by Scott Baughman

Spring is about to be upon us and you’re no doubt itching to get out of the house. But be sure to check for poison ivy so that you’re aren’t just plain itching when you do. And what better way to make sure you don’t have troublesome species like that itchy plant in your yard than to get out there and turn some earth to make your own garden this year?

Sure, it seems like it should be as simple as scattering some seed, keeping it watered and doing some weeding – but this is the 21st century, surely there’s a better way, right? You bet your smartphone there’s a better way, and in keeping with our usual focus, let’s jump right in to a list of the best smartphone apps out there for – what else? – gardening!

  1. Plantifier: Here in 2021, we humans tend to use our smartphones to answer just about every question. But rather than simply looking up the title of that one awesome 1980s action movie you know you saw in college, why not use it to identify some plants that you either want to plant in your garden – or that you found as “volunteers” next to stuff you purposely planted. Plantifier has you covered by leveraging the power of the masses. Get this app, upload a photo of the weird leaf and gardeners from around the world will weigh in on identifying it.
  2. Garden Manager: Plant Alarm: Every gardener starts out with the best of intentions. But Lots and LOTS of plants die every season because some hapless owner forgets to do one crucial step of plant maintenance for them. The Plant Alarm will alert you when it is time to water, feed or prune amongst other tasks. It also has graphs to chart each of your plant’s measurements as it grows.
  3. Into Garden: When it comes time to layout your new green-themed paradise in the backyard, this app can help you maximize the use of your space, create a more sustainable model or just let you wile away the hours with tons of hypothetical designs for the gardening space in your backyard. And the app was created with the help of a British garden designer so it can help encourage you to eat more of what you grow. Who doesn’t want a backyard veggie pizza or a summertime fruit stash?
  4. Gardentags: Tagging things – especially geo-tagging them – may seem “so last season” here in 2021, but for the social-minded gardener this app is a must. Simply take pics of your plot, tag them appropriately, upload the photos and wait for the rest of the online gardening community to chime in. Your fellow green-thumbs will be quick to offer advice on plant care and ways to deal with weeds or pests. 
  5. My Soil: This app gives you all the dirt on … dirt. Created with the help of the British Geological Survey it enables you to check the soil in your area for things like soil type, depth, pH balance, temperature and total amount of organic matter content. Armed with this knowledge you’ll get the lowdown on what plants can not just survive in your area but will thrive based on the type of dirt you use to make their home.
  6. Leafsnap: Here’s another plant identifier app but this one is backed by some serious horticulturalists. The Natural History Museum even uses it and it was initially developed by the University of Maryland, Smithsonian Institute and Columbia University. The app has big time high resolution images of leaves, flowers, fruits, petioles, seeds and bark to help you match up just what popped up in your yard with the official genus and species of that plant.
  7. iScape: We’ll close with an app from the mothership when it comes to smartphone gardening apps – iScape is produced by Apple as a garden planner. But it allows you to visualize how your garden will look as a finished product because users take photos of their existing land and then apply different filters and art elements on them by super imposing different layers. Afterwards you’ll have a cool 3D garden to explore!

Hopefully these apps will help you get started on that backyard of your dreams, today! Until next time….download complete.