By Devon Henry Contributing columnist
April 23, 2014
Springtime is the perfect time of year to get a garden or landscape project started, whether you’ve already developed a green thumb or are new to the gardening scene. Now, with the help of a smartphone, such as the Apple iPhone® 5s, and some creative apps, both novice and experienced gardeners can simplify and enhance growing their gardens and planting the seeds for savings.
According to the National Gardening Association, an average well-maintained garden can yield up to $500 worth of produce, which can help families save money at the grocery store. Whether the desire to see your garden blossom is driven by saving money, simply to add curb appeal to your home, or create a backyard oasis, there are a host of great apps that can ensure you’re choosing the right seeds and plants for your climate and conditions, and protecting your investment in your garden. Mobile devices can definitely simplify and enhance your gardening or help families navigate a new hobby together.
For those looking to get a little dirty outdoors, while saving some money, U.S. Cellular recommends the following free apps for their smartphones and tablets to make the most out of their springtime garden:
iScape Free: Before tilling away at the landscape around your home, take a moment to snap a photo of your yard as it is, and use this creative app to add pathways, shrubs, lighting and flowers to view realistic renderings of your ideas. iScape Free, in Apple’s App Store, brings gardening ideas closer to reality before the user spends even a penny on supplies.
Garden Manager: This free Android app, available in Google Play, is perfect for the busy gardener. The timer allows for multiple alarms to be set for watering, fertilizing, spraying pesticide or any custom task. Snap and save quick photos in the app to treasure the plants you have been growing and even share on social media.
Garden Compass Plant: No matter the experience of a gardener, the season always seems to bring a few pests or weeds. A nuisance in the garden can ruin a whole crop, but this app offers several product suggestions to help get rid of any number of pests. Gardeners can also take a photo of any pest, plant or weed and submit it to have it identified by a team of experts quickly so they can make sure they’re not wasting time or money treating the wrong threat. Simply download the app in Google Play or Apple’s App Store to get started.
Happy Little Farmer Lite: This free app, in Google Play and Apple’s App Store, brings the whole family together to be involved in the garden without getting dirty. The educational app allows young children to play games that teach how fruits and vegetables grow. Kids can plow, plant, water and even chase bugs away from their own virtual garden, picking up skills they can put to use when working alongside mom and dad in their real one, creating better family moments along the way.
The Weather Channel: Throughout the prime gardening season, the weather can be unpredictable. It is important to keep an eye on those changing weather conditions to make sure plants are getting plenty of water and are protected from frost and cold that can be threatening for new plants.
With access to the 4G LTE network, these apps can be quickly downloaded and get you planning and outside enjoying a springtime garden in no time.
(Editor’s note: Devon Hailey is store manager for U.S. Cellular in Clinton.)