MAR 14, 2018 12:38 PM PDT

Anyone Can Have a Green Thumb With the Help of This Garden Tech

WRITTEN BY: Julia Travers

Gardening at home, whether indoors or out, can bring pleasure, nutrition, savings on groceries, or an extra source of income. Plant-care-centric apps and tech aim to make gardening and cultivation easier and less wasteful of resources.

Scarecrow sprinkler (credit: Apontus), PlantLink (credit: PlantLink), Ikea home garden (credit: Ikea)

Watering Efficiently

Knowing when and how much to water a plant species year-round can be challenging. Even watering systems with timers may still water on a rainy day, wasting resources and potentially water-logging and harming your plants. There are a variety of apps and devices that can monitor your flora’s hydration needs in real time and some of them will also provide the needed moisture.

PlantLink is a device and app that can evaluate the soil of your plant and let you know when it is thirsty. PlantLink tells users when to water via notifications, texts or emails. It can be used inside or outside and has a one-year battery life. PlantLink can communicate with your phone at up to 300 feet. If you’d also like assistance with the watering, the PlantLink Lush option, which is “coming soon,” PlantLink, credit: PlantLink will take care of that as well. It will monitor local weather before watering and includes a customizable Basestation that can support between one and 64 links or watering valves, depending on the size of your horticultural undertaking.

Rachio is a smart sprinkler-control system that will adjust your lawn-watering schedule to the forecast. Its makers claim it can reduce a water bill by 50 percent. The Green IQ Smart Garden Hub system makes the same claim. It’s an Alexa-compatible smart irrigation system that also watches the weather before watering. It can track seasonal changes and adjust garden lighting systems to match evening hours.

The Garden Sensor and Water Valve by Edyn consists of an app and valve that measure water, light, temperature and soil health with an automatic watering function. It uses the data it collects to suggest plants that might thrive in your home’s growing environment.

If indoor gardening is your preference, you may appreciate the Parrot Pot. It has water and soil sensing abilities and will water your plant automatically and alert you to any potential soil and growth issues. It also shares gardening tips and trivia.

Other Hi-Tech Garden and Yard Solutions

If your garden is being damaged by local wildlife, finding a proficient but humane solution can prove frustrating. Automated ScareCrow sprinklers from Apontus use heat and motion sensors to detect garden visitors with a range of 30 feet. This scarecrow then uses Scarecrow sprinkler, credit: Apontusa three-second shot of water to deter unwanted guests. It has a cartoonish crow-like face built onto its main pole and a robotic -- not dopey, straw-filled-human -- appearance.

If your yard is full of beautiful deciduous trees whose leaves have become the bane of your existence, you may enjoy the use of a lawn sweeper. While not the most technologically advanced, it is an innovative invention that can greatly reduce yard labor. As the name suggests, this is a tow- or push-device that collects leaves or lawn clippings and gathers them into a bag. It uses a broom-like brush to pick up the leaves and is advertised as lightweight and long-lasting.

Home hydroponics systems, which involve gardening without soil in nutrient-enriched water, are also becoming more prevalent. Ikea’s indoor hydroponic gardening kits saw a boost of media attention and popularity in 2017. They come with solar lamps and automatic water-control functions to monitor and maintain plant well-being.

May this spring be fruitful! Happy gardening!

About the Author
Julia Travers is a writer, artist and teacher. She frequently covers science, tech, conservation and the arts. She enjoys solutions journalism. Find more of her work at jtravers.journoportfolio.com.
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