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Organise Your Gardening: Gardroid App Review | 26 Android Apps in April for the #AtoZchallenge

Gardroid Android

Gardening is an activity I love, it a past time or hobby that requires both mental and physical exercise. It’s not enough to physically break your back maintaining your garden, you also need to observe, think and plan before taking action, that’s a fair bit of mental exercise too.

Having healthy productive plants requires tracking and remembering what you did, when and what action is next due, when. The old school method followed by serious gardeners is to have cards for each plant and the cards are updated regularly, so at a glance you know all about the plant.

But what if you can do all that tracking and planning with an app? Wouldn’t that be great? It would be much easier too.

I’ve been looking for a good app since the day I started to dabble in soil a couple of years back. And, I did find some really good apps but, they didn’t work well for non-US countries, that makes them useless for me in India. Then I found Gardroid.

Gardroid Android

 

What the Gardroid App’s supposed to do

 

Gardroid is quite a comprehensive gardening app. It doesn’t offer much in flowers, herbs and shrubs but it rocks for vegetables (Pro version has herbs and fruits). It offers a list of vegetables that you can choose and read about. (How these vegetables are listed in based on the type of category chosen – month, soil type or US hardiness zone.)

You can create a list of plants in your garden. Each plant will have details about it – when was it planted, transplanted, watered, fertilised, etc. You keep adding this data as it grows. (It also reminds you based on the plant.)

For each plant you can also add notes and mark each watering. Based on all this information it tentatively predicts harvest time. You also have the option to mark harvest time as an event on your calendar with one click, so you don’t forget.

Gardroid Android

Gardroid Android

 

How I’m using the Gardroid App

 

I use the app to track my vegetables and read about growing them as it’s the first time I’m growing a lot of them. Knowing when to sow and transplant is useful information when growing something.

Then comes marking them so each has a card from sow to harvest. I find the reminders really helpful and knowing when to harvest is really helpful when growing root vegetables like potatoes and radish.

Gardroid Android

Gardroid Android

 

My thoughts on the Gardroid App

 

I find the Gardroid app really helpful as it offers more options than just US hardiness zones and that makes it usable in India. But I’d love to see the option to choose my country/location and get plant recommendations based the climate and soil here.

Knowing what you can grow and when it will grow, is valuable information for newbie farmers. But for now, of all the apps available out there, I think Gardroid is the best. It offers the most options and is the easiest to use.

 

App details and link

 
Gardroid Android

Stars – ★★★★★
Developer – Google Inc.
Devices – Android
Size – 3.7M
Installs – 10,000 – 50,000
Link – Android Store

April 18, 2016   1 Comment

The Cycle of Life Workshop on Composting and Container Gardening

If you are into Organic Terrace Gardening and live in Bangalore, one of the names you’d hear very often is Vani Murthy. Vani is a treasure trove of information about composting and gardening.

Vani started out with composting and garbage segregation a few years ago. It was the compost she made that led her to gardening. She is a compost queen, there is very little Vani doesn’t know or hasn’t tried in the arena of composting.

I’ve been meaning to go for a workshop with her leading for a over a year now but something always comes up. This time when I got an email from the WCFM team, I scrambled to get things in place so I could attend. I didn’t want to miss out again.

Of course I didn’t know that my khambha was turning one in the same week or that I had been composting for over a year. Quite a coincidence wouldn’t you say?

The workshop had sounded great, a session with Vai on composting and a session with Hariram on terrace gardening. That’s two fish on one hook!

I got Devisri of Urban Dawg to sign up too and we arrived at the workshop destination in time to grab the front seats. In such things I’m a front bencher. 😀

The workshop started with an introduction to garbage and it’s problem. Uma, Claire, Vani and Shyamala walked us through the different types of garbage and how they can be managed and segregated. The stats are mind boggling when you realise how much waste we generate. And how much we can do by simply separating and sending the right junk to the right place.

Now that we understood types of garbage, Vani took over on her speciality – wet waste. She started out with explaining what wet waste was and then delved into the aerobic method of composting. It’s process and do’s and don’ts.

Vani then talked about the aerobic method, also called the bookish system and how it worked. This is a great method for indoor composting. This method also works better for meat and leftover food. And the leachate generated is an awesome payoff not only for plants but also drains!

Then she got to what I have been wanting to know about for a while now. Earthworms!

These little benign creatures can make for the fastest and best vermicompost. But they are also really delicate and fussy creatures. They need a lot of love and care!

That completed Vani’s session and we headed down to for Hariram’s session which was to be both theory and practical. Harris started out with telling us about his background in gardening.

He talked about how his grandma grew vegetables and how he outgrew the fascination of it as a child. But when his child commented one day that vegetables came from the fridge, he knew it was time to go back to the garden.

He started out small with 3-4 pots and today has over 140 pots. Over the last couple of years he has grown and documented a variety of herbs and vegetables – from sweet potato to corn.

After telling us about the types of soil, climate, sun, etc. Harris took a break for lunch. It was a simple wholesome lunch of bisibelabath and curd rice. This was followed up with the practical sessions.

The first thing we got our hands dirty with was mixing and preparing soil.

The bunch of us were split into groups and each group did one activity. Group two got on their knees to filled pots and grow bags with the prepared soil.

We then learned about planting seeds in seedling trays. How many seeds for what type of vegetable/herb and what depth.

After that it was time to transplant saplings. All the know how about removing and placing a little plant into a new pot.

All the practicals complete, we headed back to the presentation to learn about crop rotation, pests and friendly insects. How to discourage pests with organic methods and tips on encouraging the good insects.

And that completed our session. We’d exceeded the time limit and would have gone on I think, if we’d had a chance and choice.

I learned a lot in one day. The program was packed with knowledge and information. And the chance to pick the brains of experts like Vani and Hariram was an opportunity I’m glad I got. 😀

I’m so looking forward to getting my own Bokashi system set-up, making my composting more robust and getting my kitchen garden started off. Hopefully if all goes well, you’ll see me soon asking for help to eat all the veggies I grow. 😛

If you are into composting and/or gardening and would like to attend one of these workshops, please write in to cleangreenworkshops@gmail.com.

March 20, 2015   No Comments

N for November, N for Nature

I’ve always wanted to have a garden, not the pretty kind but the edible kind. :) Growing up we had a garden for a few years but those were my college years, who wanted to garden then. Later over the years I never had garden space, until now. Our new house has a little garden along one side of the house and I’ve enjoyed watering, working and watching it the last few months.

I’ve already had so many cool things happen because of the garden, that I figured I’d make a list of until now along with my wish list of stuff to do. Ok, lets get the want to do over with, coz that’s simple – This year I want to learn more about gardening, plants, and the birds and animals I see around here. And some of this I have plans for, for the rest there is YouTube so it’s all under-control. 😀

Now on to the highlights of the last four months, I figured photos would work well here. Hope you enjoy it. :)

The garden in full spring bloom…

There were so many flowers I didn’t take photos of, why, [hitting my head] I have no idea; but here are some that I did get –

And I’ve seen fruits galore too, I forgot to click the drumsticks and you saw the Singapore Cherries yesterday. Here are the others until now –

The garden’s brought in creatures galore too. From rats to bats and a large variety of lizards –

Not to forget the Spectacled Cobra we caught the other day 😀

The latest news is we’ve got a nest now. I saw it first on Monday and today I found a egg. :) Seems to belong to either robins or bulbuls, need to watch out for the birds.

After the snake incident I’ve taken to having the dogs around when I’m watering the garden, but here’s what happens on some days while there are still muddy puddles… 😛 (Thankfully Max loves being hosed down)

I’ve been enjoying the garden, it’s a bit of work watering it everyday but it has something new for me to see every day. Can’t wait to get my hands dirty in there over the next few months.

Do you have a garden? Love gardening? Which is your go to place for gardening advise?

May 1, 2014   1 Comment

Swatch, Wood, Fruits and a Flood

The last couple of weeks have been quite busy, and I haven’t been able to blog much. Just getting the book reviews posted was a challenge. But things kind of eased off a bit recently and Che and I have been doing a lot of stuff.

Last Sunday I went to the Microsoft Office 365 Education Indiblogger Meet. This was my second Indiblogger event. I’d felt like such a stranger at my first one, it was nice to look forward to faces this time. A shout out to my friends – Vidya Sury who is such a wonderful bubbly person, Farida an awe-inspiring woman who writes ‘Chapters From My Life’, Priya who writes a Home Living in Style blog, and last but not the least Siddharth, who is so little and yet so much… :) It was nice catching up with you guys. Special thanks to Vidya for tipping me off about the event and offering me an incentive to attend.

The event itself was so-so – the seating arrangement was non-existent, and so was the food. We had been promised lunch but we only got starters, which also disappeared even before the serving plates were put down. The Microsoft guys spoke for ages, and after a while a lot of people drifted away. I did have fun but more because of the people not the event. Highlight was that I won a Swatch watch in the twitter #Cloudblogathon contest.

This week Che also had a shoot at the KYNKYNY Furniture factory and I tagged along as assistant. Watching the precision they work the wood with was an awesome experience. I love the work and Vivek’s obsession with perfection. I hope to own a lot of KYNKYNY furniture someday :)

The highlight of my week was seeing fruits on my tomato and chilli plants. This is the first time I’m growing vegetables and herbs and I was so looking forward to this.

Other than all this, just when I thought I had caught up with my reading list and brought it under control, I got flooded with new books. Che gifted me with the Feast of Roses & Shadow Princess, book 2 & 3 of the Taj Mahal series by Indu Sundaresan for our 3rd anniversary. Vidya gave me three books at the Indiblogger event – The Bankster by Ravi Subramanian, Scammed: Confessions of a Confused Accountant by Anonymous, The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino. Got Once Upon a Prince by Rachel Hauck from Booksneeze. And there’s two more from authors – Rising of a Dead Moon by Paul Haston and Jacob Hills by Ismita Tandon Dhanker.

I’ve got a packed week ahead with books and a holiday. :) Che and I are taking a few days off to visit a friends farm. I’m looking forward to some time away from the city, without lists and to-do’s. I so need some quiet time. Have you ever felt like you’ll burst if you don’t get away for a bit?

June 9, 2013   3 Comments

About This and That and Here and There

This week has been a fun week but has been busy too. We went to see a friend at the farm he staying at and had such a good time that we decided to take the dogs for a day to have a picnic. No prizes for guessing whether the dogs had fun. They went all out running, sniffing, playing and marking areas 😀 They played so much that they came back a slept most of that evening and the next day!

Cuckoo being cuckoo of course tasted all plants in sight so next morning we found her broken out in rashes. It was nothing a good bath and some antihistamines couldn’t sort out, so now she’s all Tide white and cuddly cute.

I’ve been trying out the neem and apple cider vinegar mix on the dogs to keep ticks and fleas away and it seem to be working. I had sprayed the dogs down well before we went to the farm and they haven’t picked up anything. So, either the spray worked or the farm and dogs there didn’t have any fleas or ticks.

After two days out on the farm we were all tired, so yesterday was rest day with us lazing around catching up with friends. We watched a movie too! ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’ was just the right movie for yesterday. When I got to know it had Emma Watson in it, I was looking forward to see what I thought of her as not being ‘Hermione’ and I wasn’t disappointed. She is a good actress and the movie is definitely a must watch (not just because of her)! The movie is based on a book of the same name by Stephen Chbosky, should add this book to my to-read list for sure…

Other than that its life as usual 😀 Oh yeah, the one thing I haven’t talked about on the blog (I wanted to avoid it getting jinxed :P) was my attempt at growing a kitchen garden. Since the first few plants I bought were doing well I figured I should try and set up a mini garden. My first attempt at germinating chillies, tomatoes and the like was a disaster. Most plants died and just a couple survived. But I’ve just started out again trying to germinate a new batch and things seem to be looking up :) A big thanks is due to the guys at Garden Guru, a store near home that is run by three guys trying to promote home gardening. They have been helpful guides, answering my many questions and encouraging me to not give up. Do check out the store – Garden Guru – and stop by if you need help :) And you can follow my journey on Greening My Fingers here.

I also spent a lot of time on Feedly yesterday. I’ve been a bit shaken after Google’s news of removing Google Reader. All my feeds are on GR and I was quite upset about how I would move them away without losing out on my RSS feeds. Google seems to be making these crazy announcements, a while back they said they would remove FeedBurner too, and I’m yet to find a replacement. Hrrummph… Wish Google wouldn’t make such crazy-ass announcements. That said maybe it’s a good thing, since all such things will over time reduce my dependency on Google and that in the long run saves me for the dangers of monopoly.

Now Feedly is an excellent app to use when following and reading blogs. It does a good job of layout and also integrates with my various social media channels. That means I can post or mark to read later as I browse. Feedly also works on all platforms and syncs beautifully across all of them. So, I can move between devices without skipping a beat. As of now they are still depended on Google Reader to save RSS feeds but are actively working towards setting something up before GR shuts down so users can move to Feedly from GR seamlessly. This is one move I’m glad to make and looking forward to it too! (Down Google, Bad Boy!)

Ok that was a long update post. Onto some interesting articles I came across yesterday…

Jeff Bullas blog has an infographic on the 9 Reasons Why Facebook needs a ‘I Don’t Care’ Button that I associated with and laughed along as I saw them. There are just so many times I’ve thought ‘who care’s’ when scrolling on Facebook.

For all readers out there, Book Riot has 6 Bookish Cartoons you are sure to enjoy. I did!

Facebook has announced Lookalike Audiences, which sounds great from a marketers perspective as it gives more targeting control but I’m not so sure about how I feel about my facebook profile information becoming a statistic in their data. Also have to wait and see just how well the targeting works considering the spam audiences I’ve seen while promoting posts on pages.

In other Social Media News Pinterest is rolling out a new look to improve user experience. This is something I’m looking to get my hands on, but not sure if it’ll roll out for apps simultaneously. Hope I don’t have to wait to see it on the iPad.

Also found a new cool blog All About Ami through a post on Chris’s blog about a Chinese New Year Snake she made with crochet. All About Ami has some lovely ideas and designs that I’d like to crochet sometime soon :)

Wow! That’s a long post! Word says 931 words until now. So I’m gonna wind up here. If you’ve read until now, thank you :) if, you haven’t then guess it doesn’t matter coz you’re not gonna read it anyway 😀

See ya laters…

March 21, 2013   4 Comments

Revenge and Green Fingers

Last week was a blur of activity. We started the week with Pascal coming to Bangalore. – In our family we have six dogs. Three with us, one with my Mom and Bro and two with my in-laws. Our long term plan is to keep all the dogs with us in a big place and this was our first step in this direction. Pascal came to Bangalore, got groomed thoroughly and got neutered too! He’s now being homed at Windward Kennels while going through re-hab and training to settle down in a all new place. As a child I loved the Golden my neighbour had – he was amazing. It’s going to be fun getting to know Pascal and having him around.

I’ve never really tried gardening and don’t know if I have green fingers. My Mom does, she always has a flourishing garden. So, I decided to give it a go and bought three plants for my balcony (until now I’ve only had the money-plant in a bottle). One looks like a mini Christmas tree, the other is an ornamental plant with green and white mixed leaves and the last is a herb I guess since its supposed to keep snakes away. I bought them from a little boy who came by home last week but since he only spoke Kannada I don’t know what these plans are called. That’s this weeks project – identify the plants 😀

Our latest TV hook is Revenge on StarWorld. We watched the first episode this Saturday and liked it. And as always with serials that we like, we don’t have patience to wait week on week so we downloaded and watched 6 episodes in a row. More to go today… Revenge is a story set in the Hamptons in the ‘upper class’. Amanda’s father had been wrongfully charged and punished when she was a child. She is now back as Emily Thorne to take revenge on all those involved and each episode is a new plot.

In other news – I spent a lot of time browsing my feeds on Feedly this week. Should have a list of articles you may have missed for you to read tomorrow. :)

October 15, 2012   No Comments