Gardening sensors can make managing a garden much easier. Photo courtesy of Edyn

No rain? No problem

miles

Gardening technology can automate the watering of your garden and can even tell you when your plants need nutrients

When it comes to gardening, there are three kinds of people. First, there are those who have zero interest in getting their hands dirty. They wouldn’t know a hosta from a hydrangea, and are happy with a house full of artificial plants.

Then there are the hard-core green thumbs. They start flowers and vegetables indoors in March. Their favourite channel is HGTV, and they listen avidly to radio call-in shows whenever gardening is the topic. Their idea of a perfect winter afternoon is hanging out in a garden centre greenhouse.

Somewhere in between are the rest of us. We like a thriving yard and garden, and relish the flavours of fresh vegetables, but don’t have the time or inclination to spend every waking hour communing with our soil and plants.

If you’re one of us, there are some technological solutions that might make your life a little easier and your yard a little greener.

Entry-level soil moisture sensors are great place to start. They’re designed to tell you when you need to water your plants. Most of these devices allow you to leave the sensor probe in the ground, and go out and plug in the meter when you want to check the soil.

If that still sounds like too much work, don’t worry, the next step up is a system like the Gardena C1060 Solar Water Computer. Priced at around $215, it attaches directly to your outdoor faucet and can be programmed to water a fixed amount on a schedule. It can handle six watering cycles per day, with watering times from a miserly minute to a woefully wasteful 10 hours.

But if you want to use water wisely, you’ll need to pair this unit with Gardena’s Rain or Soil Moisture Sensor. That will let you skip the timer programming, and just sit back and let the sensor tell the computer when and how much to water.

There’s more to a healthy garden than just water, though. Plants need nutrition from the soil and light from the sun. Conveniently, there are devices that will keep tabs on all that for you, too.

There’s more to a healthy garden than just water, though. Plants need nutrition from the soil and light from the sun. Conveniently, there are devices that will keep tabs on all that for you, too.

The Edyn Garden Sensor tracks, light, humidity, temperature, soil nutrients and moisture. Then it taps into plant and soil science databases, and local weather to give you the info you need to improve the health of your garden.

Connected to WiFi, the Edyn sends its data to a smartphone app in real time. It can also talk to its best buddy, the Edyn Water Valve, and ask for a shot of moisture when needed.

The Edyn Garden Sensor also looks like it belongs in a garden. It’s a rare example of industrial design that considers context. You can find more information and order products at www.edyn.com.

Unfortunately, even with these devices in play you’re still going to have to do the actual work of digging, planting, weeding and fertilizing, at least for now. Robotic gardening drones aren’t on the market… yet.

Miles Durrie’s Digital Downlow column appears exclusively in CREB®Now biweekly. Questions? Story suggestions? Email digitaldownlowcalgary@gmail.com.

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