While it may seem counterintuitive to be thinking about next year’s garden now, when it’s peak tomato season in many parts of the US, it actually makes a lot of sense to plan a garden while you can still see the good, bad, and the ugly results from this year’s efforts.
Garden Plan Pro for iPad aims to help a vegetable gardener stay organized and get better results from all that sowing, weeding, watering, and (hopefully) harvesting.
Before considering whether Garden Plan Pro is right for you, it’s important to know that at $19.99, Garden Plan Pro is one of the more expensive apps gardeners will find in the app store. The app also requires a significant time commitment from the user.
As soon as the user opens the app, she is offered a 10-minute video tutorial:
Watching this video on YouTube before purchasing the app is a good way for an individual user to gauge whether they want to put in the work to learn how to use the program.
Because Garden Plan Pro aims to be comprehensive, there is a learning curve with the app. While the most successful iOS apps offer users an extremely intuitive interface, Garden Plan Pro feels cumbersome at times. It isn’t so complex as to be impossible, but it requires the user to master a number of different skills to set up the garden.
When it’s time to create a new plan, it may also be helpful to view the example plan included in the app. I found it very difficult to open the app and create a plot, even though I had watched the welcome video twice. It took me three tries to draw my first rectangular garden plot. It was also cumbersome to move back and forth between drawing plots and adding plants.
The app allows users to toggle between Square Foot Gardening mode, which is used for raised planting beds, and standard mode, where vegetables are put into the ground.
On a more positive note, it seems like the work one puts into the app one year will benefit the user the following year, since gardeners can add new yearly plans to the app without starting from scratch. Garden Plan Pro also encourages users to rotate crops by remembering the last five years of planting, and will actually warn you not to plant peppers where you grew your tomatoes last year.
The app also comes with a free online service that will send the user planting reminders up to twice a month. It also includes a number of guides with topics covering issues like pest control, planning a vegetable garden, and saving seeds that newer gardeners may find helpful
Download Garden Plan Pro for iPad from the App Store for $19.99
What I liked: Garden Plan Pro does a great job helping educate gardeners about which crops to grow together, and showing exactly when to plan which type of seed or seedling. The app is only 139 MB, so even though it offers many functions, it doesn’t take up a lot of room on the iPad.
What I didn’t like: Garden Plan Pro is difficult to use. The app requires the user to go back and forth between drawing a shape, and adding plants. Though the user can draw shapes besides a rectangle, it is not easy to figure out how to do this. Adding customized plants grew onerous after awhile. It would be great if the company offered a lite version of the app for users who are unsure if they want to spend $20 upfront.
To buy or not to buy: Whether or not a user will be happy with Garden Plan Pro depends on how you plan to use it. It is well worth $20 if the design fits how you garden, but if you are planning, for example to grow strains of vegetables that aren’t in the database, the app might become frustrating. If you are on the fence consider test driving the web version of the app for 30 days. While there are sure to be some differences, it would be a free way to get to know Growing Interactive’s products.
- App Name: Garden Plan Pro
- Version Reviewed: 1.0.5
- Category: Lifestyle
- Developer: Growing Interactive Ltd.
- Price: $19.99