This year, I'm getting through the grey winter days by dreaming of planting a garden in our backyard. I'm sure that the old hands are already well gadgeted when it comes to the garden. But I'm a total novice, and in my research, I was surprised to discover that indoor seeding begins as early as January.
So what's a newbie to do? Luckily, along with the wealth of apps to get your garden growing, I've found four garden gadgets to help you sort your sunlight or compensate for your "black thumb", be it in a yard or a container.
1. SunCalc Sunlight Calculator ($18.98)
With the push of a button, the SunCalc light measuring tool "calculates the solar potential" of any spot in your garden. Just push in the stake and leave it for 24 hours, after which it will tell you how much sun its photovoltaic sensor has picked up. It's reusable, too!
My botanist neighbor taught me about the dangers of overwatering plants, cautioning me that less is often more. With this PlantSmart Digital Sensor from Black & Decker, I'll be able to get a feel for exactly how much moisture is in my plant's soil each day, along with its temperature and light readings.
Just plug it into your computer via USB and the data is sent to the PlantSmart website, which also helps you coordinate weather. Since it's a 24-hour measure, only reads one plant and must be removed and plugged in to work, I think this would be a fantastic solution to help revive an ailing plant, or to analyze soil at the start of the growing season.
3. Hanakotoba plant communication doll ($69, out of stock)
More of a potted plant person? This gadget from Japan promises to "bridge the gap between the you and your delicate plant life". Just add the stem of the hanakotoba plant communication doll to the soil or water of your plant, and its corresponding stylish gnome will tell you its exact status, through words (Japanese only) and the glowing color of its pedestal.
The name is a pun on the literal meaning of the word "hanakotoba", which translates to "language of the flowers" and traditionally refers to the symbolic meanings of flowers.
4. Botanicalls DIY Plant Twitter Kit ($99.99)
I'm pretty in love with the idea of a plant that Twitters, though I'm not sure how well I'd deal with its ever-increasingly urgent messages should I implement it. Still, this is a great kit - once you've soldered it together, you just slip the steel probes into your plant's soil and let it do its thing. It lives…it liiiiiives! Assembly required.
(You can also follow a plant on Twitter.)