Gardening has become easier and more accessible thanks to modern technology. Stumped by a mystery flower or an unfortunate bug infestation? You no longer need to wait for advice – simply reach for your phone and access it with the help of one of the many powerful gardening apps available.
From Seed to Spoon, a mobile application developed by Park Seed, offers various fruits and vegetables to add to your virtual “Grow Box”, and provides seed-starting, transplanting and harvesting dates, frost tolerance and sun, water and fertilizer needs for each plant, as well as seed-saving instructions and companion planting advice. Additionally, the app features information about common pests and organic treatment suggestions, recipes and helpful video tips. To access further features, a premium version of the app can be purchased for a monthly or yearly fee.
Google Lens is another user-friendly illustration that enhances your garden-on-the-go tactics, using image recognition and Google search capabilities to identify plants, trees, shrubs, insects and animals with a snap of a photo. PictureThis is an app with a plethora of information, which provides an assessment of the health and various other details of the plant – including its scientific classification, worldwide distribution, common uses, and soil, water, and fertilizer requirements – along with answers to frequently asked question about it.
Apple has even jumped in on the game, with a game-changing Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Augmented Reality (AR) feature, Visual Look Up. An iPhone or iPad running iOS16 or iPad OS16 can access the feature by tapping an image in the Photos library and tapping the “info” button beneath it. Visual Look Up can identify plants, flowers, weeds, insects, birds and other animals depicted in any photo, and can even be used in the Mail, Messages and Notes apps, as well as in the Safari browser.
Created by a joint initiative of the California Academy of Sciences and the National Geographic Society, the crowd-sourced, image-recognition app Seek by iNaturalist is a robust, all-in-one resource. Snap a picture of a plant, insect or mushroom (or simply point the camera at it) and the app will give you its taxonomic classification, common name, seasonality, and even a short description pulled from Wikipedia. The more people that use the app, the more accurate and comprehensive the information will become. If a user cannot identify the item, the app will solicit IDs from other users.
There is no doubt that leveraging mobile technology for gardening advice can be incredibly helpful. With a variety of options, from basic identification to comprehensive guides, there is a gardening app for the beginner gardener or the hobby farmer alike. All the apps offer incredible value, and a way to ensure that you get incredibly helpful advice in the palm of your hands.
Park Seed has developed an amazing tool in the From Seed to Spoon app and are in the forefront of making gardening easier, more accessible, and more productive. They use technology to save time and growing money and it is quickly becoming one of the leading plant-focused apps available.
Jessica Damiano, the award-winning author of the Weekly Dirt Newsletter, brings her extensive gardening knowledge and hands-on experience to the user through her gardening columns for the Associated Press. With her contributions to gardening technology, she strives to make gardening more inclusive and accessible.