That statement as the lead in to a NY Times article (below) about gardening apps got my attention, big time!
In my view, gardeners are one of the most “trifled with” consumer groups in the U.S. It also happens that the overwhelming majority of gardeners are women who are propagandized that dirt is good and you absolutely must, under penalty of (plant) death, have a drain hole in whatever container, planter or pot that is home to your plant.
Guess who is running this propaganda machine. Mostly men. They are the plant farmers (called growers in the greenhouse trade) who grow houseplants and other potted plants. As an industry insider for going on 40 years, I know for sure that they know about sub-irrigation, and they don’t call it by the silly term “self-watering”.
They know about ebb and flow sub-irrigation and capillary mat watering. In some sections of the country, they even use if for field agriculture. They also have no financial motivation whatsoever to share this knowledge with you as a consumer. Follow the money!
Their self-interest is to perpetuate the market as more of a consumable than a sustainable product market. If we’re talking about growing vegetables, the agricultural trade (farmers and extension agents) has no financial incentive to educate you to become a competitor.
What they do instead is give lip service to consumer education by propagandizing inferior methods of edible plant growing. They make little or no mention of sub-irrigation or simple hydroponics for example. It is not in their financial interest to promote these methods.
So, are consumer gardeners being given solid information about the most productive, environmentally friendly, safest and easiest methods of growing fresh vegetables or houseplants? No. Are consumer gardeners being trifled with? Yes.
You don’t need to take my word for it. Try modern methods like simple-to-use sub-irrigation and you will discover the truth for yourself. Once you do this, you will never be trifled with again. As is often said, the truth will set you free...at least about gardening that is.
Scan through user reviews of the many gardening-related apps and you start to get a feel for this group’s exacting standards and their impatience with dilettantes. Software engineers who create these apps may know a good market when they see one, but judging from the reviews, many of them apparently know little about gardening.
Fortunately, a few apps for both Android and Apple users have generated positive reviews and the even better news is that two of the better ones are free.
The Gardening Guide from Mother Earth News (free on Apple and on Android, as Garden Guide), Gardening How-To (free on iPad and Android) and Landscaper’s Companion — Gardening Reference Guide ($6 on iPad and iPhone, $5 on Android) are all worth downloading. Read more ...