green time’ – how about both? These apps for your smartphones or tablets can help you plan a new garden, identify greenery at your local yard store, or even just optimize the at-home garden you already have planted. Gardening has been proven to boost your mood in addition to providing healthy, homegrown ingredients during a point in time where eating out isn’t quite what it used to be. Whether you’re farming solo or making it a DIY project with the family, these apps are sure to make your life (in and out of the garden) a bit more fun.
- Garden Answers – Search for gardening apps, and this will be your top hit. Garden Answers is truly the poster child for greenery apps. With over three million users and some of the best plant-identification software available, a quick photo generates an even quicker answer of what you’re looking at. In addition to its outstanding plant ID, Garden Answers also allows users to identify pests and diseases as well as seek professional gardening advice through the app (huge bonus: your questions stay in your inbox indefinitely for later reference). When putting together your arsenal of gardening tools, this is one you won’t want to miss.
- iNaturalist – If this was a list of applicants for a job, iNaturalist would have the best résumé. The highly respected app is a joint initiative between the National Geographic Society and the California Academy of Sciences. With such a wide industry reach, the capabilities of this program are broader than other gardening apps. This platform boasts the ability to identify virtually all types of organisms and creates a space for its community of life-loving users to discuss what they come across. While impressive, this choice is better suited for someone who is interested in the more scientific approach to gardening and probably is less intriguing for kids.
- Garden Plan Pro – If you ever even went near Farmville circa 2010, the nostalgia is about to get extremely real with GPP. Using dating from over 6,000 weather stations, this app helps users identify not only the best items to plant but where and when to plant them based on location. On top of its impressive actual uses, the layout is overwhelmingly reminiscent of Farmville, so users get the best of both worlds. Don’t worry, if you get too caught up in organizing the layout of your garden on your screen, this app reminds you when to plant those veggies (in real life, not on the app).
- SmartPlant – SmartPlant is a newer app, but it is a repackaged version of its successful predecessor, “PlantSnapp,” updated with some premium features. The application offers both free and premium versions with ample options for both gardening and house plant lovers. Its main selling point is the plant identification, but what really makes it stand apart from its competitors is the interactive care checklist. With this, the app will not only show you how to take care of the plants in your garden library (saved on the app) but will also send you notifications for when you need to care for them. Greener garden here you come!
- MySoil – This app goes to the roots…literally. Unlike other gardening apps that just look at what is above the ground, MySoil uses your location to tell you about the composition of the soil where you are and the products that best fit your ground. This outstanding land-planning app is a bit more on the technical side, so children may not find it as thrilling long term (although if they’re a real science buff they might!). If you’re interested in gardening from a more ecological perspective, this one’s for you.
- iScape – One tough part of gardening is that you don’t always know what the plants, flowers, and other greenery you put together are going to look like. In some cases, it’s not the main concern. Other times, gardens are a focal point for a home. iScape solves that problem by allowing users to upload photos of their preexisting gardens or spaces where they want to place a garden, and visualize the landscaping down to the individual products. In addition to being able to see an estimate of what the garden may look like, the app allows users to share, collaborate, and even buy the products they use for designing all through the app’s inventory.
- Garden Plate – A huge benefit of having a garden is translating the produce into healthy, financially-friendly meals. The challenge can be coming up with flavorful options beyond the traditional staples (grilled zucchini, baked summer squash, cucumber, and tomato salad, etc.). Garden Plate helps bring the garden into your kitchen with a clean, user-friendly interface with rich visual content and delicious recipes. You can browse by meal, dietary restrictions, and also search by ingredient. In addition to being a cookbook ‘catered’ to you, it’s also simple and colorful, making it a fun app to use for the whole family.
- Moon & Garden – This app makes the cut because it quite literally takes an out of this world approach. In addition to normal weather conditions necessary for garden planning, Moon & Garden uses the phase of the moon to advise users on what helpful care steps can be taken in their garden the following day. This theory (known as “moon gardening”) believes that certain harvesting practices are best performed during certain moon phases, specifically with respect to sowing seeds. If you’re looking for a new approach to gardening and have a little room to spare to follow the moon phases, it could be a great, green DIY project!
So, regardless of if you’re a novice or an all-natural natural, these apps will bring your gardening to the next level for you and the family. Yard-to-table? Sounds delicious!