Both a recent convert who’s new to the joys of gardening and an old-hand whose green thumb is well and truly proven can benefit from using a smart device in their gardening habits. Over the past 15 years or so, smartphones in particular have become an indispensable part of our daily lives. We use them to pay for our morning coffee, check the weather during our lunch break, order a car to drive us home, and as a remote control for our smart TVs. There is at least one in most households, and they are being developed to be faster, sleeker and well… smarter, all the time.
Now that these handy pocket computers are widely available to the general public, users can access data-heavy entertainment content, like the TV shows on Netflix and the classic table games at Poker Casino, on the move. The unprecedented speed and reliable connections on offer today make this a convenient and straightforward option. There are also a whole lot of other internet services available too, ranging from social networks, to news updates, to streamable music, to video calls. You no longer need to be tied to a desktop computer to check your emails, though we’ll leave it up to you to decide whether that’s a good or bad thing.
But what does this have to do with gardening? Well, there are many uses for a smartphone or comparable device when you’re getting dug into the allotment or spending time in the back yard. Thankfully, you don’t actually need a particularly fancy gadget to access them – simply a smartphone that allows for a mobile internet connection, has the ability to download a few apps and contains a semi-decent camera.
Plant Identification and Problem Diagnosis
One of the most helpful and also most fascinating uses for a smartphone in the garden is visual identification. Clever apps like PlantSnap use your phone’s camera to not only identify species through flowers, leaves, shapes and colours, but also to diagnose what might be wrong with them. This can be an invaluable aid if you’re new to gardening and don’t have a lot of fellow enthusiasts to ask for advice. If, during your pottering amongst the plants, you find a nasty bug infestation or case of leaf discolouration, simply set the app to diagnosis mode, snap a couple of clear photos, and wait for the results. Whilst these apps are not always 100% accurate, they can help to identify common problems in plants and suggest tried and tested home remedies for them. It’s a great option if you need a fast, on-the-spot answer.
Connecting With Other Gardeners
Of course, if you do find that you need a little extra support from an expert, then building connections with fellow gardeners is essential. If you’re lucky enough to rent or own an allotment plot, then you can get to know your plot neighbours and pick their brains when needed. However, if this option isn’t open to you, then the internet can come to the rescue. Several popular gardening forums exist online, but there are also gardening-specific social networking apps such as Garden Tags and GrowIt! available to download. Having these resources pre-installed on your phone when you head out into the garden means that you can make forum posts or send direct messages whilst still ‘on the ground’, rather than waiting until you’ve headed back inside for your next cup of tea.
Tracking Your Progress
Whether you’ve just become the proud owner of a brand new fertile plot of land or you already have a thriving biosphere in your back garden, tracking the progress of your plants is immensely satisfying. You can use your smartphone to take photos and watch how your carefully tended leafy babies develop, or use different apps to track planting times, when frosts occur, when your plants flower, the amount of fruits and vegetables you’ve harvested, and so on. This can be valuable data when it comes to making decisions about adding fertilizer, cutting back growth, changing your watering routine or other common activities that can make a difference to whether your garden thrives or dies.
Planning It All Out
If you really want to get into the planning side of things, then there are apps out there for smartphones and tablets, as well as full-blown computer programs, that allow you to organise everything down to the last detail. You can use measurement features to plan out the creation of new flower beds or vegetable plots; work out when is best to sow seeds according to the time of year, the weather and the moon; and, likewise, figure out when to harvest your crops. It’s a good idea to generally keep an eye on how your garden is functioning as a whole organism, so that you are more in tune with its unique wants and needs. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself talking to the tomato plants in the quiet of the greenhouse, though!