A gardening app that adapts to your knowledge, location, and lifestyle. Grow plants successfully no matter your skill level.
What is AdaptiveGarden?
AdaptiveGarden is a gardening app that doesn’t suck. In short, it’s a garden planner, garden manager, and master gardener in your pocket. It notifies you when you need to take action, and it does that without you having to know anything about the plants you’re trying to grow. Since it’s an app and can’t sprout hands out from the sides of your phone, it can’t grow the plants for you… but we’ll talk more about that in the future 😉
It’s all you need to start or maintain an existing garden, right in your pocket.
…and yes, it takes your location and the weather into account.
Most gardening apps suck. If you’re a new gardener, consider yourself lucky to not have had high hopes for technology only to be met with disappointment when searching the app stores. There are plenty of garden plotters and some plant databases that can only call themselves “gardening apps” because they’ve categorized themselves as such, but you won’t find something that actually helps you grow things. AdaptiveGarden is here to set the standard for what a “gardening app” should be.
There’s a reason most gardening apps fall short of hitting the mark, and that’s because it’s hard to make something that takes all of the many variables involved in growing successful plants into account. The app has to know about the gardener’s location, whether or not they’re growing organically, the weather in the area, if the plant is indoors or outdoors (or in a greenhouse), the gardener’s lifestyle, how much time they’re dedicating to managing their plants, and so much more.
That’s a LOT of stuff! It’s also why many people think they just aren’t cut out to grow anything. It’s hard work to keep track of everything even as a seasoned gardener, and the amount of dedication it takes to start a garden before you even touch a seed is just too much when you already have a busy schedule.
Take into consideration the different cultivars of the same plant species, mixed information on the internet and in books, and different people swearing by some product or practice that may work fine in California but definitely won’t work in Ohio, and you’re just asking for problems.
Getting something started is just one of the struggles. What about when things do inevitably go wrong? You’ll have people saying to do anything from writing the plant off all the way to peeing on your plant (I won’t get into urea here, but if you’re going to pee on your plant, please don’t urinate on your tomatoes the day before sharing them with your neighbor… and please make sure the plant will benefit from undiluted urine or dilute it first.) Note: AdaptiveGarden will not give you any tasks that are related to restroom breaks.
It’s hard to differentiate between old wives’ tales and claims backed by science when it comes to gardening. Having a “green thumb” doesn’t mean you have been gifted with magical hands capable of growing healthy and productive plants, it simply means that you know what information to trust.
I made you a picture… I guess you could call it an infographic, but it’s more “info” and less “graphic”:
How is this different from all of the other gardening apps out there?
Oh boy… where do I even begin? Well, for starters, no other application actually walks you through how to grow a plant, as the plant is growing, while keeping track of what’s going on in your area. None take your location or the weather into account. None watch the forecast for you. None issue tasks, so they require you to already know what you’re doing and the nuances involved. None are backed by science and vetted research. None have Artificial Intelligence finding growth patterns that humans have yet to discover. None ask you about your growing preferences, the location of the plants, or what plants are nearby. There’s even a feature planned (although it’s a “maybe” at this point and by no means guaranteed) involving GPS to help a bit with physical plant tracking. We’re at the mercy of technology and have to conduct some research on device compatibility and precision before that makes it on the board.
The only similarities between AdaptiveGarden and other apps available right now are items that AdaptiveGarden executes so much better that they aren’t even comparable.
What you’ll usually find are kinda-sorta plant encyclopedias that have maybe 30 plants in their database (never the cultivars – which can have different requirements, especially in the case of plants that we can’t mention here) and garden plotters (think MS Paint with a bunch of squares and a few pictures of plants)
I hate to talk down on anyone or anything but ask any gardener to see what they have to say. AdaptiveGarden isn’t a luxury… it’s a need, and if it’s going to achieve the big goals AdaptiveGarden has for the future (it goes WAY BEYOND an app and will have a massive positive environmental impact if successful) then I need to make that very clear to those who are lucky enough to have never tried to find a decent app to help with their plants.
Oh yeah, and if it can fit in the budget, AdaptiveGarden will let you share your garden with friends kinda like a social media app for gardeners. Let me know if you’d like that prioritized. That feature would help you and your friends hold each other accountable for their plants.
Sounds like an impossible thing to pull off, how do you plan to do it?
I’ve had the privilege to wear many hats over my years in the tech industry. I’ve also met so many incredible and highly intelligent people who have shared their knowledge with me. I’ve acquired skills in many areas of technology and gardening over the years, including exposure to machine learning (or “artificial intelligence” for a broader term) and big data. I’ve been the guy collecting the data, the guy verifying that the data is accurate, the guy reviewing research papers for credibility, the guy writing the code, and the guy designing the software. That means that I’ve gained the experience necessary to see the blind spots and develop solutions (like x-ray vision) to ensure requirements are met.
Having that exposure, I’ve identified the following potential problem areas:
- Data Acquisition
- Overloaded/Complicated User Interface
- Application Performance
Here’s how I plan to address those concerns:
- Data Acquisition: I’ve identified roughly 10 very detailed databases of user-submitted content. I plan to review this data, compare it with other sources for consistency, aggregate it, and locate any research papers that back up the claims. Various governments also publish plant nutrient and climate requirement data for commercial growers and home gardeners alike. That published data is frequently sourced from research universities and agricultural scientists as well as government agencies dedicated to maximizing their country’s GDP (so they aren’t messing around when it comes to accuracy). With all this data, patterns and trends can be established when multiple sources don’t back each others’ claims up due to varying climate or nutrient conditions, which is actually good because we use those variances in our Machine Learning engine to predict conditions more accurately in your area if data previously was nonexistent.
- Overloaded/Complicated User Interface: I’ve designed the prototype for the app from a user’s perspective as if I were actually using the app. I’m not perfect, though, and I wouldn’t call myself a designer. In the budget, there is a position for a UI/UX Designer who will be tasked with reviewing my work and collaborating on improvements.
- Application Performance: I expect this application to receive a ton of traction upon launch given how revolutionary it is. That means many users uploading images, querying the API (sorry for the tech term), and many forecast-fetching and forecast-validating tasks in addition to the resource-intensive AI/ML tasks. I’ve chosen to run this application on Google Cloud Platform’s Kubernetes Engine which automatically scales resources up and down as they’re needed. The database (not running on Kubernetes) will also have an auto-scaler and load-balancer with replication to ensure data integrity and consistent performance. A lot could be learned from Pokémon Go, and we’re thankful for their public service.
- Accuracy: This was briefly discussed under Data Acquisition. AdaptiveGarden strives for as close to 100% accuracy as possible. The approach is to use the data we know and fill in the gaps with Machine Learning algorithms, which will constantly be trained to become even more accurate as the app is used (each user’s garden will be used to better offer tasks). The chain of preference is (from the first choice to last): [New User] Nearby Gardens, Aggregated/Interpolated Research Data, [Active User] User’s Garden, Nearby Gardens, Aggregated/Interpolated Research Data.
Our Mission & Long-Term Goals
More and more people are getting into gardening, which has clear benefits for not only the gardener (mental health, self-sufficiency, positive action, etc.) but also for the environment. These goals are not part of this project, but rather, future goals after the project is successful and further funds can be secured for each item. Transparency is very important, so we’re including these here. AdaptiveGarden has many long-term goals which include (in no particular order):
- Increasing the availability of gardening.
- Introduction of IoT devices to home gardeners to improve results and simplify growing.
- Introduction of simple soil quality test kits and other tools.
- Introduction of powerful organic products that are as effective as synthetics.
- Introduction of powerful organic products that have the same versatility (i.e. sprayable/mixable powders) as synthetics.
- Promotion of research that doesn’t involve preconceptions, bias, p-hacking, politics, and isn’t conducted in a misleading manner as a result of a publish or perish mindset. The world needs love and care that promotes productive discourse, not intellectual gang-wars.
- Entry into the commercial industry with products that benefit yields and have either no environmental impact or a positive environmental impact.
- Promotion and creation of more community gardens, specifically the creation of well-equipped community gardens in impoverished areas, with the primary objective being high-yield and nutritious food growth.
- Promotion of research involving vertical gardening, square-foot gardening, and other space-saving gardening strategies that are beneficial in areas with high population and little growing space.
- Promotion of research into the benefits of natural remedies and whether or not they’re effective, without funding from companies or individuals affiliated with the pharmaceutical industry, without employing anyone that has a conflict of interest whether the bias is towards synthetics or naturals.
…and that’s just a few.
I just want to see screenshots!
Sure thing, there’s a position for a designer in the project budget because I’m more of a developer than a designer, but here’s what I’ve come up with. I have significant improvements planned and this is not even close to the full product. Some items aren’t pictured because they’re pretty boring, but I’ll include my favorites and will be happy to provide more as requested, just let me know what you’d like to see! Even though these may not end up being the final designs, I would absolutely love to hear any feedback regarding improvements or constructive criticism.
Note: you may have noticed that there wasn’t a previous page button in some screenshots. I’ve added a Previous Page button as well as a Create/Add button on the opposite end in newer prototypes to ensure devices without hardware or simulated hardware buttons are supported.
NOTICE: This project will initially launch in the USA. If you are not in the USA, it may take us longer to support where you’re at than the targetted launch date.