Gardening with gadgets: How apps can help your garden grow

hoop house


With a simple ‘Hoop House’ your garden can get a head start on the growing season! Even if your idea of creative time is spent indoors and far away from the outside world, this project is simple enough that it can easily be done alone and on a budget.  You are only two hours and fifty dollars’ worth of materials away from an instant greenhouse!

A hoop house is used to keep excessive rain off the plants, block wind, raise daytime temperature, and keeps frosts and heavy dew off the leaves. This simple greenhouse can extend your warm-season gardening and is easy to move and disassemble. After your new veggies and plants have been transplanted to the toasty warm outside soil in early May, the hoop house can be broken down in 30 minutes. With your greenhouse is put away for next spring, you will then have the perfect amount of room for summer yard essentials (hammock, umbrella, drink stands, etc). If you have more advanced building skills, a permanent greenhouse (like that used by Michelle Obama at the Whitehouse garden) is available below.

Here are some instructions on how to build your own hoop house.

For a more permanent structure, try this sturdier greenhouse.

Now that you’ve provided a cozy start for your abundant harvest, you need to answer the “how, when & where” of planting. Luckily, there’s an app for that! Below are a few mobile applications full of planting, timing, layout and plant variety information that will help you improve your garden whether you’re a novice or a seasoned veteran.

Garden Tracker  (iPad, iPhone)
This app lets you size and plan your garden plots, plant your vegetables, and then track your garden’s progress, including days to harvest, days since watered, and days since fertilized.
Smart Gardener combines your selected plants, garden layout, and household size with complex planting variables, to create a Smart Garden Plan for you.

Garden Puzzle
This is “the easiest garden design app,” with desktop and online apps. Just place plants over the picture of the garden and share your designs online.

Garden Snob (Android)
For the garden obsessed! Gardening tips, tricks, and ideas on how to keep your garden green and growing.