10 iPhone apps help new gardeners plan, design and troubleshoot

I'm new to this whole food growing thing. And this year is my first with a proper yard with beds waiting to be planted.

Having come from a long line of gardeners, you'd think I would know what I was doing, but alas I didn't pay attention when I was younger, and now I live too far away from family to really take advantage of that wealth of knowledge.

But maybe that's where a handy lil' iPhone app can help. 10 in fact. Mashable recently compiled a list of 10 Great iPhone Apps for Growing a Garden (thank you, Emily Jubenvill, for the link!), which include tools for:

>> Plant identification: Perfect for those saunters through the neighbourhood when scoping out your neighbours' yards for ideas (iPhone apps: Landscaper’s Companion and Garden Pilot)

>> Fruit growing: For those of us who are totally intimidated by the mechanics of growing berry bushes (iPhone apps: Fruit Garden)

>> Harvesting schedules by zone: So you know when you can finally call the folks over for that asparagus dinner you've been promising (iPhone apps: iGarden USA and Botanical Interests)

>> Pest control: Finally an answer to what's been nibbling at your tomatoes (iPhone app: Bugs and Insects)

>> Tree and shrub identification: So you can build some privacy into your yard for those rare topless gardening days (iPhone app: Botany Buddy)

>> High-yield herbs: Herbs are the cornerstone of any kitchen garden; the trick is to grow them in abundance (iPhone app: Herbs+)

>> Garden design: For turning the mayhem into a zen garden haven (iPhone app: Gardens)

>> Plant 9-1-1: When there's something strange in your garden bed, who you gonna call? (iPhone app: The Plant Doctor)

>> Gardening tools: Know where to get a good pair of gardening gloves when you spring a hole in your old ones (iPhone app: iLocate – Gardening Supplies)

While I haven't tried any of these apps out yet, I plan to do some testing when I get my iPhone (crossing fingers it's this week!).

Important gauges for determining if these tools are useful are: whether the app makes me feel more confident in the garden; whether the information is accurate and definitive, versus being general and unhelpful; whether the information is suited to my specific climate (Lower Mainland); and whether I keep coming back to use the app again and again.

If you've tried any of these yourself or know of another great smart phone app, don't keep it to yourself! Chime in below!