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Gear and Apps for the Aspiring Gardener

April showers bring May flowers, but a bit of technical intervention never hurt either
Parrot Flower Power app. Visit www.parrot.com

Cold weather will soon depart and the greenery will start to sprout once again. Yes, spring is here. Maybe you’ve discovered a newfound desire to garden or you’re finally setting up that patch of paradise you’ve promised to plant every year. Whatever your motivation, here are some helpful apps and gadgets to get you started.


Essential Garden Guide App

This app (iOS, $1.99) answers most gardening-related questions, including the basics of soil preparation, watering and care, right down to the nitty-gritty needs of specific fruits and vegetables. Select what you want to plant – the app lists 30 common garden vegetables and eight fruits – and find out how best to grow it. You’ll also get tips on pest and disease control and common problems you may encounter along the way.


Perennial Match App

Before planting those seeds, use this app (iOS, $6.99) to plan out your desired combinations and find out if they grow well together. Use search filters for factors like sunshine and water requirements, height, bloom colours or even a plant's propensity to attract butterflies. Save your selected combinations, then use the app as your garden shopping list. All the data is contained within the app, so you can access the info offline.


Garden Answers Plant Identification App

Ever walk by a plant or group of flowers that you think are absolutely beautiful and wish you could grow the same ones? With this app (iOS and Android; Free), snap a photo with your smartphone and it’ll find the closest matches, so you can identify the plant by name and save it as a favourite for later. The app also answers more than 200,000 commonly asked plant-related questions, on everything from planting problems to pest control.


Edyn Garden Sensor and Water Valve

Once your garden is ready to go, keep track of conditions using this smart sensor and even automate feeding with the water valve (US$99.97). The sensor will stay on top of lighting, temperature, humidity, soil moisture and nutrients, and send a report to the partner app (iOS and Android; Free). Place the valve on a standard garden hose attachment and sprinkler systems, and it will automatically water the plants based on data sent from the sensor. Or, if you want more control, manually (and remotely) initiate watering through the app. Both devices are solar-powered, so you don’t need to worry about charging them.


Parrot Flower Power

Parrot’s Flower Power (US$59.99) isn’t something from the ’70s, but it’s still pretty groovy. This smart gadget will help make sure you never forget to water the garden and keep conditions perfect to ensure proper growth. Stick it in the soil and it analyzes moisture, fertilizer, ambient temperature and sunlight intensity, then sends the data to the app (iOS and Android; Free). This way, you can maintain your garden accordingly and nip problems in the bud before they arise. If immediate action is required – say the plant needs to be watered – you’ll get an alert.