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248. Smart Plant App | Book Club | Instagram Collections | Siri Jostad | San Diego,CA
30th September 2018 • GREEN Organic Garden Podcast • Jackie Marie Beyer
00:00:00 01:16:26

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We did this interview on my 51st birthday, Tuesday, July 31, 2018 and here’s some pre-chat before we talk about how to make your plants smart and the Smart Plant App and their beautiful Smart Plant Website.

I am a super naturalist, my children are now 20 and 18 but I sent them to the Waldorf school. They focus on organics and they teach the children how to garden as well as how to build things and plastic is the big no, no we’ve had glass straws in their life, because I just wouldn’t have to have straws, let’s make it nice. They just go right in the dishwasher.

Glass Straws

That was my question, how do you clean them. 

When you buy them they come with a tiny bottle brush, I just keep that by the sink. Because if you make smoothies it doesn’t all come out, so I stand it on the spike, kind of vertical, we have a whole bunch!

It’s easy!

I grew up with a Waldorf school in my backyard by my mom’s. She wanted me to go there and I was like no way. I thought there’s only 20 kids I can’t get along with the 350 in my class.

I call it the philosophy. I don’t always understand it, teachers don’t always explain, but if they would have told me that, I could have swallowed it. It’s totally been the best decision I ever made!

I was fortunate, my sister who is older then me, I saw her children go through school and I got to see what the magical education it was. I had to really work my husband over to make it work ~ It’s a private school tuition. 

more the philosophy. There’s no TV. The kids can’t watch it, you don’t hand your kids screens until high school. All kinds of stuff like that. 

It’s a rhythm and routine

not having mirrors for kids because it makes them self conscious, because they’re always looking at themselves. There’s like a million small things.

The good things classes are small. 

learned that

most kids only have 3 good friends anyway

probably not gonna have more friends. 

My point is if you are only going to have 3 friends it’s better to have 350 to pick them out of then only 20, but that was just my theory, but I have no idea, I could have been totally wrong! I was probably just a dumb kid and should have listened to my mom.

My daughter who just graduated, you know, she every body wants to try a different high school experience, but in the end she said she feels like she found her tribe in her class and since they traveled together from kindergarten through 12th grade. 

They really deeply know each other, for people in a bigger class you might have been able to walk away from people, because they irritated you, but in that environment, you’re forced to work it out and you are forced to develop social skills you wouldn’t have to develop. Does that make sense?

You start to see them from a loving sympathetic place

because you really deeply know them there are not superficial relationships in the classroom. They have shared so much together. She talks so much about how she’s gonna miss all of them. Some more then others, it wasn’t like a whole blissful thing. So I was like thank goodness. 

Do they have mandatory volunteer requirements, do they have scholarship opportunities? I didn’t know about any of these other things? I might have to fight that tablet one because I’m kind of a techy. They might be changing too. 

It’s such a long discussion about tablets, it’s really about eye tracking and brain development. It’s not even about content. I didn’t learn how to use a computer until I was an adult because they weren’t developed so that you need to learn it is sort of a falsity. I’m not learning to program it. 

Brain Research

It’s about a cognitive dissonance that happens inside their body when they are watching action and movement on a screen when their body is still. Like it’s hard to put that together, usually if you see action you’re moving. 

  • running with somebody else
  • catching moving their hands

in front of the screen you’re really still. It’s all about what happens in your brain. During the times in your child’s life when your brain is actively developing,  you want to have it in the most fertile environment. 

TV The Plug In Drug

Before I even had kids book is out of date, this book is probably out of date.

The Plug-In Drug: Television, Computers, and Family Life

The Plug-In Drug: Television, Computers, and Family Life

that changed my life. Lots of compelling information!

So do you have a copy of the questions?

Do you have a garden?

We have a yard, I plant things, and fertilize them and harvest things… I like to create the vision for THE space, appreciate gardening spaces that draw you out to do something. I like to have places where someone can sit and read, or my daughter can go out and journal or someone can go out and paint. Sometimes we actually take like a picnic blanket in the front yard, and I’ll lay on my stomach on my computer with the dog, so we’re communing with the plants. 

I don’t know if I would call myself a gardener, I don’t have formal training… lifetime of it. I don’t have a gardening routine. Does that make sense?


Very similar, routine is like the, almost like a 4 letter word in my dictionary and that has been a struggle as a teacher. It’s also funny Mike and I came up with these garden journal and I write my goals down, I’m much more likely to journal after, what did I accomplish.

I am going to flip New Years Resolutions on it’s head because when I look them down I am like non of these come true but that being said, I kicked my bucket list. I turned 51 today, it’s my birthday, but my big one I had since I was a little girl, so it’s not like I don’t keep goals. 


Tell us a little about yourself.

I grew up with a dad who was a gardener. So we were in the yard all the time and he paid me 50¢ an hour to weed which is now my least favorite thing to do in the garden. We grew radishes because they were easiest thing to grow and graduated to giant pumpkins! 

I grew up  and knew all the latin names for the plants more then the common names because that’s how my parents referred to them and I would just say them and people would say what?

I ended up with my husband working on the 

west coast garden line

with horticultural expert Bruce Asakawa.

Where people could call in for 2 hours on Sat and Sunday. My husband and I were not on the radio we were on the board, doing the mechanics of radio network broadcasting. So I had 4 hours of listening to an expert every weekend and then I spent

many more years

learning about gardening intentionally. 

Gardening in the millennial age

Now, here I am today, our company has evolved we have a gardening app that helps people garden in the millennial age 

  • super easy
  • handhelds people
  • don’t have to become a master gardener to have a successful planty life.

Let’s just go right into it because I’m sure listeners, I am curious what is it,  are going to be interested and they are going to love your gorgeous website that is just streamlined and every picture just makes you just want to crawl right into it.

Smart Plant App Swipe photo

Make your plants SMART

so we founded the millennial gardeners, there’s sort of this big blip of demographics. We found that they didn’t want to become gardeners like their grandparents. But they lead these lives that are maybe

  • city based
  • inside on balconies
  • teeny plots of land

They really wanted information given to them, they are used to things being sort of immediate gratification.

We had this idea we developed an app

like to travel (Follow Siri on Instagram here) and I love plants. I would be walking in my neighborhood, or foreign countries and I would see plants and I would want to know what it was. It’s super hard to do it on google.

So we developed this app!

You simply take a picture of something

  • live people
  • submit the photo through the app
  • ask a question and they tell you what the plant is!

Initially the app was getting tons and tons of people downloading it but we found they  weren’t sending in photos.

We found out that people wanted more specific information on care so we created the

Care Calendar

care calendar, you send it in to the app, and the experts send you regionally care specific. Zip code specific. Eventually you will be able to get that info through the app and you’ll get notifications that say hey bring that ______________ in because it doesn’t like the frost tonight!

For now it basically tells you

this is the time you need to be deadheading or fertilizing because this is the plant you told us you have.

That gets more specific because now we have the barcode scanning function and we’ve partnered with

  • garden stores
  • plant manufacturers

and you can walk into a garden retailer,

  • open the app
  • scan the barcode
  • all the plant info loads onto your phone

and load that into the care calendar.

You don’t have to go through the process of taking pictures, you can still do that, we have the plant library but we are always looking to streamline. 

Oh when you get care information, the Smart Plant App will also tell you what you need. If it says you need fertilizer, we tell you what kind of fertilizer you don’t have to

you have the option

if you want to click through and see where you can buy it but we’re trying to make it super easy for people to keep their plant alive.

This sounds too good to be true? And amazing! How long have you been working on it?

We launched the app 3 years ago, but you know how it is with technology it’s never great right out of the gate, there’s fixes and fixes.

Super Functionality

This April we did a massive overall and now it’s as elegant as the website and super functional.

You can

  • see videos
  • look for plants according to the room they do well in

some plants like humidity and will do well in the bathroom

You can choose bathroom and say I should go get a Boston fern or whatever for your bathroom

Or for your balcony or bedroom.

Some plants put off more oxygen at night so those kinds of plants help you sleep

Now you can get all that from the homescreen of the app it just keeps getting better and better and better!

And it’s free right? How does that work?

Just like all free things, there is a paid version as well. You know how if you download Words With Friends you can download for free, but you can get rid if you want to get rid of the ads you have to pay. 

We don’t do that, but we do pay the live people who are looking at all your stuff all the time, so there is a cost and we have to make money.

free version

that includes a certain amount, you get like 3 free ids and chats and you get one new free one every month, if you don’t want to have any new ids.

If you just want to barcode scan all your plants

You just put them in your care calendar

  • free
  • forever

let’s say you need a lot of things identified then you would get the paid version

What’s wrong with this plant?

a lot of questions we don’t just identify plants like you can send in a picture of a sad yellowing plant or 

What’s wrong with my ficus?

An expert will look at it and say it looks like this kind of bug. That kind of interaction counts and you get 3 initially

  • one a month
  • if you need more of those you can buy the premium plan
  • $30

No way! That’s amazing! People ask that all the time! You know cause you listened to 4 hours of garden questions a week! You obviously know, I just talked to a listener Angel  Garbabino in episode 239 who was saying, she had this mildew and she couldn’t figure out what to do. 

It’s available on both iTunes and Android.

Smart Plant App Book Club

I can’t remember how I found you, but the thing I fell in love with was the Book Club! I see you have Floret ‘s book and I’ve been thinking about starting a book club with Jean Martin Fortier’s Book Market Gardener: A successful Grower’s Handbook for Small Scale Organic Farming and the John Jeavon’s 


How to Grow More Vegetables, Eighth Edition: (and Fruits, Nuts, Berries, Grains, and Other Crops) Than You Ever Thought Possible on Less Land Than You … (And Fruits, Nuts, Berries, Grains,)