An important part of our visit to P. Allen Smith’s garden home, Moss Mountain Farm, was participating in the educational presentations given by the Garden2Blog sponsors. One of my favorite presentations was, of course, in the one-acre organic vegetable garden with Bonnie Plants. Bonnie plants is a family-owned company that is a national wholesaler with over 70 greenhouses located around the country. They supply vegetables, herbs and flowers to all your favorite garden centers. Visit their web site for lots of greats tips and ideas for your garden.
I don’t usually care much for games, but the Bonnie folks had a treasure hunt set up for us in P. Allen Smith’s vegetable garden. Not only did I win a really cool tool belt for my gardening tools, but I actually learned a really cool plant geek tip. Have you seen the QR codes on plant labels (and everything else) lately? They have actually been around for a few years, but the Bonnie folks tell me they really aren’t being used as much as they could be. Curious, I downloaded a free QR code reader onto my cell phone and ventured out into the garden in search of a Bonnie Plants sign with a QR code on it.
As I wandered through the gorgeous vegetable garden, I spied a special sign hidden in the asparagus and scanned the QR code with my phone. Just a few seconds later, the QR code sent a Tweet to my Twitter feed telling me I’d won a prize! This was fun, but it was the technology that excited me, and my chat with Byron, the web producer for Bonnie Plants, was really educational. Byron explained that QR code readers allow users to use the camera on their smartphones to scan a QR code. This action launches a URL that delivers information to the user’s cell phone. We walked around the garden together for a few minutes while I scanned the labels on some of the Bonnie Plants that were waiting to be set into the vegetable garden. Just a second or two after I’d scanned the QR code, I had everything I needed to know about how to care for the plant I was interested in. The technology allows you to dig up much more information than what is on a tiny plant label. Now you can read about plant type, lighting needs, plant size, culinary uses, plant height, spacing, garden companions, harvesting, and more right at your garden center. Cool!
Next time you are out shopping for new plants for your garden, make sure you download a QR code reader to your smartphone and bring it with you to the garden center. Want to learn more about plants and be a more successful gardener? There’s an app for that!
DISCLOSURE: Attendees at Garden2Blog 2012, including myself, received transportation, accommodations and meals during the event. Event sponsors provided samples and product giveaways at no cost or obligation. All opinions are my own.