A slew of new gadgets springing up in local gardening stores and online may just be the answer to a brown thumb.
By Heather Camlot
I admit I’m not much of a gardener. But I do love seeing flowers in full bloom, picking fruit and vegetables, and occasionally watering the grass so my kids can run through the sprinkler. Unfortunately, I don’t have the patience for the work involved in having said flowers, foods and grass.
But the slew of new gadgets springing up in local gardening stores and online has certainly piqued my interest. If there’s anything I love, it’s playing with new tech tools. And who knows, they may even help me develop that mysterious green thumb – or at least make me look like I have one. (All prices Canadian, unless noted otherwise.)
Sunlight Calculator, $30
It’s great that plants usually come with guidelines letting you know what type of location they should be planted in – partial or full shade, partial or full sun. If only the actual garden had similar markers. The sunlight calculator does the figuring out for you – place it anywhere in the garden and it will measure the intensity of sunlight over a 12-hour period so you know exactly which plants will thrive and which won’t have a chance.
EasyBloom Plant Sensor Plus, $60 US
For even more detailed information about what to plant and where, the cute and practical EasyBloom plant sensor is a brown thumb’s dream. Pop it in the ground, let it monitor the surroundings, then plug the sensor into your computer. You’ll get detailed information on which plant, flower, tree, vegetable or shrub to plant in that particular spot and why your garden may not be doing as well as you believe it should.
Husqvarna Robotic Mowers, $1,000-3,000 US
In the 15 years since the Automower came to market, more than 100,000 have been sold. The reason for its success? Owners get to kick back on a hot day and let the mower do all the work. Oh, and if there’s a problem, some models will send a text message calling for help. It’s like paying the kids to mow the lawn, but knowing you won’t have to redo it later. This year Husqvarna is introducing a range of metallic finishes, so owners can colour-match their mower to their cabanas or garden scheme.
Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow? Let’s check the time-lapse camera. Stake the weather-resistant GardenWatchCam in front of your target, set the time-lapse function – from one minute to 24 hours – or program the camera from your computer. When you’re ready, pop out the USB drive and revisit your garden’s glorious moments – from first bud, to full bloom, to last petal.
Is the sky looking a little iffy and making you wonder whether you should go out to garden today? The weather station provides the exact conditions around your home, including temperature, humidity, wind and rainfall. It can even be programmed to sound an alarm for certain weather conditions and the collected information can be downloaded to your PC.
With so much concern over water consumption, this electronic rain gauge can put your mind at ease. Because water flows right though the gauge (meaning there is no need to empty it!), it can be used to track rainfall and let you know if you need to water. It can be attached to your sprinkler to let you know when you’ve watered enough.
First published July 26, 2010, on WorkLivePlayCafe.com.