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Columns

Learning to Grow: ‘Technology geek’ uses smartphone as garden aid

Vicki Hagstotz uses the free smartphone app Evernote to store links, notes, photographs and audio recordings of her garden.
Vicki Hagstotz uses the free smartphone app Evernote to store links, notes, photographs and audio recordings of her garden.

I am a garden geek, and I am also a technology geek. I love it when two of my passions collide. I recently started using Evernote – a free app that is a digital notebook that can store links, notes, photographs and audio recordings.

It is your garden journal right at your fingertips. My smartphone is always with me in the garden. I love to take pictures of newly planted veggies and then compare them with photos later in the season.

With Evernote, when I take quick notes or snap several photos while in the garden, the information automatically synchs with my laptop. It is then easy to edit and add more information when I have a free moment, and the dates and photos are logged.

Since I am just beginning to learn the capabilities of this little organizational app, here are a few things to get you started.

When seeds or transplants are planted, type a note and place it in the notebook.

Take photos in Evernote and document your garden layout, veggie transplants, varieties planted by seed, etc. ... .

It is a great way to remember where you planted tomatoes, how many kale plants were planted, and how many rows of beets were started from seed.

Once documented for the current growing season, you can refer to your notes next year for planning crop rotation, revising garden layout and choosing successful varieties.

Another handy use for this application is scanning or taking photos of seed packets or plant labels for documenting varieties planted. Later in the season, you can make notes comparing varieties, harvest information and disease resistance. Make sure to log general weather information along the way as well.

Tags are a helpful way to be able to easily search for information at a later date.

For example, if you use the tag “fertilizer” and tag each crop as you fertilize them, you will know the dates fertilized and the last time you fertilized that particular crop.

I’m excited to become more familiar with Evernote so that I can really optimize this nifty organizational tool. Once I figure out how to use this app for my garden, I think I’ll try and get my knitting projects organized.

• Vicki Hagstotz is a University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener for Kane County. Call the extension office at 630-584-6166 for more information.

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