Garden geeks can have a field day playing with the high-tech garden gadgets out now writes Julie Thomson
For earth mothers (and fathers), technology may be a dirty word in the garden, but for those who want to grow things more efficiently, channelling the inner geek can lead to flourishing success. There are great minds at work to help your green space. Try out these garden gadgets:
Plant examining glasses
You won’t win any fashion prizes wearing the plant examining glasses from Clean Air Gardening, but you will see problems spots in your lawn or plants earlier. If there’s dryness or disease present, the NASA-designed lenses block out green colour reflected from chlorophyll causing it to look black or grey. Any off-green colours indicating trouble will stand out as red, coral, pink or other hues before the naked eye would pick it up. RRP$70 but varies.
Orbit digital hose-end timers
Digital hose-end timers allow for very specific watering settings. You set the manual dial for a time, frequency and duration and can even stop the flow with a rain delay button. They range from $40 to over $100 and you can monitor proceedings on an indoor touch screen at $105.
Smart devices like PlantSmart from Black&Decker, have sensors that measure: sunlight, temperature, soil nutrients and moisture. Poke it into the soil and it evaluates the growing conditions. Transfer the data to computer via a USB and it provides customised recommendations. Models from $18 (pictured model $50).
RoboReel robotic garden hose is elegant engineering. It is 33m of about 1cm hose in a strong spherical shell, with four lockable wheels and a cord to drag it about. A heavy-duty rechargeable battery provides a power-assist when you extract the reel, a remote control controls the flow and if you forget, it turns the water off after an hour. It retracts with a touch of button and can be programmed to run when you want it – to water the lawn or fill the pool – and it stops when it’s done. RRP$649.
‘Stiks’ as sensors
Litestiks ($25) and Waterstiks ($20) sense and change colour according to soil conditions, so you never need get dirty fingers testing your pots.
Apps that help you plot your garden include SmartGardner and Gardening Toolkit and for Android phones, VegGarden will send you alerts on when to plant, sow and water.
I’ve hardly scratched the surface. There’s solar-powered ponds, heat-mat thermostats,Eco-Drops that automatically mixes worm juice with your sprinkler system. See it is easy being green with garden gadgets!