This is a completely unsponsored post. I’ve just found this app useful and wanted to share it with you.
It’s no secret that I love podcasts. I listen to them while I clean the house, do the laundry, make dinner, and work on the computer. If you were to look at the podcasts I’ve subscribed to, you’d notice the topics range from science news to money and business to motherhood. And, of course, gardening.
It was on one of these gardening podcasts that I first learned about the topic of this post – a gardening app.
One day last year I was listening to the We Dig Plants podcast (they “put the culture in horticulture”) and they were speaking with one of the developers of an app called “GrowIt! Mobile“. A gardening app that is also a social media platform? I was intrigued, so naturally I downloaded it. My first impression wasn’t all that favorable – it seemed fairly limited in its usefulness. However, with some recent (read: in the past few months) updates, I’m becoming a bigger fan.
The idea of a garden app isn’t new; I’ve tried various apps, usually from different Extension programs, and they’ve all been fairly similar – you can select a plant from a list and you’ll be able to see the pertinent information for growing it (sunlight, water needs, growing time, etc.) The GrowIt! app, though it tells you all those same things, puts a different spin on it by calling it a way to “garden socially”. Instead of simply selecting a plant from a list, you can interact with other gardeners in your same area to rate various plants, ask for plant i.d. or other gardening help, or chime in with your own two cents on which plants are best to grow in the shade in your area.
The way it works is you create a profile (which can be as simple as a username) and using the GPS in your phone, it automatically pull into your feed pictures and questions from other GrowIt! Mobile users within a certain distance. You can change your location as well as the range it will pull from, and this can be a tricky part of the app. You want your range big enough to pull in other users to make it useful. But on the other hand, you’ll get the best advice and answers to questions from people who live in a similar climate and geographic location that you do. After that you can scroll through and admire the plants that others are growing, you can answer questions that might show up, or you can post pictures of your own plants and ask your own questions. Another features is the “Projects” tab where you can create your own projects (that can remain private, or be shared publicly) or you can follow along on others’ gardening projects.
I do have a couple of complaints about it. First, the number of plants in their database is obviously not infinite – there are plants that just don’t show up from their pick-lists when you’re trying to identify something, and this is especially true of weeds. On more than a few occasions I have come across a “Help Me Identify This Plant” questions/photo, with the plant in question being a weed. But because the plant name doesn’t occur in the database, I have to leave a comment instead of just identifying it, and I think that sometimes that makes things confusing. That being said, the list has expanded in the time I have been using it, and I imagine it will keep expanding. It also tends to be a little glitchy, and doesn’t always refresh well. All in all, these are minor complaints.
There is one area of the app that I still just don’t really get, and that is the “Gro-wards”. I guess maybe because I’m not a gamer, the idea of growing a pretend plant just doesn’t appeal to me. So I use the app to try and be helpful to others, to get some of my own questions answered, and to spark some ideas for my own current and future gardens; and I don’t really care what my “Grow-ward Level” is.
In the end, I think what I’ve decided is that the app is only as good (and as useful) as the community who uses it. In areas where there are more users, you’re able to connect with more gardeners and really make it a way to garden socially.
With all of that, I have an invitation: would you like to join me on GrowIt! Mobile? Connect with me (I’m heathersgarden) and we can swap plant ideas and tips.