How Does Your Garden Grow? With SOW

AUBURN, Ala.—You can grow vegetables and fruits year-round in Alabama and across much of the Southeast. The challenge for many gardeners is knowing what to plant, how to plant it and when to plant it. But SOW, a new mobile app from the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, takes the guess work out of garden planting.

Kerry Smith, one of the leaders of Alabama Extension’s horticulture team, said the free mobile app is available in both the iTunes and Google Play stores.

“SOW is designed to tell you all the information you need to plant each crop in your home garden,” said Smith. “You can also keep a planting diary and basic notes on what you planted.”

Smith notes that more than 35 percent of American households are growing some of their own fruits and vegetables.

“Alabama Extension’s SOW app puts the most crucial information on food gardening right in the gardener’s hands when they need it.”

SOW Features

  • Days to harvest
  • Recommended varieties
  • Spacing
  • Yield
  • Video tutorials
  • Customizable to your location
  • My Garden planting diary
  • Today’s Crops option for Alabama gardeners


Jonathan Davis, Alabama Extension’s director of information technology said the app, which is designed specifically for mobile devices, is easy and intuitive.

“Simply choose your location and start planting,” said Davis. “Click on a crop’s photo to see more information including days to harvest, spacing and other crop details.

Davis adds that an app offers an effective way for Alabama Extension to reach new people with its resources.

“Alabama Extension has a wealth of knowledge to offer about gardening,” he said. “Since smartphones are an integral part of many people’s daily life, an app is an excellent tool for us to provide accurate and timely guidance to gardeners.”

Smith agreed that the demand from Alabama residents for gardening information continues to increase.

“Alabama Extension fields more questions about gardening and horticulture than any other topic,” said Smith.

The SOW app features several ways for the user to access additional information. A More Information button is featured with every vegetable and fruit in the app’s database. Clicking on that button takes the user to relevant publications and other information on the Alabama Extension website.

If that does not provide the answer a gardener needs, the Ask an Expert Option allows the user to send a question to a horticulture expert in his county or state.

One of SOW’s unique features is the Today’s Crops option. Currently only available for gardeners living in Alabama, the Today’s Crops option tells the gardener what can be planted on any day of the year.

Davis said that the app will be upgraded in the future to add additional states to Today’s Crops option.

SOW joins “Gardening in the South” iBook series in Alabama Extension’s growing electronic catalog. Based on proven Master Gardener training and university research, the “Gardening in the South” series is packed with information, tips and tricks. You can find the series on iBooks.

Alabama Extension

The Alabama Cooperative Extension System operates as the primary outreach organization for the land-grant functions of Alabama A&M and Auburn Universities and answers home-gardeners' questions each week on Birmingham Gardening Today.

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