How does your garden grow? It can be better than ever thanks to these high-tech gardening tools.
By: Jessica Roberts
This spring, give your green thumb a boost with a handful of ingenious tech products developed to maximize your garden yield. We’ve found some of the best WiFi enabled solutions for common (and irritating) problems facing gardeners of all skill levels. From apps to robots, you’ll be amazed by these amazing new tools that will save you time and frustration, and help make your dream garden a reality.
Estimating Sun Exposure
Most gardeners aren’t home all day to properly observe their yard and garden’s sun exposure throughout the day. To solve that problem, download the Sun Seeker app, which combines GPS, Earth Mapping, and an unbelievable 3D augmented reality camera overlay, to chart the sun’s positioning over your garden at every hour — all year long. Wonder if that oak tree shades your garden mid-day? Use the camera overlay feature which shows you – in real time — the area’s sun exposure.
Soil pH & Fertility
Sadly, the “plant it and it will grow” philosophy doesn’t always work. One of the hardest challenges gardeners face is getting to know their soil. Soil pH and fertility make a substantial impact on the survival of seeds. For those gardeners who want to scientifically calculate the precise health of their soil, try the Digital 3-Way Soil Analyzer. Not only will the device determine soil pH and fertility rates, it also reads soil temperature — a key factor in germination.
Available at Amazon and other online retailers
What to Plant
As spring approaches and gardeners get ready for prime planting time, the question becomes: what to grow? Get ideas and learn about plants, and find sample planting guides at Homegrown, an app created by the classic American gardening company, Bonnie Plants. They’ve been in the gardening business since 1918, but the information is geared towards green thumbs of all experience levels. The “Help Me Choose” feature makes it easy to create a well-curated kitchen garden you’ll be eating out of all summer.
Watering the Garden
Now, all those gorgeous seeds need to be well-watered. With an app download and a twist of the wrist, the Melnor Rain Cloud system turns your existing outside spigot into a personalized irrigation system that can be controlled and monitored from your smartphone, tablet or computer. The app controls the four-way hose diverter, allowing you to customize the length and timing of your watering system throughout your garden.
Available at Amazon and other online retailer
Once you’ve got the water flowing, you’ll want to know if the plants are receiving just the right amount of H20. A wealth of plug-and-play devices will monitor the amount of water in your soil and send you level notifications via your Android or iOS device. Launched at CES 2018, Scotts Gro™ Water Sensors not only monitor moisture levels, but uses a plant database to track the amount of water needed by a specific plant. You’ll never wonder if those begonias need a little more (or less) water again. Melnor also offers a component which connects to the Rain Cloud, allowing gardeners to know when to adjust the amount of water based on daily weather changes.
Melnor Moisture Sensor – Automatic Rain Delay for Rain Cloud Smart Water Timer available at Amazon and other online retailers
Plant Germination and Growth
“Are the beets growing on schedule?” “When should I fertilize the lettuce?” “Is it too late to sow the last of the brussel sprouts?” These are the questions that plague a gardener from spring to fall. The Gardroid app answers those concerns and more, offering one of the most complex and complete gardening apps on the market.
In addition to a sowing recommendations based on month, the app offers detailed instructions for specific vegetables, including recommended seed depth and spacing, days before germination and transplanting options. Only want to know about plants best for your conditions? Customize your preferences for soil temperature, pH levels and hardiness zone. After you’ve created a “My Garden” list, the app will send reminders to water, fertilize and harvest your chosen plants. Information on herbs, fruits or flowers is available for an in-app upgrade.
Available free on Android only — with in-app upgrade option
Managing Plant Rotation
Crop rotation is crucial for even the most casual gardener, but remembering what went where is almost always a puzzle. Some smart dirt-lovers created Tended, a brilliant website that lets you graph your garden — to the inch! The site saves your planting scheme so you can compare plots year-to-year. Run a quick report next spring and you’ll know where to move those tomatoes and other nitrogen-loving plants for maximum yield.
Available free through TendedApp.com
Let’s face it: no-one likes anything having to do with weeds. Putting an end to the back-breaking task sounds like a horticulturist’s dream come true. Tertill (pronounced Tur-till) is the gardener’s “Roomba” — an ingenious, solar-powered robot which is programmed to avoid your crops while uprooting unwanted weeds.
Launches May 2018. Pre-order at now
Mowing the Lawn
Keeping your lawn tended during prime gardening time can be an unwanted distraction. But finally, a solution has arrived! The iMow by Stihl are programmable, battery-operated lawn-mowing robots, which can cut up to an acre of grass and handle 22-degree slopes.
Not ready for the robot revolution? Try LawnBuddy, an app that connects you directly to lawn care professionals in your area. With a few clicks, you can get quotes and schedule an appointment. No contracts are needed, which lets you set your own lawn care schedule.
Just think — a gorgeous, consistently manicured yard, and a little extra time to savor the fruits of your labor!
High tech tools can be just as important to creating a gold medal garden as a shovel or a rake. And with all these incredible options, your dream garden will be flourishing in no time.