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Published January 15th, 2014
Digging Deep with Cynthia Brian
Technology in the Garden
By Cynthia Brian
Walk around a pond during the month for a dose of inspiration. Photos Cynthia Brian

"All through the long winter I dream of my garden." - Helen Hayes
By now most of us have made resolutions for the New Year. We pledged to become more organized, lose weight, be kinder, and enjoy life more fully. I want to add to these lofty goals by suggesting that we become enlightened, technological gardeners.
For millenniums, most of the tools of our trade were simple - trowels, shovels, spades, pruning shears, saws, wheelbarrows, and buckets. Designs were constructed with paper, pencil, string, and chalk. Modernization brought us gas and electric conveniences including lawn mowers, blowers, hedge trimmers, chain saws, nightscaping, and automatic irrigation. When we needed to learn more, we'd head to the library, buy books, read newspapers and magazines, or go to our local nursery for advice. When we had a major problem, the county farm extension became our best friend. In the last 10 years, if we were computer literate, finding information via an Internet search was just a few keystrokes away.
This year, technology is making planning and growing easier. With a download to our smart phones, gardeners can simply access apps that will answer most questions, introduce us to new species, diagnose problems, and create the ultimate landscape.
Are you ready to experiment using technology in the garden? Begin 2014 with a tech bang by checking out any of these phone apps for your garden. Some are not quite ready for prime time, but they are a good beginning. If you are not a gardener, this short list of apps may convince you that nature rules. And to sweeten the deal, these apps are all free!
Garden Compass:
This app allows you to shoot a picture of a pest or plant for submittal to a selective team of garden experts who will identify and provide specific product recommendations. This app is an easy way to solve a pesky problem.
Garden Minder: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/gardenminder/id510434403?mt=8
Want to design the perfect raised bed for edibles? This all-in-one app offers lists of vegetables from A-Z with simple directions on when and how to plant and cultivate.
Garden Time Planner:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/garden-time planner/id594225389?mt=8
Including annual flowers in the database, this tool from Burpee will show you when to sow and when to reap your vegetables and fruit specific to your region to ensure a hearty harvest.

Leaf Snap:
Have you ever been on a hike and found a leaf that you just had to know what it was? Leafsnap was designed by researchers from the University of Maryland, the Smithsonian, and Columbia University. Snap a photo of any leaf and the app will identify the species! This makes experts of us all.
Our Rose Garden:
If you are a rose lover, you will love this app created by the University of Illinois Extension. It includes videos, a gallery to track your rose favorites, and information on planting, pruning, and caring for the hardest working plant in your collection.
Diagnostic Sample Submission:

Similar to the Garden Compass app, the Plant Diagnostic Sample Submission allows you to submit digital photos to a university diagnostic laboratory for identification of diseases and pests. No more need to wonder if you have spider mites or rust, this app could become a farmer's best friend.
Now that it is winter and we've put our gardens to bed, instead of just dreaming about the future, let's go into action and embrace the latest technology to help us become the best stewards of our yards as possible. Dream it! Do it! Start clicking!

Cynthia Brian's Mid-Month Reminders
By Cynthia Brian

- PRUNE your roses towards the end of the month.
- PLANT bare-root trees, vines, and roses now.
- VISIT the San Francisco Botanical Garden, home
to the most significant magnolia collection for
conservation purposes outside of China during the
annual Magnolia Bloom Jan. 15-March 31 to take
advantage of docent and curator led daytime and
moonlight tours plus family activities.
- CLEAR creeks running through your property of
debris. Even though the weather has been dry, a
storm could cause flooding if your storm drains are
- JOIN a garden club. If you live in Lafayette, I'll be
speaking to the Happy Valley Garden Club on Feb. 3!
- WALK in nature at least once a week to restore
balance to your life.

Wishing you a year filled with the gift of beauty, learning, and digging.
Happy Gardening and Happy Growing!

Cynthia Brian
The Goddess Gardener
Cynthia is available as a speaker and consultant.

If they weren't damaged by the freeze, naval oranges will be ready to pick at the end of the month.
Yellow Narcissus
Potted cyclamen brighten a winter border or path. Photos Cynthia Brian
Don't miss the magnificent magnolias at the San Francisco Botanical Gardens.

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