Review of the Botanical Interests iPhone App

by Fern on October 5, 2009

in Product Review

I’m very excited to tell you guys about a great iPhone app from Botanical Interests seeds, my favorite seed company. You know how Botanical Interests seed packets have beautiful drawings and an insane amount of info? Yeah, well they brought their great sense of style and desire to share tons of info to the iPhone and iPod touch.

The app starts up with a menu screen that allows you to browse through information about vegetables and herbs, search their database, look at your favorites list, or find general growing information.

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There are 300 varieties of vegetables and herbs in the app’s database. Each entry contains the front of the seed packet, and all of the info that would normally be on the back and inside of the seed packet. For those of you who have never purchased Botanical Interests seeds (uh, why not?!) this is a ton of info: a paragraph or two about the history of the plant’s cultivation, suggestions for how to eat it and use it in the garden, nutritional factoids, when to start the seeds, any special growing information, when and how to harvest, etc.

The search feature is particularly useful. You can search for a plant by name, number of days to maturity, or by checking one or more of 10 plant characteristics. This is great if you want to know which herbs can be grown in partial-shade, or which tomatoes mature in 75 days.

I imagine people will use the favorites feature a lot during the winter as they dream of plants they want to grow next year. Bored in line at the bank? Browse through the vegetables and herbs in the app and add them to your favorites list for later.

Another thing you can do while waiting in line is browse through the tips and information section of the app to increase your edible growing IQ. It’s also a great resource when you’re wondering why your cucumbers taste bitter or why your radicchio hasn’t formed a head yet.

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All in all, I’m happy to give this app five stars. It’s beautiful and I can see it being very useful to me.

What I’d like to see in future editions:

  • Expand the database to include flowers and ornamental plants.
  • The ability to buy Botanical Interests seeds directly from the app. I know Apple is kind of crazy when it comes to their app rules, so I don’t know if that’s possible, but it would be really cool!
  • The ability to store my own growing notes in the app. I would love to be able to note which seeds I’ve already purchased, when I bought them, when I sowed them, if they worked well in my garden, anything I learned about growing that plant, etc.
  • I have no idea if this would be possible, but it would be neat (and very web 2.0ish) if you could share your growing notes with other people using the app.
  • A lower price point, most other gardening apps are selling for between .99 and 2.99. Maybe the ability to buy seeds through the app would help Botanical Interests justify a lower price (I’m sympathetic to the fact that it is expensive to develop apps).

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