Share This Page

Garden apps dig deeper for experts, novices

| Friday, June 14, 2013, 8:57 p.m.
The FlowerPedia app has more than 1,300 images of flowers from around the world.

While most gardeners prefer to leave their smart phones and iPads inside when working in the garden, your phone and tablet can, in fact, be a valuable gardening tool. Smart phones and tablets have a plethora of apps (short for applications) tailored to gardening. A quick search will yield many apps related to gardening. Some cost a few dollars and others are free. Here are a few of my favorites.

Garden Buddy: This is a handy little tool available on iTunes does “garden math.” It helps estimate things like how many cubic yards of mulch you need, what size pond pump to purchase, how much lawn fertilizer you'll need, and how many plants should you get to fill a certain space. A similar app for Androids called Landscape and Garden Calculators also measures for bricks, blocks and pavers.

Botany Buddy: A terrific iPad-only app for identifying trees and shrubs, Botany Buddy lists more than 2,000 plant species and hosts nearly 10,000 images. It's also a perfect way to search for the right plant for a particular site in your own landscape. A collaborative effort between professional gardeners and landscape designers, this app is a personal favorite for its advanced search features and extensive photo library.

FlowerPedia: With more than 1,300 images of flowers from around the world, this app is great for helping you identify flowers by answering some questions (leaf structure, petal number, etc). It also enables you to share the location of flowers you found with others and to access unusual plant sites located by others — both at home and abroad. FlowerPedia for iPhones and iPads has growing information about each plant as well.

Gardening Toolkit: Great for both organizing your garden and learning some new how-to techniques, this iTunes app is probably the most versatile I have found. It allows you to add pictures, track harvest times and sowing dates, search its extensive database of plants for the “perfect” one, look through a garden glossary, track your watering, and follow month-by-month gardening advice for your hardiness zone plus much more — great for vegetable and ornamental gardeners. A similar app for Androids is Essential Garden Guide and Blackberry users will like Burpee Home Garden Coach.

Audubon Insects and Spiders: Hosting images, identifying features and descriptions, this app is all about bugs. With over 500 common insects featured, it's useful for learning about the critters you come across in your garden. Enter a few identifying features and scroll through the resulting images to discover what's bugging you. You can even keep a history of all the insects you've found. It is available on both Google Play and in iTunes.

Horticulturist Jessica Walliser co-hosts “The Organic Gardeners” at 7 a.m. Sundays on KDKA Radio. She is the author of several gardening books, including “Grow Organic” and “Good Bug, Bad Bug.” Her website is www.jessicawalliser.com.

Send your gardening or landscaping questions to tribliving@tribweb.com or The Good Earth, 503 Martindale St., 3rd Floor, D.L. Clark Building, Pittsburgh, PA 15212.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.