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Garden naturally with Grow Smart, Grow Safe for iOS

Grow Smart, Grow Safe is a handy free app that will assess the dangers of some of the garden products you use and then suggest safer alternatives. While the app is aimed at the Pacific Northwest, the information it contains should work for anyone using American-made garden and lawn products.

The app is designed for use at the store when shopping, or you can survey lawn and garden products at your leisure. You begin by picking a category like weeds or insects, then browse products or enter some product names. You'll get indications of how hazardous the product is, based on information provided by the Department of Agriculture in the State of Washington. Once you find the selected product, Grow Smart, Grow Safe suggests safer alternatives, usually products containing no chemical pesticides.

All product listings show the active ingredients, so you'll get an idea about what's in the products you intend to use. There is a good bit of controversy over the health effects of pesticides, and this app has a definite point of view, but anyone who gardens will find the data interesting and appreciate the tips designed for safer gardening. If your view of garden chemicals is "better to be safe than sorry", then Grow Smart, Grow Safe has your name on it.

The app contains lots of background on why we should care about what we use on our gardens or lawns. A nice feature for the developers to add to a future version would be the ability to create a shopping list of some of the recommended alternative products.

The app was produced by the King County (Seattle) Local Hazardous Waste Management Program, along with government agencies in Oregon. It's not a universal app, but will run fine on all platforms that can run iOS 7 or later.

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