Farmville Meets Real Life
Kristee Rosendahl lives about 26 miles — as the crow flies — from the nearest city. The tiny city of Healdsburg, that is.
Think about tooling 13 miles beyond Lake Sonoma, along one of the county's more remote coastal routes, then shooting off several miles from that along an even less traveled back road, which will take you to a hidden driveway that will lead you up a dusty path to a gate you must get out and open yourself.
Beyond it is what remains of a once massive sheep ranch that in the 1920s stretched all the way to the coast. Here, on the porch of the old bungalow farmhouse sits Rosendahl sits, her blond hair pulled back in the summer heat, bent over an Apple MacBook. She is gardening.
For the longtime design techie, dot-commer, mosaic artist and vegetable gardener, the laptop is her most versatile garden tool. And now this former Apple designer and product developer (she specialized in user interface), is out to show how other home food growers — both veterans and newbies — can tap into technology to save time, avoid mistakes and have healthier, more productive gardens.
Four months ago she launched SmartGardener.com, a high-tech tool for garden planning. Think Farmville, but for real.
Drawing on databases, expert information and vetted sources, the site helps subscribers design their own garden layout, figure out what and how much to grow, set up a care and maintenance schedule and even shop for seeds through sponsors like Peaceful Valley Farm Supply and Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.
Photo: John Burgess / The Press Dem