Leander man develops IPad app for garden enthusiasts

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A new gardening app for iPad users is helping gardening enthusiasts keep better track of what they planted, where they’ve planted it and how they’ve cared for their garden.

The app is called Veronica’s Garden Tracker and was designed by Leander resident Jeffery Martin, who, in 2012, made the decision to leave his IT job at Home Depot and form his own company, which he named Fluffy White Puppy Software. He started designing his first app, which was inspired by his wife, Veronica, who is a master gardener in Williamson County.

“Several years ago, I built about eight raised beds that were 4’ x 8’ for my wife to garden,” Martin said. “She planted the plants, and one day I walked out there and there were little seedlings coming up. I asked her, ‘What are these?’ and she said, ‘Oh gosh, I forgot what I planted there.’”

He came up with the idea of a gardening app that would allow gardeners to keep track and monitor their own gardens.

“That’s what I set out to do,” Martin said. “I said I’m going to make an app for her, so she can just go out there with her iPad and record everything.”

The app took him longer to develop than he initially planned — about 15 months — because it took a while to figure out how to write IOS software. Martin launched the app in January, and it is now available on iTunes for 99 cents. For every download, Martin receives about 70 cents.

Martin said the app has gotten a positive response and he’s also gotten valuable feedback from users on additional features they’d like to see added.

“So to really earn a decent living, I need about 100 people per day to download it,” he said. “Right now I’m doing a lot of social media marketing.”

Martin said he plans to add additional features and have the program translated into additional languages, which will eventually allow him to raise the price of the app. The app’s current features allow users to create a grid that reflects the measurements of their own garden and to easily record by the square foot what plants are planted where.

It also allows users to input and track environmental factors such as the number of sunlight hours each day, fertilizer history and the pH balance of the soil. It also allows users to input key dates such as when plants were first planted, when they began producing fruit and when they were harvested. It also has a feature to track the watering schedule. However, Martin said the app is not really a gardening ‘how-to.’

“You have to have gardener knowledge to know what you’re supposed to do,” he said. “Putting a garden tutorial would be a lot more expensive and take me a lot more time.”

He said some of the features he may add in the future include a pop-up reminder function, a feature to record pesticide history and a photo upload feature. He noted that the app does not work on iPhones since the screens are not large enough.

One reviewer on iTunes wrote, “Veronica and I must be related, as my garden journaling skills were also somewhat off the mark. This is perfect for square foot gardening. It is fast and easy to use, and has what you need to remember what is planted where.”

Martin said he plans to design more apps in the future and already has many ideas.

For more information or to purchase Veronica’s Garden Tracker, visit https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/veronicas-garden-tracker/id794641225

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