4. Wow. You really thought of everything! Since you tell me what can grow, do you actually help me plan, plant, and monitor my crop?
This is the core of the service. As I mentioned, I wanted a weekly To Do list generated so I would know what to do in my garden. So that is what we have. It looks simple because we want it to be. We want you to use it, and every time you “check off” a To Do, it automagically time stamps it and puts it in your Journal. Checking it off also lets us present some other To Dos to you. Checking off when you planted something, for instance, let’s us know that the plant is now in the ground and you can start getting To Dos for caring for it. To get all this to work seamlessly for the user is probably some of the hardest work we had to do to develop this product. We couldn’t just license a plant database to do this. We had to design, from the ground up so to speak, a very particular plant database with these “To Dos” baked into it from the beginning. That turns out to be a very major undertaking – if you want it to be accurate and specific down to the variety level.
In terms of harvesting, we show you a time span for you to expect to start harvesting. There are lots of ways to harvest some of these vegetables, so we are trying to get all of those in the system. Each plant has what we call a “Plant Guide“. Whenever you see the name of a Variety in Smart Gardener you can click on it and you will see the whole Plant Guide for that Variety. There’s a tab for “Harvest” which includes Harvesting, Storage, Seed Saving, Culinary and Recipes. There are so many plans for this area. We see ourselves as offering a “Plot to Plate” solution. After all, growing food is all about eating it. This is another opportunity to bring in some very applicable partners so we can offer, for instance, great recipes for exactly what you are harvesting in your garden, right when you are harvesting it.
5. How is the support with your site? Is there a “customer service” or someone to ask questions if I am stuck?
That’s me and the team. I read every single piece of feedback and answer it. As the founder and the designer of this, it’s essential I understand what people think of the product, how they use it and where they are getting stuck. When I see a pattern of people having a problem with something, I’m all over it. We make changes to our site almost daily, attempting to remove any issues, bugs or problems our users have. We are truly “user driven” as they say. 90% of the changes and new features are there because that’s what our customers asked for.
Most importantly, we are constantly blown away by the comments and support for this product. Our users are rooting for us, so they give us lots of feedback because they are engaged and want to help us improve it. We get lots of love letters from our customers and frankly, that is the best part. Knowing that you are helping people feel empowered about their food, maybe for the first time. That’s just awesome.
6. I have a weird shaped garden – not exactly a rectangular or square shape. Do you plan on adding custom designed gardens? How about vertical garden or greenhouses?
We’ve started by offering the most general case gardens because we know that alot of people are gardening with raised beds right now. At some point, we will add more elaborate abilities to lay out your garden. In fact, anything is possible if you throw enough technology at it. The issue is, that with every complexity you add, the more performance and speed you risk. Most people don’t want to wait around for the web to load something that takes a while -even a three second wait can discourage people from using our product. So until we can provide those features with performance, we will hold off. This is where the iPad really will be incredible for Smart Gardener. Having learned so much from our current users, it becomes clearer every day what kind of product we want to build for the iPad. It will allow us to deliver many more sophisticated, easy, and elegant solutions that the web just can’t deliver right now.
Currently, we have “Smart Add Ons” which are like little mini apps or upgrades to the core product. The first three are Shade, Succession planting and Shapes which let you layout other objects in your garden. Those three came about because they were the most asked for extensions to our product.
Thank you Kristee! Wow, I think I am more confident about growing my own food now, with the help from Smart Gardener. You should register and try Smart Gardener and start planning your garden now for this Spring! Watch this short video that explains exactly what Smart Gardener does.
Don’t you want to star gardening now? You should! And if you register, you can enter to win this beautiful jute market tote and one Smart Add On – retail value of $25 for both.
If you Green Living Idea’s e-mail subscriber, live in the U.S and is over 18 years old, you can enter this giveaway by doing ONE of the following and leave a comment here what you like about Smart Gardener by Saturday February 25, 2012 11:59 EST.
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