High tech green gadgets
Alex Meehan's top pick of handy tech to help you tend your garden
High-tech gadgets and gardening may not seem like obvious bedfellows, but clever new technology can take some of the guesswork out of things for novices, and make you more eco-friendly too. So if you’re someone who routinely manages to kill houseplants, apps that remind you when it’s time to water, or even gadgets that do the watering for you, could be invaluable.
Got a smartphone? If so, you already have the means to access many useful gardening apps. There are several out there for both iOS and Android and here are a few we like:
Garden Answers (iOS and Android) offers plant and flower identification through your smartphone's camera, giving botanical and common names, plant origins and more for plants that you find growing near you.
Meanwhile, Gardening Companion (iOS) is a gardening assistant that offers plant information and can help you set calendars to remind you when crucial tasks need to be done.
MySoil for iOS is an app from the British Geological Survey organisation that provides maps of soil types in your area - useful when deciding which plants to put down in your back yard.
There are several manufacturers offering robotic lawn mowers in Ireland but Husqvarna is probably the best-known. These machines work on the basis of a guiding perimeter wire that encloses the lawn and tells the robomower where to go. A rechargeable battery keeps it running. Prices for an entry-level Husqvarna robot are about €1,120 for the Automower 105 (above), which can handle a 600sq m garden, rising to around €3,590 for a 450X, capable of dealing with a 5,000sq m lawn with varying topography.
Hozelock's Cloud Controller fits between your outdoor tap and a sprinkler or soakhose, and slowly drips water into the soil. It can be controlled by a smartphone app, allowing you to set a schedule that suits your watering needs, and then forget about it. Available from amazon.co.uk for £77.99, or about €90.
If you really never want to accidentally kill a plant again, sensors are the answer. These are pushed into the soil at the base of the garden or houseplants, and connect via WiFi to a smartphone. When the soil starts to dry out or it's time for some plant food, they'll let you know.
Parrot Pot is an indoor pot with its own water reservoir and can be programmed to water plants automatically when it detects that moisture levels are low. Pick one up on amazon.co.uk for about €58.
A simpler system is offered by Xiaomi. Priced at around €25, the Ollivan plant monitor is described as a four-in-one system, as it keeps an eye on temperature, sunlight, soil nutrients and moisture levels of indoor plants, from amazon.co.uk.
High-tech gadgets and gardening may not seem like obvious bedfellows, but clever new technology can take some of the guesswork out of things for novices, and make you more eco-friendly too. So if you're someone who routinely manages to kill houseplants, apps that remind you when it's time to water, or even gadgets that do the watering for you, could be invaluable.