The Future of Home Gardening is Connected

May 21, 2016 by

edyn_appscreens_4up-100355080-orig Edyn gardening app.

Gardening can be a great way to disconnect from the technology that has taken over our lives. Making use of the many available garden technology apps and objects may seem in opposition to the notion of unplugging in the garden. But rather than taking us away from the natural world, these technologies are new gardening assistants making it easier for us to partner with nature.

The Internet of Things (IoT), a network of physical objects—devices, vehicles, buildings and other items—embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and network connectivity that enables these objects to collect and exchange data, has officially crept into backyards around the country. Check out these IoT products to see what we mean.

1. Edyn
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This little genius monitors and keeps track of the environmental conditions in your garden. If it’s been a scorching 90 degrees all day, Edyn wants you to know about it in case your plants need some extra TLC. The system also gets down and dirty. With a wireless sensor, Edyn creates tailor-made recommendations about which plants would do best in your garden based on your soil composition. Do you know how to do that yourself? If yes, you are an expert and we admire you.

2. RainMachine

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The RainMachine happily takes command of your sprinkler system. And it can see the future. Using seven-day forecasts, the system uses real-time weather data to adjust your watering schedule. What RainMachine sees, you can see from your smartphone or tablet. This smart sprinkler system is desirable because it increases water efficiency. It helps you save water, which is important (I’m looking at you, California).

3. greenIQ 

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Sprinklers on in the rain? Embarrassing. Garden lights on in the afternoon sun? Useless. GreenIQ is a Smart Garden Hub that takes care of things like this for you. Plus, the weather algorithm claims to lower water consumption in the garden by 50%. The device can be controlled across multiple platforms, and gives you bragging rights with water savings reports.

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4. Parrot Flower Power
The Parrot Flower Power is a wireless Bluetooth low energy sensor, which precisely measures, in real-time, parameters for plant growth –soil moisture, fertilizer, ambient temperature and light intensity–and via a free dedicated app, alerts users on their smartphones if action is required. Parrot’s wireless sensor technology relies on a seamless connection with GreenIQ’s weather-based irrigation technology. And just how smart is this little Parrot? She’s got over 7000 plants in her database which you can browse by plant type, shape, bloom or leaf color, lifetime (annual, biennial, perennial), and season.

parrot-wireless-plant-sensor-urbangardensweb Parrot Flower Power works with GreenIQ technology.

Bigger Scale Agriculture
How technology can improve personal gardening success (and ease) is small potatoes compared to what it can do for agriculture. At such a large-scale, acquiring data for better yields, more energy efficiency, water consumption and better growing environments can make a huge difference, not just for the farm, but for the planet. Industry experts predict that drones will soon come into the  mix, enabling “precision gardening” to take flight.

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Technology has also graced indoor gardens, most often with a beautiful design element. We’ve written about edn’s Wallgarden, a soilless vertical garden that waters itself (with nutrient infused water), and monitors its own temperature with smart lighting, so that you can have up to 14 types of fresh herbs, vegetables or flowers growing easily in your abode. We’ve also admired the Hydropod, a sleek countertop  hydroponic planter, which is as functional as it is fashionable. Another favorite in the garden tech space is Milan designer Stefania Minnella’s vertical self-sustaining hydroponic system, Elica Idroponica, which automates all the tasks busy people might neglect: irrigation, lighting and the dosing of nutrients. And we’d be remiss not to mention Nano Garden. Instead of relying on the unpredictability of sunlight and rain to feed the plants, Nano Garden’s built–in lighting promotes plant growth while water from your apartment’s plumbing quenches the plants’ thirst.

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Technology can be great (are you reading this on your smart phone?) but it can also be exhausting to be so hyper connected. If garden technology gets you out and growing, great. Otherwise, you don’t need technology to enhance the immense value of digging in the dirt. In fact, the Therapeutic Landscape Network reports that “a strain of bacterium in soil, Mycobacterium vaccae, has been found to trigger the release of serotonin, which in turn elevates mood and decreases anxiety.” Whether you’re armed with garden tech or not, get growing–if nothing else, it’s likely to put you in a good mood.

All product images from respective company’s websites; drone image taken by dronepicr.

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