How does being in your garden make you feel? My garden is my refuge. It's a quiet place away from the demands and hustle-bustle of the day. My garden is also timeless because when I'm there I feel a connection to earlier generations who also gardened for sustenance and pleasure. But I live in the 21st century, and that means that I have high-tech garden gadgets available to help with mundane garden maintenance.
How useful are these high-tech garden gadgets? Let's take a look at four that may help with you garden chores.
High-Tech Garden Gadgets
1. Plant sensors. These sensors can track air temperature, humidity, light levels, soil moisture, and soil nutrition.
They are useful for any home gardener who has a life outside the garden (i.e. anyone with a family, a job, or both).
Many sensors communicate with your Android or iOS phone to send you push notifications regarding garden conditions. Additionally, some sensors (like Edyn's) have databases of thousands of garden plants and grasses to help you choose the plants that are best for your growing conditions and help troubleshoot when problems arise.
These sensors have been used for years by commercial farmers, but now they've come down enough in price that they're available to the home gardener.
Edyn also offers a water valve that connects to your garden hose and existing irrigation system. Like the sensor, it integrates with your smart phone.
2. Automated sprinklers. If your current sprinkler system was installed when Debbie Gibson was on the Top 40 and neon leg warmers were, like, totally awesome, then it's time for an upgrade.
The older systems were confusing to program and the newer integrated systems are more intuitive. Rachio makes a system that connects with your smart phone and can also be manually controlled.
The great advantage of these systems is that you don't over- or under-water your landscape. This is, of course, of critical importance for gardeners in drought prone areas.
3. Robot lawn mowers. Think of these mowers as Roomba for your yard. Just as the robot vacuum cleaner vacuums your floors, the robot lawn mower mows your lawn while you sit in a lounge chair and sip drinks with umbrellas in them (or whatever suits your fancy).
What attracts me to the robot lawn mower is the fact that an arduous yard chore has been crossed off of my To Do list.
However, what I don't like about it is the price. Some can be found for only a few hundred dollars, but the models with better reviews and more features cost more than a thousand dollars.
Also, according to reports I've heard from folks who have the gizmos, it only trims the grass a little bit at a time. Therefore, the robot mower has to mow much more often than I do with my traditional mower. My neighborhood often sounds like a speedway on the weekends when everyone mows, and I'm not sure I want to contribute additional noise pollution.
4. ScareCrow. I do not have any of these high tech garden gadgets in my backyard, but when I decide to move my garden into the 21st century, the ScareCrow is the first gizmo I'm going to buy.
The ScareCrow is a device that looks a lot like the head of an automated sprinkler system. When a garden pest (i.e. racoon, squirrel, neighborhood cat) gets near your garden the ScareCrow's motion sensor sets off a jet of water to scare the critter away. The animal is not harned--simply startled.
The downside of the ScareCrow? It's so popular that it is reportedly in short supply until later this year.
Look into your crystal ball
What does the future hold? Are these high-tech garden gadgets useful tools of the future or just a passing fad?
Perhaps there is a parallel to be drawn between garden gadgets and books. Some book lovers exclusively use a tablet for their reading, while others prefer an old school physical book with pages to turn. Most of us, I suspect, use a combination of both. My guess is that the same will be true for these 21st century garden gadgets. Gardeners who work long hours or travel a lot will need automated systems to keep their gardens alive. However, some will not want to depart from age old gardening practices that have been time tested.
image of gardener using phone in garden via Shutterstock