iPhone essentials: Apps for gardeners

As I walked to work this morning I noticed the first early buds on the trees. And you know what this means? Time to get out in the garden again and get everything ready for the spring spectacle. To avoid some of the disasters I had last year, I decided that I would add a new weapon to my arsenal of gardening tools – my iPhone. There are plenty of apps available that will help you make your garden looking blooming marvelous. Here’s a selection of some of my favorites. (Note, you’ll need iTunes in order to open the links).

Keep an eye on the sky with WeatherBug

WeatherbugThe weather can be your plants’ biggest friend or its worst enemy. A more comprehensive forecast tool than The Weather Channel or Accuweather.com is WeatherBug. Pulling data from your nearest weather station, it displays temperature (current plus highest and lowest of the day), wind speed and direction, wind chill and rainfall. It even goes into stuff like the dew point, pressure and humidity. A seven-day forecast is also available. Free

Work out what to plant with Garden Plants Database

Garden Plants DatabaseChoosing the right plants and flowers for your garden can be a daunting prospect. Garden Plants Database makes it easy to figure out what you want before you even set out for the garden center. The bumper database contains more than 1,000 common plant names and their descriptions. Each entry includes a photo, along with information such as height, spread, colors, and bloom time. $0.99

Know your trees with Botany Buddy

Botany BuddyIt’s quite expensive, but if you’re looking to expand your knowledge of trees and shrubs, Botany Buddy is the perfect app. It features an impressive search tool that lets you identify a tree you don’t know, or find the right plant to go in your garden. The database boasts 1,300 native and ornamental species, giving you helpful info about size, habits, exposure, seeds, flowers, and more. $9.99

Find out how much soil you need with PotVolume

PotVolumeIf you’re potting this spring, PotVolume will help you make sure you use the right amount of soil every time. The app is very simple to use. You simply enter the height of your pot, along with its width at the top and bottom. Then, PotVolume calculates the volume in cubic inches and quarts. You can then use these figures to work out how much potting soil to use for that particular pot. $0.99

Catalog your harvests with Homegrown

HomegrownIdeal for those who grown fruit and vegetables, Homegrown lets you keep a record of everything you pick. once you’ve added the details of all the fruit-bearing plants in your garden, you’re able to quickly input the number of fruits or veggies that you pick on a given date. You can set the start of the season for each plant, then view your personal harvest data for the entire season on one graph. $0.99

Get the hottest tips with Gardening News and Updates

Gardening News and UpdatesFor the latest in what’s going down in the gardening world, install Gardening News and Updates on your iPhone. This reader loads the latest tips and tricks from a host of popular gardening blogs. The app comes with some neat features, suchas the ability to read blogs offline, to check for new blog posts when you launch, and to search all the blogs using one particular keyword. $0.99

Get practical help with iGarden USA

iGardenAmericans are nuts about gardening, and iGarden USA provides hands-on help to anyone looking to feed their green-fingered habit. It contains a wealth of helpful features, such as recommending planting dates for your particular location, lots of data on vegetables, herbs and fruits, plus a guide to identifying particular garden pests. You can even add your own seeds, including planting dates and photos. $4.99

Figure out how much concrete you need with Concrete Calc

Concrete CalcIf your gardening ambitions extend to constructing paths, patios or terraces then Concrete Calc could come in very handy. The app calculates how many cubic yards of concrete are needed for any given job. You simply type in the length, width and thickness, then hit the Calculate button and you’ll be given the specifications you need. There’s also a Waste Overage option in the input fields if you need it. $0.99

Plan a BBQ with Weber’s On the Grill

Weber’s on the GrillOnce you’ve got your garden looking great, why not invite your friends round for a barbecue in it? Weber’s On the Grill is a fantastic resource for planning a BBQ, featuring 250 classic recipe, along with 40 recipes for rubs. Besides the recipes, you can record ingredients that you need in an itemized shopping list, watch instructional grilling videos, and browse more than 100 barbecuing tips. There’s even a built-in timer for cooking meat to perfection. $4.99

Take a time out and play a gardening game

Plants Vs ZombiesAfter all that hard graft you deserve a bit of time to yourself to relax. So sit down, pull out your iPhone and play one of the many fun garden-themed games that are available for the device. My favorite is the gripping (and terrifying) Plants Vs Zombies, in which you must cultivate killer plants to take down the undead. Others include the sedate mowing game, Sunday Lawn, and the potting puzzler, GreenFingers.

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