Friday, January 18, 2013

A Gardening App for Android

As you can tell, its been awhile since my last post. You know, stuff comes up like having kids, moving to another state, new job, and so on. Now that things have settled down a bit, it’s time to get back to some hobby programming.

I've been interested in writing an app for a while, specifically for Android. I've done some Java in the past so I should have a jump on the learning curve. This will be an adventure in programming and I invite you to tag along.

So, my current app idea, (I have many), is a garden manager that helps you figure out what you want to grow and where to put everything. Some vegetables work well next to others, which is known as companion planting. For example, planting rosemary next to cabbage repels cabbage fleas. Also, I thought it would be nice if the app told you whether to water your garden, or not, based on rainfall totals and forecast. I’m wondering if there are any free web services out there I can use that show rainfall and foretasted rainfall I can use. I’ll have to check the NOAA website. My guess is they have a feed for this.

One cool feature would be a setting showing only the planting zone you live in and the plants that grow well in that zone. It can determine your zone via GPS or IP address. I did something like this for a weather application back a while by looking up my zip code by IP address via web service. I used the zip code to lookup the current weather and show a little picture depicting if it was day or night, again using a web service to lookup my IP’s timezone and time of civil twilight.

Another idea is to order your plantings based on time-to-harvest (TTH?) and season. For example, if you want to grow peas and corn, the app will plant corn first during the summer and peas in the late summer. A calendar will show the harvest dates for your veggies.

So those are my ideas so far. I’m sure to have more as I get more into this project. I hope you’ll continue to look for my updates as I progress. I’ll try to remember to slow down and share what I’m thinking as I go. I hope you enjoy the adventure!

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