I’ve heard about some garden gadgets for a while now, and as I prepare to get my garden going this year, I started wondering what the best technologies were for my new garden.
So what are the top garden gadgets for gardening?
- Garden Robots
- Garden Sensors
- Garden Sprinklers
- Indoor Countertop Herb Gardens
- Rapid Food Waste Composters
- Robotic Lawn Mowers
After purchasing our first home my wife and I decided to start a garden. It was a small-ish raised vegetable garden of about 144 square feet. For two years it was a fairly successful garden. After about two years I decided we’d expand the garden to about 20×20 feet. I began the process of converting the original garden, preparing the additional ground, and seeking out new styles of gardening. However, before my garden was ready for planting I was in a severe motorcycle accident and ended up in a bed for three months.
While I lay in bed our family was fortunate enough to have friends tend to our yard and trees. The empty garden space quickly turned into a junk pile for sticks and debris found in the yard. I’m admittedly a lazy gardener and the additional work when I was back on my feet just seemed too much to overcome so I gave up on it for quite a while. I do like having a garden though, so I’ve slowly begun preparing the area again. I still have a long way to go, and I’m not incredibly motivated.
The fact is, I live in Texas – it’s hot, humid, and frankly, I don’t want to be out in the sun too much. While I do like some of the benefits of getting out in the sun and working hard, I also would prefer it if there was a technology that could do the hard part for me.
My garden is only partially for the hobby – most of my gardening is really out of necessity to save money and feed my large family. I have six kids, the oldest of whom is in Kindergarten. The kids enjoy helping me in the garden, but it’s simply not my favorite thing. So as we approach the new year and begin thinking about preparing for this year’s garden I searched for and found, the greatest technology for gardening to help me have the most success with the least amount of work.
While plenty of these technologies will simply not be cost-effective this year, they are still really neat and worth checking out!
Vegetable Garden Tech
For me, gardening gadgets are perhaps the most practical of the tech tools because these technologies will be extremely handy for my veggie garden, and all use solar power to ensure the garden bots are always working.
FarmBot Genesis Open Source Garden Robot
The FarmBot Genesis is an open-source garden robot that can accomplish just about everything you want to be done in your garden. This bot can plant your seeds, water the plants perfectly, weed the garden, and monitor soil and sunlight.
As an open-source project, the plans and design of this bot are 100% available to anyone, so more technology and capabilities of the robot will be added regularly.
You could even 3D print and CNC all the parts and pieces to build it yourself if you don’t want to drop the $3,500 to $4000 for the kit. At that price, I’m not convinced it’s the bot for me because it would take a little too long before it pays off.
Tertill (From the Creator of Roomba)
This little guy is a great little robot for a backyard garden. It’s about the same diameter of a Roomba vacuum, perhaps because it’s created by the same guy that created the Roomba.
The Tertill is a 4 wheel drive robot made to recognize and eliminate weeds. Its weather resilience makes it an excellent companion for any garden, and for about $300, it may be a pretty good buy.
Even the most rudimentary math says this may be worth it: if I made as little as $10/hour and spent 2 hours a week weeding my garden that would be $20/week. If my vegetable gardens lifespan is about 16 weeks, that’s $320 worth of time, and in just one 16 week season, it’s paid for itself.
I like this little bot, but I wish that it did more than just weed my garden.
GardenSpace Smart Garden Robot
Now, this is quite a cool piece of gardening tech. The company actually gathers pictures and data from your plants so that it can use artificial intelligence to constantly improve its algorithms.
This bot sits in the middle of your garden on a tall stand where is continually uses its camera and sensors to monitor each and every plant in the garden.
As it’s monitoring the GardenSpace Smart Garden Robot will send water to the plants that need it, keeping track of the weather while it’s at it to be sure it’s not watering just before a rainstorm. This helps conserve water and makes sure that no plant gets left behind.
It also keeps an eye out for unwanted guests and sprays animals and wildlife that get too close to the garden. At about $400, this piece of garden technology would fit perfectly into my garden, giving me a good break and making sure I get the most out of my plants. This is my top choice when it comes to vegetable garden technology.
I’ll probably pair the Tertill and the GardenSpace Smart Garden Robot. That’ll help take care of watering, monitoring, protection from animals, and weeding for under $800. I expect this $800 will pay off within the first year and provide my family with a large amount of fresh produce.
Garden Sensors & Sprinklers
Garden sensor and sprinklers are great little devices that can connect to your devices using wifi and Bluetooth technology. They’ll help ensure your plants are watered properly by sending you alerts and gathering data.
Keep an eye out for more of these garden sensors coming to the market over the next few years. Garden sensors are a very practical approach for anyone that wants the garden to be monitored but is not willing to spend the money for a robot.
Edyn Garden Sensor
For a much smaller price than the garden robots, the Edyn Garden Sensor is a great little tool with a huge plant database. It monitors a huge number of data points including temperature, humidity, soil nutrition, and more.
The Edyn Garden Sensor can help even the most novice gardeners gain the knowledge and experience to grow a successful and bountiful garden
This is a hub has super easy setup and installation to help conserve up to 50% of the water used in your garden by monitoring the past, present, and future weather.
This is a great companion for many garden sensors which it connects to quickly and easily. For $250 it’s a little pricey for my gardening needs, but seeing as you may use it for any of your sprinklers and not just those in your vegetable garden, it may be right for you!
With soil moisture levels being monitored every 5-10 minutes this sensor will ensure that your plants receive the attention they need and will alert you to any neglect.
Like the GreenIQ Controller, it monitors local weather patterns and has a large database of plants so you can set it up specifically to monitor your plants’ needs.
Much like Amazon smart devices, you can constantly add on monitors, links, and hubs for each plant. The basic kit on Kickstarter includes a link and three monitors for about $100. Success on Kickstarter doesn’t mean success elsewhere, so keep a close eye on this one as it may become the standard in plant monitoring, or it could go belly up.
Parrot Flower Power
From the makers of the viral Parrot Drones comes the Parrot Flower Power plant monitoring system. I was SO excited to share this product, but unfortunately, the only report I can give on this is that it’s been discontinued and is no longer available.
Blossom Smart Sprinkler
The Blossom Smart Sprinkler is Wifi enabled and weather optimized. This smart sprinkler hub is affordable and helps conserve water for your garden and lawn.
It installs in just minutes, connects directly to your phone, and builds a smart watering schedule for your lawn and garden. For $85 to $190. it’s a pretty good deal!
Indoor Gardening Tech
I’m fascinated by the indoor gardening tech because one of my biggest issues with gardening is being out in the heat of Texas all the time. For my family, a big outdoor garden makes more sense, but there are some great new technologies for growing indoors for smaller families and especially for herbs including:
- Click & Grow Smart Garden
- Watex Pixel Garden Desktop
- Niwa One Premium Smart Garden
- AeroGarden Farm Plus Hydroponic Garden
- OPCOM Vertical Hydroponic Garden
- Herbert Hydroponic Garden
I won’t go over each of the indoor gardening options individually because they do basically the same things.
They are small indoor units with grow lights and pods you can buy to easily and efficiently grow plants indoors. While the units have slight variations, you’ll find that they all work very similarly and are incredibly useful for indoor gardening.
Indoor gardening unites may be perfect for someone in an apartment, renting a house, hates going outside to garden, lives in an area with cold winters, or is interested in growing fresh herbs.
It’s hard to get excited about food waste and compost, and these may not be the garden tech you expected, but I was thrilled to see some advancements in composting technology because composting is a chore.
This all in one food composter turns your food waste into useable soil in just 3 hours and reduces kitchen waste by up to 90% of its original volume. At $300, it’s a nice unit that will definitely do the job turning your food waste into the soil quickly.
Whirlpool Zera Food Recycler
This is perhaps one of my favorite new technologies! It’s expensive, but it’s definitely worth it for anyone looking to turn food waste into soil, and there isn’t a gardener out there who isn’t at least interested.
It is about the size of your average kitchen garbage can, but instead of collecting your food waste, it will turn it into useable compost within 24 hours. Its size makes it perfect for families.
The technology behind this one is second to none, and it’s definitely worth checking out. I’d be surprised if the Zera doesn’t become a regular household appliance for many.
Bokashi Indoor Composter
The least expensive composter on my list – the Bokashi Indoor Composter is actually quite a workhorse and capable of turning your food waste into viable safe soil for your garden.
It takes a little longer to turn your food waste into compost compared to the Zera and the Food Cycler –approximately 14 days, but it also significantly less expensive. It is perhaps not high on the “tech” list, but it was worth a mention.
Bonus Lawncare Tech
Robotic Lawn Mowers – I don’t think they are worth the cost just yet, but I do think they will be soon. We tend to spend a lot of time making our lawns look perfect, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see more and more of these robotic lawnmowers showing up.
For the time being, they are a little pricey for me, but they become more commonplace the cost will likely come down. There are also lawn mowing services like Robin that are using these smart robotic lawnmowers to do the work for them.