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February 25, 2014

Apps for growers

There are more websites and apps to help greenhouse growers than ever before. We’ve created a short guide to help you find the most useful.

Smartphones and tablets are everywhere these days and most of us are glued to their screens. A study from Experian Marketing Services found that Americans spend at least 58 minutes a day on their smart phones. But can you put that high-powered technology to work in your greenhouse?

As a matter of fact you can. The apps feature on your phone is an open market and greenhouse growers have a multitude of useful apps they should have on their smartphones right now, and tons of websites have been mobile-optimized for use on all your different devices. Shown below are a few of the sites and free apps (except where otherwise noted) that we believe you will find useful.

• The Greenhouse Pest Guide was developed by a team from the University of Massachusetts and the University of Connecticut. It’s been mobile-optimized for use on browsers, smart phones, and other devices. Designed for commercial greenhouse crop and flower growers, the site is a pest-management reference guide and it contains options for both biologicals and pesticides. The biologicals and pesticide information tabs range from aphids to whiteflies and give you an idea of how to counter listed pests. To view or use the website on your device, vist

• The Biobest Pesticide Side Effects app is available on your smart phone. It allows users to search for information on their biological control agents, pollinators, and crop protection products. Search by trade name or active ingredients, then add up to three ingredients and three beneficial organisms for comparison. It then compares the information and tells you their compatibility.

• The Greenhouse Grower’s Toolbox Lite is a free app for commercial and hobby growers. It’s available on iPhones through the app store. The easy-to-use app allows growers to calculate treatment PPM or volume (in liters) of various products and acids when added to water. It also allows you to calculate area or volume of greenhouse structures, and to calculate greenhouse irrigation flows, rates, and volumes (for media based dripper systems).

If money’s not an object, there’s a pay-for-use version of the app that costs $32.99. The full app has eight calculators (as opposed to the three offered by the Lite version). The additional features allow you to calculate boiler fuel cost, hydronic boiler size, irrigation pump capacity, irrigation rate targets, and radiation and light unit comparisons.

• The Plant Sample Submission app is another one for Apple users. It allows growers to submit digital photo samples of troubled plants to the universities of their choice for diagnosis or identification. There are currently eight universities accepting submissions via the app.

• DuoLingo is an app that might help you inside and outside the greenhouse. The free ad-less app uses videogame-like levels to teach the basics of a new language. You currently can choose from six languages: English, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, German, and French. Then embark on a quest through several stages to demonstrate your gradual mastery of your selected language. In an increasingly multilingual world it never hurts to speak a little Espanol.

To view the website for Duolingo go to

• The University of New Hampshire developed a neat app that provides quick and accurate dilutions for commercial PGR needs. It’s called the PGR Mix Master and it’s fairly simple to use. Plug in the gallons and PPM and select your PGR type. The app does the rest, giving you all the calculations in a clear white box.

• Nitrogen Sensor Analysis, courtesy of Oklahoma State University, allows you to select your plant type, plug in the SPAD, NDVI, and the Leaf Nitrogen concentration. Then, select how many days have passed since you planted and receive a recommendation.

There’s one more app that we’d like to not-so-humbly suggest for your downloading and perusing pleasure: the updated Greenhouse Management app. It’s new and fresh, after having been updated and re-launched. Our app is filled with your favorite monthly content, plus many interactive bonuses and animation.

Enjoy. — Chris Mosby



Multimedia Minute

Tour an Aquaponic Geodesic Domed Greenhouse
Bigelow Brook Farm spent two years constructing an aquaponic, geodesic, domed greenhouse. Take a look at the fruits of their labor.
Watch the video here:

How to hand pollinate orchids
In this video from Brad’s Greenhouse, viewers get a close-up look at how to hand pollinate orchids in a greenhouse.
Watch the video here:

Tomato and pepper growing tips
The Virginia Farm Bureau tours a greenhouse and learns its methods and practices for tomato and pepper growing.
Watch the video here:


Did you know?

Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin met at Stanford and launched their first search engine on the university’s browsers in 1996. They called their invention BackRub. The name was changed to Google in 1997.



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