iPad | $3.99
A decade ago, it would have been hard to believe that you could refer to yourself as a “tablet gardener,” but how times have changed! Leading the pack for iPad users is the Gardening Toolkit HD, a handy reference app that ensures you’ll get all the advice you need. Along with an image-rich encyclopedia of over 1,000 growable plants (veggies, flowers and herbs among them) and a thorough to-do list, you can input information related to where you live and the season – the app will then calculate the plants that will most benefit from your garden. Features are updated often, and often there are web links of interest for particular plants.
iOS | $9.99
When ground-level gardening isn’t quite enough for the more ambitious of us, it’s time to get naturally vertical by plunging into the world of backyard botany. Depending on whether you want to grow some new trees or shrubs from seeds, or merely identify your existing varieties, this app covers more than 2,000 species, with nearly 10,000 colour photos (including leaves, flowers, bark and buds) sorted with an easy search function. Additional, it includes everything from individual tree hardiness, habit, height and seed info to tips on species functionality, nativity and any negative issues that may arise. Designed by a long-time landscape designer, Botany Buddy is quite certainly everything you’ll need to know about growing trees.
$7.99 | Android
Sometimes our vision of a perfect backyard goes far beyond a few rows of veg, some herbs and a tree or two. If it’s time for a more significant re-do of your outdoor space, this app for Android should get you going. As an estimator, you can theorize any number of materials to enhance your landscape, from concrete and mulch to wooden fencing, ponds and even brick work. Depending on your choices, the app then takes into consideration several factors such as the dimensions in which you’re working and the amount or volume of materials, and calculates the results for you. Effectively, you can estimate everything from the amount of soil you’ll need to purchase, up to the number of concrete bags and pickets you’ll need to build that fence. Whatever size job you’re looking at, this calculator takes the effort out of getting it done properly.
iPad | Free (in-app purchases available)
There’s no denying that the popularity of organic farming continues to grow year after year, and while it seems like a complex process best left to farms and larger growing ventures, there’s no reason why the average person can’t try their hand at it. As the iPad version of the magazine, this app is an excellent resource for organic growing techniques. Touching on a variety of topics – everything from compost to honing skills and adopting new plant species, the magazine provides lively discussions, opinions and advice on making the switch to organic. It can be a daunting process, but with a resource like this in your corner, it’s definitely worth looking into.
Android, iOS | Free
Now that you’ve decided where the string beans, marigold beds, tarragon and tomato vines are all going to grow, you’re going to need a few tools to help you realize your vision. That’s where The Home Depot’s app comes in handy. Essentially, it’s an inventory catalogue, but it’s an extensive one that allows you to research all your garden tools before you purchase them, and even find out which store locations have them stocked. As an added bonus, using GPS the app can find the nearest location, and if you know exactly what you want, you can purchase items using the app and pick them up at a later time in-store. If it’s time for a new shovel and wheelbarrow, this app should help you find them quickly.
BB | $1.99
Simple and to-the-point, if you’re a BlackBerry user intent on staying on top of your garden’s progress, a thorough checklist is your best bet for success. Whether it’s for your veg and fruits, your lawn or flower beds, create customized lists by starting with the app’s suggested entries and then adding ones specific to your backyard. From there, track your progress in everything from your garden’s layout and growing area to seasonal issues such as frost and heat waves. For those of us who are fairly new to gardening, this checklist can provide invaluable support and advice as we learn on the go.
iOS | $0.99
For those of us with a smaller space to work with, or a love of flavourful roughage, the Herb Garden app is ideal for the hobbyist and weathered green thumb alike. Covering off all the basics and offering instructions and tips on growing everything from common varieties such as thyme, dill, chives and sage, to slightly more exotic choices, hundreds of herbs are included here. As an added incentive to download Herb Garden, users can also compare notes, techniques and tips, while the recipe section also contains a wealth of excellent – and delicious – recipes to make the most out of your backyard harvest. If you want to get creative with fresh, home-grown flavours, this is a great place to start.
WP7 | $2.49
Likewise, Windows Phone users shouldn’t be left out in the cold either when it comes to gardening apps. Garden 360 is a handy little mobile organizer for everything you plan on planting, as it records and tracks seed location, date planted, the natural lighting your garden receives, and any problems you face along the way (hungry bugs, diseases, etc). You can also track the expected date of your plant’s maturity, log the soil variety you’ve chosen and keep tabs on your annuals versus your perennials, while an in-app journal stores your garden photos and notes you make along the way to your final harvest.