I am SO incredibly excited!! It is THAT time of year again when those of us who like to garden can start thinking about pulling out the garden supplies and planning our crops for the summer!! If you were around here last year we pretty extensively covered our first large vegetable garden (3 of them actually!) and our journey both growing our veggies and canning them for the year! It has saved us a ton of money over the last year so this year we’re planning bigger and better! Well, maybe …… I just found out I’m pregnant so we’ll see how quickly that morning sickness sets in and how big of a garden I can actually keep up with this year!! :)
This year I am more prepared for my vegetable gardens since everything is already tilled and I had some experience last year with what grew well for me. I find myself constantly pulling out my smart phone checking on planting times, seed prices, gardening ideas, and other helpful tips – even while I’m out shopping! There are 3 main reasons that I LOVE vegetable gardening:
1. It is fun and although hard work it can be relaxing too! It’s also a great experience for my kids from seed to harvest!
2. It saves us a TON of money in the long run! We’re still eating food from my garden last year!
3. It’s healthier! You can pick food right out of the garden and eat it! Plus you can control what pesticides/fertilizers you do/do not want to use!
This year I am planning on using my smartphone and apps to help me keep an eye on my garden, remember to water/fertilize it, monitor the weather, etc. Last year I was very unprepared for some of the storms we had which took out several of my crops – and I certainly didn’t fertilize anything! It’s also helpful if you have access to a strong wireless network since you’ll be outdoors a lot! Here are several FREE apps for Androids to help you with your gardening this year!
1. Vegetable Gardening 101 (book app) – This is a great choice for all of you beginning gardeners out there! It’s a great starter book to read through and will help you decide how much space you need to garden, what to grow, how to care for your plants, etc.
2. Waterbot – This app is also a great app for beginner gardeners, or simply if you just have indoor household plants! It’s a pretty basic app that helps you set alarms and reminds you when to water your garden.
3. Garden Manager – This is one app that I will be using this year and already have it downloaded on my phone! This is a great option for those of you who are like me and are hard core gardeners! You can set multiple alarms to remind yourself to water, fertilize, etc (any custom task). You can also take photos of your gardens and share them on social media as you watch your garden grow.
4. The Weather Channel – I never thought I would use this app for gardening but I rely quite heavily on it during certain times of the growing season. Here in the Midwest last year we had some gorgeous weather, but we also had some freak bizarre weather that I wasn’t prepared for – and I lost some of my crops! Between tornadoes, micro burst wind storms, snow, freezing temperatures, and heat we have some pretty extreme temperatures. This app is great year-round of course but it particularly helps me be proactive on caring for my garden by watching the radar and keeping an eye on upcoming storms.
5. Happy Little Farmer Lite: This educational app is great for your kiddos and allows them to have a virtual garden while you keep up with your garden outside! (although I highly recommend also having kids create a “real life” garden of their own!) Kids can learn how to grow fruits and veggies, plow, plant, water, and keep bugs away from their virtual garden!
6. Hydroponics Grow App– A new adventure for me this year will be starting up and running our school hydroponic program thanks to some grants. This app will help me keep track of the nutrient conditions, pH, and other factors to monitor our garden.
A few photos from my garden last year!