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The Plant Medic

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Garden apps can vary greatly in quality, cost

Q. What good gardening apps are available for iPad and iPhone?

A. I do believe that my baby boomer generation deserves a lot of credit for being willing to learn all this new technology that is being thrown at us. I still remember using a typewriter for term papers in college.

Anyway, I downloaded several gardening apps on my iPad that looked promising. Most were free or cost less than $4. I found some very useful apps, disappointing apps, and some apps that were just trying to get me to sign up for other premier services.

Organic Gardening Planting Planner is an app designed to help users plan when to put plants in a garden based on your locale. It also provides spacing info, weather info, sunrise and sunset times along with moon phases for those gardeners wanting to plant by moon phases. Sadly, I found the app somewhat difficult to use and understand, but it could be useful for planting times and spacing.

Garden Minder is an app developed by the folks at Gardner’s Supply magazine. This app allows gardeners to choose existing planting plans, or to develop their own gardening plan on a grid-based system. The graphics are cool, and the information is correct and useful.

Tomato-0-Match is an app from Fine Gardening magazine linked to Seed Savers Exchange that lists information about tomatoes. Users can sort through a tomato database that filters by uses, class, habit, and tomato types. Where the app falls a little short is the cultural and historical information about each variety.

Garden Tracker-Bumper Crop is an app that allows users to plan out a vegetable, flower, fruit herb, grain garden. The record keeping part of this app is nice because it allows users to keep records of when plants were planted, fertilized, watered. It is basically an easy-to-use electronic garden journal.

Landscaper’s Companion for iPad is a decent guide of woody plants with information about hardiness zones, growth rate, light needs and other cultural information about hundreds of landscape plants. The photos are nice and you can add your own photos to the library.

Gardening Toolkit is a highly touted app for record keeping and information about blooming times etc. of flowers selected for your personal garden. I just didn’t find this app particularly useful.

Hardscape is an app ($4.99) that allows users to insert and draw graphics into an existing picture of a landscape. This tool could be useful for landscape designers or homeowners looking to design a landscape. Unfortunately one has to purchase extra 99-cent graphics of trees, flowers, etc. – and the graphics are somewhat limited. It still is an interesting application.

Veggie Calc is simple and to the point. Click on a vegetable and the app tells you how many plants are needed per person. Simple but very useful.

There are hundreds of gardening apps for the iPad and iPhone. Some can be useful for novice gardeners. For now, however, the information can be incomplete and disjointed for more experienced gardeners.

The Plant Medic, written by Ricky Kemery, appears every other Sunday. Kemery is the extension educator for horticulture at the Allen County branch of the Purdue Extension Service.