I've started my first container garden, and while I'm encouraged by the growth I've seen since planting, I'm more than a little intimidated with the prospect of not only keeping my plants alive, but hopefully thriving. Gardening requires constant observation and adjustments for optimal growth, so I turned to my affinity for technology for a few possible solutions for common problems new and longtime gardeners most often run into...
Tech tools to help bolster one's green thumb capabilities come in three categories: apps, kits, and sensors. Here are several options for tackling common home gardening issues using technology as an aid:
You don't know how and where to start a garden:
When it comes to gardening the most helpful apps seem to be those that focus on the planning stages, letting you know what works best for your area, when to plant it, and how to plant it. A good example of an app in this category would be the Garden Plan Pro app shown above for $9.99 (iOS).
You don't have an outdoor space to grow a garden:
Kits like Click & Grow ($59.99) promise better indoor herb and tiny vegetables (depending on what kit you buy) for those restricted by space or lacking outdoor space altogether. The kit uses built-in sensors to help determine the correct amount of water required by each plant, pumping water out in regular intervals in order to prevent overwatering. Countertop systems like this are ideal for apartment dwellers seeking a way to grow herbs and small vegetables for cooking without too much tending or room.
You keep killing your plants:
Standalone sensor systems like the Koubachi Wi-Fi Plant Sensor ($99.00) or the even more hacker-style Growerbot both use programmed data to better tend to the health of plants, detecting whether or not your chlorophyll fueled family is getting the right amount of sun or water. The Koubachi sensor even sends an alert to iOS device if your plants need attention. The price point makes this not exactly an impulse buy, but I'm intrigued by the idea of digitally assisted gardening as a newbie to the skill/art of gardening, and if my little garden doesn't continue to thrive I might just have to look into a DIY version like this one from MAKE.
Your outdoor garden has become a salad bar for animals:
Besides insects and fungus rot, neighborhood animals attracted by fruit, vegetable, and even ornamental plants can ruin a whole year's worth of gardening work overnight. If hungry critters like deer, skunks, squirrels, and rabbits keep raiding your yard or container garden, consider a humane solution: an automated motion-sensor sprinkler spray, like the $46.87 Contech CRO101 Scarecrow Motion Activated Sprinkler.
(Images: Africa Studio/Shutterstock; as linked above)