What is the Cooperative Extension?
The Alabama Cooperative Extension System (ACES) is based out of Auburn University (it hurts to type that... Roll Tide... That's better!) and Alabama A and M University. Each county has a county extension office that has resources and information about growing a variety of plants in that county. They do soil testing in addition to community training programs on topics including vegetable gardening, pollination, and more. There are number of resources and publications available on their website for almost everything agricultural. Do note that the resources are targeted for Alabama, but they may apply in other states.
I have not had the opportunity to fully use the app at the time of this writing, but will do a follow up post after I plant my summer garden. From my limited usage, I have been able to determine the below pros and cons:
- Has information for a number of plants, including days to maturity, when to plant, and plant spacing
- What can be planted today to be a successful grower
- Farmer's market locations
- Contacting your local county extension directly from the app
- Does not allow for the exporting of data entered into the app.
- Designed only for Alabama. However it can be used for tracking your gardening activities. However the planting dates and information may be incorrect if you live outside of the USDA growing zones that exist in Alabama.
- At the time of this post, it has not been updated since 2016.
- It only has information for 37 vegetables and fruits. This is far less than what can be grown in Alabama.
Steps to Do Setup
1) Initial set up has to be done. You have to enter the county that you are located in to begin using the app.
2) A number of options are available with this app including contacting the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.
3) SOW App recommends what plants to plant and when it can be planted.
Now if you look at the rating for this app, it only has 3 stars at the time of this writing. However, if you read the comments that are associated with the reviews, it has some negative reviews from people that do not live in the state of Alabama because the app is not designed for their state. The reviews from those that do live in Alabama, seem to be at least 3 starts or above. Starting this growing season, I will be using it to see how it fairs with actual usage. If you have used the SOW app, please leave a comment below on your thoughts and how it has helped you with your gardening or farming experience.