Smart Technology for Smart Gardens
The concept of smart homes has expanded to include smart gardens. There are now a variety of new gardening gadgets that can be controlled with your smart phone, and many of them are helping to preserve natural resources as well as their owners’ energy.
Automated Sprinkler Systems
Today’s automated sprinkler systems are a marvel. There are now several that come with apps that allow remote operation and offer a variety of features as well as price ranges. The Rachio system can automatically schedule watering based on real-time weather data, and even track water usage and savings. For areas suffering drought, every precious drop of water counts. Amazingly, the Blue Spray system can accommodate up to 24 different watering zones simultaneously. Automated sprinklers are just one time and money-saving element of a smart garden.
One of the things that make smart gardens possible is modern valve technology. For example, Edyn offers a water valve with a sensor that connects to your garden hose or irrigation system. The installation is quite easy, as all you have to do is connect the flanges (you can find the tables here) The sensor collects information on the soil conditions and sends it to your phone or tablet. It also features a database that contains information about optimal growing conditions for the optimal for thousands of garden plants.
Many types of sensors that have been available to professional farmers for years are now available for home gardeners. The simplest plant sensors measure soil moisture levels, while more complex ones measure that data against a plant database and provide watering advice through push notifications to your smart phone . The most advanced sensors can measure ambient light, temperature, humidity and fertilizer levels for multiple plants simultaneously.
Some sensors can serve dual purposes both indoors and outdoors. Expert care for exotic and expensive indoor potted plants can be precisely calculated with ease. Fine wines and fine art often require the maintenance of precise temperatures to preserve them, making these sensors invaluable. Others are capable of monitoring indoor air quality, an important function for the increasing number of people with allergies.
Smart Garden Pest Control
The ScareCrow looks like an ordinary sprinkler, but it’s much more. It contains a motion sensor to detect the presence of any kind of garden pest that might eat the fruits of your gardening labors before you do. When a squirrel or raccoon approaches your garden, the motion sensor sets off a well-aimed jet stream of water to frighten it away. At last—animal control without expensive extra fencing or toxic poisons.
The Guardian utilizes an ingenious combination of a thermal sensor, ultrasonic sound, and an array of pre-recorded predatory animal calls to frighten vegetarian animals away from your garden before they have a chance to feast on your harvest. The thermal sensor of this weatherproof device can detect movement from up to 60 feet away.
Wi-fi, Bluetooth, and Power Line
Many elements of smart gardens operate using wi-fi or Bluetooth. Knowing how far your Bluetooth signal extends is important when choosing a product. If it isn’t very far, a wi-fi device might be more practical, since a wi-fi signal can be extended with an extra router. Power Line, which uses your home’s electrical wiring to transmit signals, is another far-reaching alternative, but does require the additional initial cost of a bridge to your router.
Advantages of Online Apps
Online applications allow their owners to take advantage of online systems that unify third party devices, such as the online rule maker If This Then That (IFTTT), to program them for maximum efficiency. You can also create and customize entirely new functions by combining their capabilities. For example, you can link a fire detection system to an automated sprinkler system to create an integrated fire safety system. Some experts recommend choosing products that are compatible with IFTTT for that reason.
Experts also point out that sometimes apps themselves provide almost as much value as the products they were developed to work with. If if you just need notifications to remind you to water, you can use the app to set that up for free. That’s why it’s a good idea to take a full tour of every device’s app before making a final purchase. Smart gardens always begin with smart purchases.