Gardening is not generally a world associated with high tech gadgetry. Its manual work, dirty work, and a labour of love. For most people, the most high tech they get is the odd solar powered path light – which in all honesty are about as effective as a candle in a jam jar, but we keep on buying them because they must have improved since last year’s batch! Yet there are some really funky gadgets which are well worth looking at.
To me, mowing is like outdoor vacuuming, a very dull way to spend any time at all, and during the summer months it needs to be done every week. So when we stumbled upon a robotic lawn mower we thought we’d gone to heaven. These cordless grass munchers do not come cheap though, prices are from £850 to £2,500. Some versions can tackle large lawns and even rough grass up to six inches long. Robotic mowers are very clever, they can tell if it’s raining, or if its battery needs recharging, at which point it goes to its “kennel” and jumps onto its charging dock. For best results the robotic mowers should be sent out every day or two. Mowing this frequently means that the clippings are so short they are virtually invisible so there is no huge pile of cuttings to hide. Your lawn will always look immaculately manicured (though you won’t get even stripes). What’s not to love?
Gardening for the less green fingered.
Remember being given a hyacinth bulb and a large jam jar as a kid and then growing the bulb into a flower just by keeping the roots in water? Well, in essence that is hydroponics, and it is big business and decidedly high tech these days! Technically Hydroponics is the growing of plants in nutrient solutions without an inert medium (e.g. soil) to provide mechanical support. How it works is very simple. There is a large reservoir of water to which air and nutrients are added. The water is pumped along the growing pipes so that the plant’s roots can take what they need. Any un-used water is returned to the reservoir to start again.
High tech butts!
OK, the water butts themselves are not high tech. It is the attachment that is high tech. As almost every year most of Britain is subjected to a hose pipe ban, water butts have become increasingly popular. Basically, they collect the rainwater from your roof via the usual guttering system on the house. This is then stored into a large tank or butt and can be used as an emergency reservoir when the hosepipe usage is under local authority sanctions. Previous watering systems used an electric pump attached to the water butt which meant that you needed to install electric power sockets next to your butts in order to water your plants, now there is a wonderful new variant which uses solar power.
Garden nags – smart apps
For those who are a little bit forgetful, there are a wide variety of probes which you can insert into your pots and planters which beam information to apps on your smart phone. Once installed they will remind you to water your plants or add plant food, some even tell you about soil conditions too, so that you know when a plant needs re-potting. The following website has some great advice on Gardening Apps: http://appadvice.com/appguides/show/gardening-apps
There is a huge variety of gadgets in the wonderful world of gardening that even I might be tempted to venture outside for something more than a BBQ or glass of wine with friends.