A Garden with a Mind of Its Own

Garden with a Mind of Its Own
Garden with a Mind of Its Own

From the moment man designed and built hos, tractors, and combined harvesters to help with farming, it was abundantly clear that technology and gardening can work well together. Granted, we are now a little more advanced than our hoe-wielding ancestors, and although we still use tractors and lawnmowers, all the same, we have smart options available for our gardening needs now. Smart garden technology is no longer so far-fetched an idea, and with the right implementation, it just might be the next best thing for farming.

A Garden with a Mind of Its Own - Smart Garden Technology

Who says the same technology that powers your motion sensor security lights or your garage door cannot be used to run your garden? Think about it, what are automatic sprinklers if not smart garden technology that makes our lives easier? What about mechanized lawnmowers and automated drip irrigation systems? How about hydroponics? What about how we use weather forecasts and weather sensors to our advantage? Isn't all this just different ways through which we are already smart gardening?

The truth is, as technology advances, so does our scope of its use! Smart gardening has been coming for a long time, and it is only logical that we embrace it now while we are at the height of our technological ingenuity. Of course, there will be better smart gardening tools and systems as time goes, but for now, here are some of the most beneficial smart gardening systems available to you.

Different Types of Smart Garden Technology

Smart technology does not have to be daunting or confusing. Yes, there are many different options available; all of which seem to do the same things or seem to complicate your gardening life a little more, but once you understand the fundamentals of smart gardening, you will be better placed to make excellent choices.

Simply put, smart gardening technology should help you do the following:

  • Plant better seeds.
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    Improve your care for those seeds.
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    Take better care of your garden.
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    Reduce how much work you personally have to put into the garden.
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    Collect essential data to ensure that your gardening is improving as time goes.
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    Ensure that your gardening remains operational even when you are not there.

If you look carefully, you will find that there is a system designed and engineered to do all of these things and more. With that in mind, here are some smart garden and lawn care technological options you should consider:

1. Smart Sprinkler Systems

Garden with a Mind of Its Own

One of the most challenging aspects of maintaining a lush and healthy garden is knowing when to sprinkle water on it and just how much water to sprinkle during the ideal times. In many cases, homeowners just tend to eyeball it and guess how much they should sprinkle which, needless to say, doesn't always lead to the best results. But with a smart sprinkler system, you can take the guessing game out of your gardening. The best smart sprinklers in the market:

  • Can be controlled by an app.
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    Have a central command unit that keeps an eye on the weather.
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    Can sprinkle different patches of the garden at different rates to get the best results.
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    Are water-saving devices that make the most of your water supply.
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    Automatically shuts down during the rainy season.

The good thing about many of the smart sprinkler options available in the market today is that they are can use your existing irrigation system. This means that you do not have to overhaul the entire garden just to have your smart sprinklers installed. However, if you don't already have an irrigation system in place, you can get hose-fed smart sprinklers instead.

You need to keep an eye out on just how many zones you need covered because smart garden sprinklers vary in zone coverage capabilities (mostly between 6 to 16).

2. Smart Garden Plant Sensors

Plant sensors are devices that you place into the dirt next to your plants. These devices gather a ton of data on your garden and send that information to your phone or computer. You can actually use these both in and outdoors. Which means that plant sensors can really help with potted plants as well. Plant sensors essentially measure soil moisture all the while comparing that information to a database that is plant specific. The right kind of plant sensor will give you useful insight on what you need to do to ensure that the specific plant grows in the best possible conditions. It tells you:

  • When to water the plant.
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    What kind of nutrients you need to introduce into the soil.
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    How much ambient light the plant needs.
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    The ideal humidity necessary for optimal plant species growth.

The best plant sensor systems will even remind you when to water your plants via SMS. The right plant sensors will keep you well informed about the different plant species found in your garden and guide you towards getting optimal yields.

3. Robot Lawnmowers

Garden with a Mind of Its Own

It's only a matter of time till robots take over most of the workforce on this planet. In keeping with that goal, robot lawnmowers are now available for sale. This tech, however, has not had time to mature and as such, these lawnmowers are expensive and a little limited. This is mostly because they use the same tech that is used in electric dog collars; the lawnmowers navigate your garden in accordance with the perimeter wires buried around the area you want to be mowed. This means that you will have to dig these wires in before you can use your robot lawnmower. All that being said, the advantages of having a robot lawnmower are obvious. For one, you will no longer have to suffer the stares from the neighbors as you pace up and down your lawn trying to make sure that the grass is just at the right, homeowners association approved height. The other advantages are that you will always have a neatly mowed lawn since you can program the robot to make periodic passes every few days and it frees your time up for other ventures.

4. Smart Drip Irrigation Systems

Garden with a Mind of Its Own

When it comes to saving water and irrigation convenience, drip irrigation is by far the best option out there. In some systems, the irrigation pipes are above ground while others are buried below. As is the case with watering your garden, the question is always the same: when do you water the garden and how do you know when your plants have had enough or vice versa? With smart drip irrigation systems, this guesswork is taken out of the equation. These smart irrigation systems are controlled by moisture sensors that automatically send commands to turn on the system when the soil around your plants become to dry and turn the system off when the soil attains the right moisture level for your plant species.

5. Greywater Tanks

Smart gardening is about more than just using tech to make your work easier when it comes to gardening. It is also about finding easier ways to conserve water and repurpose already used water for your gardening needs. Did you know that you could water your garden with water from your bath or your washing machine? Yes, it might sound as if this water might poison your plants, but once it goes through the Greywater tank, it will be good enough for your plants. Designed to purify water for garden use, the Greywater tank uses UV radiation and a host of biological systems to clean the impurities found in your bath or washing machine water making it safe and good for gardening use. It is water conservation, and repurposing rolled up in one neat tank.

As much as smart gardening has a lot to do with the use of technology in the garden, your efforts can be better bolstered by different types of gardening practices as well. Practices that will ensure your garden has a better chance of thriving and that it will give you better yields. These practices include:

  • Smart landscaping where you hire professionals to help show you how to prepare the soil and the best way to water your garden so as to conserve this precious resource.
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    Having your plants placed in the right location for their optimal growth.
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    Pruning and trimming trees and bushes in the right way.
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    Growing native plants that already thrive in your local conditions.

As technology advances so will smart gardening tools become more sophisticated. This is definitely something worth looking into if you are an enthusiastic gardener.

Things to Consider When Choosing Smart Garden Technology

The thing about most smart garden technology devices is that they rely on a strong internet connection. Which is just fine if you live in the city or in an area where broadband is not an issue but it can be a little tricky if you are out in the country. It is therefore imperative to take a few things into consideration before investing heavily into smart garden tech of any kind. Here are some things that you need to consider:

  • What kind of signal it uses: Most devices depend on a strong Wi-Fi signal, but you can also find devices that use other strong frequencies such as ZigBee and Z-Wave. These use less power and are ideal for when you need to place your sprinkler controller at the far end of your garden. You could also go for devices that supplement the Wi-Fi signal with a different connection such as a power line connection. The Blossom Smart Watering Controller does this very well by using your homes electrical wiring to transmit signals to the hub and device. You could also go the Bluetooth way as is the case with GreenIQ Smart Garden Hub which is a smart sprinkler controller that uses your smartphone signals and allows you to control your device even when your internet is down.
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    You need to find weather-proofed devices: Seeing as you will probably need to install your brand new smart gardening device outside in the garden, you will need to find something that can withstand the elements. It is easy to assume that smart devices meant for the garden are weather-proofed, but you will be surprised to learn how poorly some of these gadgets perform under extreme conditions. The already mentioned Blossom Smart Watering Controller is fully weather-proofed while its stellar competitor, the Rachio Sprinkler isn't but it comes with a waterproof enclosure that is sold on the side. Devices such as the Edyn Garden Sensor can take a bit of rainfall but will not stand for being submerged in water. These are all things you should check to ensure that you are getting the right device for your specific location.
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    How is the device powered: Does it use batteries or can it be plugged into the wall to charge up? The robot lawnmower plugs into the wall while most sensors such as the plant sensor use batteries.
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    How is it controlled: Most of these devices are connected to your smartphone either through an app or a website. You need to ensure that whatever you buy is compatible with your phone. You also need to download the app to see if it is user-friendly or if it has glitches that will bother you once you get the device installed. For devices such as plant sensors that provide you with useful information gathered from a vast plant-based database, you need to explore that database to ensure that it carries information on the specific plant species that you want to care for in your garden. Otherwise, this device will be pointless and useless for your specific needs.

The best way to get through the myriad of smart gardening device options that are available today is first to decide what you want to do with your garden. What kind of plants do you want to grow and what kind of advantages do you need to ensure that those plants grow well. Once that is done, it will be easy to find the devices that help you achieve this result. More and more smart gardening gadgets are being invented every day, and it is an exciting time to be a tech-savvy gardener.

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