A Reminder of Time

A lack of passed-down wisdom regarding the many tips, hints, tricks and timing about gardening can be one of the biggest hurdles faced by new and experienced growers alike. “Traditionally, that has come from parents, grandparents or a gardening mentor,” says veteran gardener Don Zeidler, the director of direct marketing for W. Atlee Burpee & Co., the nation’s largest seed supplier. “But you don’t always have access to that.” Luckily, the Pennsylvania-based company recently introduced the Garden Time Planner, a free app for the iPhone, Android and tablet devices to help streamline the gardening process.

After you download the app, create a free account, enter your zip code and choose which plants you want to include in your garden, the app generates a task list and gives reminders about when to sow, transplant and harvest based on your particular region. The Garden Time Planner also includes links to videos that provide tips on how to grow particular plants, including suggested soil conditions and more. “You could use a book,” Zeidler notes, “but that would be another thing you’d have to carry around, whereas everybody carries a phone already. Also, a book isn’t going to remind you that next week you should start your tomato seeds.”

App founders say the planner was created in response to a spike in interest in gardening and the expansion of seed varieties available. “In recent years,” says Burpee Chairman and CEO George Ball, Jr., “we have seen thousands of first-time home gardeners planting vegetable gardens to both control the quality of the food they put on their tables and in response to the soaring costs being encountered in supermarkets. Even well-seasoned veteran gardeners were inquiring about growing conditions for the many new items introduced each gardening season.”

This summer, the company plans to roll out upgrades to the app, including the addition of flowers to their database as well as subvarieties of different vegetables and herbs. And while the Garden Time Planner was mainly designed for novice gardeners, it can also benefit seasoned horticulturalists as well, notes Zeidler, who used the automatic reminders this year to know when to plant his peppers and tomatoes indoors. “Even for experienced gardeners like myself, this just takes all the guesswork out of it,” he says. “It’s like having your grandfather or your uncle call you up and say, ‘Hey! It’s time to start your seeds.’”

Nicole Lessin

Find out more at burpee.com