The backyard garden might seem like the last place where you'd want to whip out a phone or tablet. But with the growing number of apps designed to help gardeners figure out an optimal layout, what to plant and when, and what to do with the eventual harvest, there's no reason to leave the phone inside...
Leafsnap and Organic Gardening Magazine
1. Leafsnap. Imagine using your smartphone to visually identify plants and trees pointing your device's camera at the leaves. Leafsnap does just that, a free and informative botanical app that can help gardeners identify what's growing by visually comparing a photo snapped with a smartphone or tablet camera against a database of more than 700 plants. Just remember the best results are produced when shooting leaves against a white background. Free
2. Garden Plan Pro. This iOS app is a must-have for a busy hobby gardener, garnering an array of recommendations from The Wall Street Journal, HuffPo, Wired, and was spotlighted as Apple's App of the Week. Garden Plan Pro helps gardeners using data from more than 6,500 weather stations in 20 countries for optimal planting scheduling and placement specific to location, while also offering planting reminders, and tips for plant spacing, crop rotation, and layout according to garden size. $9.99
3. Garden Squared. Garden Squared is one of the better garden planning apps for Android (although notably, other Android offerings are all pretty basic compared to the iOS Garden Plan Pro listed above). Nevertheless Garden Squared is a solid first start for Android gardeners starting on a new garden or plot, large or small, as the app can determine what to grow while tracking past crops with a journaling feature for detailed monitoring of plantings. Free
4. Organic Gardening Mag. Whether you're new to gardening or you're looking for a leisurely read while you sit on your porch and enjoy your harvest (sometimes inspirational photos can turn into aspirational-fueled action), Organic Gardening is a visually engaging and detailed guide to everything related to gardening without the use of pesticides (ideal for homes with pets and/or children). Topics covered include how-to guides, FAQs, garden spotlights, and much more related to planting, tending, and harvesting. Just note like most magazine-turned-apps, the magazine app itself is free, but each "issue" requires an in-app purchase. Free/In App Purchases
(Images: Scott's San Francisco Backyard; as linked above)