Top 10 gardening apps for the Note II
The birds are singing. The trees have little green flappy things on them again. Children have come out of hibernation. For ‘tis springtime, when any right-thinking man's mind ought to turn to one thing - gardening.
It's also the time of year when the big money hits the cultivation scene, with both the Harrogate Flower Show and Chelsea Flower Show doing their bit to make having dirty fingernails and aching knees oh-so-fashionable.
Obviously with this being the future, you don't want to just blunder out there with your dibber in your hand and no clue as to what should be poked in and where. You need to know the basics. And if you already know the basics thanks to having an enthusiastic dad, you need to know more advanced gardening techniques to ensure you can laugh at those struggling with the basics.
You won't be able to produce apples on the sort of industrial scale that Tesco demands, but, with the help of some of the best gardening smartphone apps out there today, you should at least be able to manage to produce something a bit more impressive than cress.
Before you get down to the tedious act of actually digging, planting, watering and preying to the gods to let your seeds actually germinate and turn into something resembling living things, you might want to check out where to actually put your seeds first.
Sun Seeker generates an augmented reality overlay of the sun's position, so you can identify sunny and shady spots of your patch - and allocate plant positions according to their lighting needs. Get this right and your chances of success are higher before the soil’s even been broken.
One of the prettiest apps for gardeners, Gardenate incorporates everything you need to get your carrots pointing the right way up and your beans the fashionable length.
Its most critical feature is a gardening calendar, letting you know when most types of common plants like to be planted, as if you plant a summer veg in the cold British spring you're going to be left with an embarrassing withered mess. It also gives you space to record your own notes in its 'My Garden' section, so you can track the progress of your stuff and estimate the date of your bountiful harvest.
Garden Manager: Plant Alarm
This one's a clever little interactive calendar, which lets you automate the tiresome process of having to remember to do things.
It lets you set custom alarms to remind you when to water thirsty pot plants, also providing a growth chart if you're bored enough that you want to measure your seedlings and generate a graph illustrating just how quickly they’ve been shooting up. There's also a bizarre photo diary feature, should you want a permanent memory of a carrot you grew particularly fond of.
This one mirrors the sort of basic advice you get printed on seed packets, telling you when's the right time of year to literally sow your wild oats, complete with approximate harvest time and rough maintenance advice.
It also comes with an editable notes field, so you can add your own little observations, tweaks and tips, gradually building up your experiences of what does and doesn't work for you.
Remember To Water
You know those flower things and those lettuces? They are made mostly from water, just like us humans. And, just like us, they also need watering, else they go all floppy and eventually wither away and die, giving nutrition only to worms and maggots.
Which is where Remember To Water comes in. It does one thing -- bugs you endlessly with alarms and reminders about filling up the watering can and giving the gift of liquid to your suffering little plants. Guilt-free gardening awaits those who set up its daily watering schedules.
If you're all out of inspiration, try this. The National Trust app features a searchable database of all its properties in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, where you'll be able to see just how neat and alive things can look when planted and maintained by professionals.
It fully embraces Android’s excellent Navigation GPS system, so once you’ve found a place you like the look of, one press instructs Google’s robots to generate a route and feed it into the GALAXY Note II’s satnav for instant guidance right to the hopefully free car parking facilities.
Those of you after something a bit more advanced are best holing up in the shed with a download of Gardeners Calendar.
This goes into more complex tips regarding soil PH levels, germination temperatures and what kind of sunny or shady aspect plants prefer, for those of you eager to take their DIY planting to the next level of super-size home produce. This one's a paid app costing £1 to buy, buy you could recoup that investment back from one monster, two-kilo carrot alone.
ColdSnap! Frost Alarm
Plants have lots of enemies. Slugs eat them. People stand on them. Dogs lie on them. And Mother Nature sometimes even turns on its own creations, with sub-zero temperatures killing delicate plants before they've had a chance to bloom.
ColdSnap! helps you avoid frosty plant death by monitoring future weather conditions and letting you know if there's cold weather on the way. So you can move pot plants indoors, get some fleece on your seedlings and sit out there all night with a hot water bottle on your most precious crops.
This app, from the University of Bristol, is there for you as a last resort. It lets users track rogue, invasive plants that are tearing their way unchecked through the countryside. If you have grown something deadly, something that cannot be killed and is in fact multiplying and spreading, use this.
It lets the makers notify the authorities about dangerous plant life, so a man in a plastic suit can be sent round to spray it out of existence and burn the remnants.
Gardeners' World Magazine
Or why not read about other people doing it properly? Google recently launched its fully featured digital magazine service in the UK, letting users of modern Android-powered phones buy stacks of magazines straight through their phones.
The GALAXY Note II's large display is ideally suited for reading mags, with its high-res output making text easy to read while on the go. Ideal for when it's raining or you've give up in a sulk because the snails launched an unstoppable offensive on your cabbages.