How does your garden grow?
Outdoor gadgets to build a better yard
Planting season has arrived and with it a host of extra outdoor responsibilities. Gone are the mow free days of winter, but don’t worry, we’ve got some smart tech to help your garden survive and thrive this year. This list includes something for everyone—from the complete novice to those of you already making room on your shelf for your next ‘Best Garden’ award. After all, if there is one thing plants teach us, it’s that there is always room to grow.
Lovingly referred to as “Instagram for plants,” GrowIt! helps connect the flourishing gardening community. Not only can you find answers to your plant related queries (including identifying if that flower in the yard is a weed or not), but you can upload images to share your garden’s progress. The website features blogs on a variety of garden related topics as well as occasional plant and seed giveaways.
It’s the perfect first stop on the road to a better garden. The app is free and available on both iOS and Android devices.
Luster Leaf 1818 Rapitest 4-in-1 Soil Tester
Those of us new to gardening could be forgiven for thinking that all dirt is the same. However, if you’ve ever struggled to keep your flowerbeds alive, chances are your soil is to blame. Factors like soil pH and the levels of moisture or fertility in a particular area can have a huge impact on how well plants grow there. Many seed packets offer information about which conditions are ideal, but give no way of telling if your yard is up to par. Luckily, the Luster Leaf Rapitest can quickly check for four different variables that impact plant growth: sunlight exposure, soil fertility, moisture and pH levels.
This information may not only save your garden, but also help you choose the best plants for your area.
In-ground watering systems are a fantastic—though expensive—way to handle watering. For those of us not ready to make the investment there’s Eve Aqua. Just attach the Eve box to any outdoor facet with a regular above-ground sprinkler and use the app to set a watering schedule. If you prefer a more hands-on approach, you can also control your new smart water outlet from any Apple product, including Siri voice commands.
If your goal is to fully automate your home and garden, Eve Aqua is the next logical step.
VegiBee Garden Pollinators
At first glance this device seems a bit silly, but it’s actually addressing a very real problem. As the bee population declines, plants aren’t able to distribute pollen as effectively. Anyone who’s suffered through a lackluster growing season with their vegetable patch has seen the results. VegiBee allows you to take the task of pollinating into your own hands which can help boost your garden yield by as much as 30% annually.
The device looks (and behaves) a bit like an electric toothbrush. It gently shakes the plant’s flower allowing you to collect and redistribute the pollen yourself. It won’t save time, but the extra vegetables might make it worth the effort.
Master Lock Outdoor Bluetooth Padlock
Once you’ve invested in some quality gardening gear, you’ll want to keep it safe and accessible. An easy solution is a garden shed. A better solution is to lock the shed with a Bluetooth padlock. No more shuffling through your key ring trying to remember which one opens the shed, bike lock or garden bench. Instead just pull out your phone and tell the lock to open up. Not carrying your phone? Not a problem. Simply enter a directional code right on the lock keypad.
The app makes it easy to open a lock for someone without having to leave a key lying around. It will even alert you to any attempts to tamper with the lock and can keep track of up to 10 locks at a time. Keep this in mind when you finally give in and splurge on one of those overpriced automatic lawn mowers.