One of the great things about gardening is that it gets you away from the pesky screens that nowadays tend to rule our lives. Who needs tech when you have fresh air? Well I do actually!
Until the day comes when you know everything there is to know about gardening (and that never happens), the internet is a valuable addition to the tool rack. Even magnificent Monty admits that he is still learning, so the rest of us have no hope.
Some garden tech sites are more valuable than others. I have a lot of time for Quickcrop which will sell you high quality stuff to support your veg growing but also offers a library of invaluable (free) videos. Crocus is an equally superb resource if you need help on flowers. But the one that rules for me right now is Shoot. Before I plug it any further, I should make clear that this blog isn’t being paid for. I just happen to like what the folk who run it are doing. They also respond quickly and personally when you email them.
Tech on tap from Shoot
Shoot is not so much a website as a friend who helps you plan and manage your garden. But this friend sticks around and gives you a gentle nudge when things need to be done.
At its most basic (free) level, Shoot is a massive, world-leading database of 23,000 plants you can search . You can identify what you have or want but also understand what makes them tick; their size and spread, soil preferences, hardiness and much more.
If you like what you see you can sign up for a free membership trial to test out the other goodies on offer in the Shoot shed. If you ultimately join it will cost you £36 a year which I reckon is a small price for what it gives you. Go there and you have all you need to log each plant in your garden and (best of all) receive monthly individual care guidance. You can keep notes for each plant and add your own photos. You also have access to award-winning garden design software. If you get a professional in to re-design your garden the chances are that Shoot is the system he or she will be using to plan and present it to you.
Shoot is also a community with 100,000 members, and allows you to link with others who have similar interests or who garden in your area. If you have an issue, you can usually find others who have been there before you and know the answers.
Tech protects your garden investment
But the big argument for Shoot is that it can actually save you money. Even a modest garden probably represents an investment running into hundreds of pounds worth of plants at any time. Go up a notch in your ambitions and you could well be into the thousands. You then invest your own valuable time and energy into planting and nurturing. You quite possibly also support that with consumables like compost and fertilisers.
Shoot is in effect an insurance policy against getting it wrong. So you don’t put an expensive acid-loving azalea in a lime soil. And if you want a rose that will flower from June to December rather than just a couple of weeks in July it will help you spend your money wisely.
Give it a go – you have nothing to lose and much to gain.