4 Best New Gardening Gadgets And Tech To Try Now

These high-tech garden gadgets and apps can help you optimize your lettuce and houseplants—all from your phone.

March 24, 2017
app gardening
Ozgur Donmaz/Getty

Have trouble remembering to water your plants on time? Or just worry about finding someone to water them while you travel? 

By downloading gardening apps and buying some new gadgets, I found out that I could sit in a movie theater 380 miles from home, and water the jade in the kitchen. I can also see an alert on my phone that predicts when rainfall would hit my back yard, and deactivate the sprinklers that are scheduled to run the next morning. I also get notifications about useful gardening information: like that my recently store-bought fountain grass has too much fertilizer and the soil needs to be flushed out.

As a veteran gardener, I acquired, set up, and tested the Parrot PotEdyn’s Garden Sensor and Water Valve; the Plantlink Basestation; and the Green IQ Smart Garden Hub to see how I would like them—and if it would make gardening easier.

My iPhone was filled with new apps and dozens of colorful screens displaying weather forecasts, soil data, and watering schedules. Here's how I rated each one. 

(Whether you're starting your first garden or switching to organic, Rodale’s Basic Organic Gardening has all the answers and advice you need—get your copy today!)

edyn watering system
1/4 Photograph courtesy of amazon
Edyn

Edyn’s Garden Sensor and Water Valve is a wifi-based app with a valve set-up that waters your plants, plus tracks light, humidity, temperature, soil nutrition and moisture. (It even also gives you advice about what plants might do well in your garden.)

It has a user-friendly interface, and watering plants (either on a schedule or on demand) was easy to manage. The only con is that the sensor can only be in one place at one time—so it’s not optimal for managing multiple rows of veggies or an expansive garden.

Related: 7 Secrets for a High-Yield Vegetable Garden, Even When You’re Tight On Space

parrot pot
2/4 Photograph courtesy of amazon
Parrot Pot

If you have trouble keeping indoor plants alive (in which case you should read this article on 10 hardy houseplants anyone can grow), the Parrot Pot is a potential lifesaver! The wifi-enabled pot has a built-in water supply and soil sensor, and it automatically irrigates different plant species, and warns you if you have issues with light or soil nutrition. 

Parrot Pot monitors and waters a single plant, so it's perfect for your mini indoor garden. The app also dispenses fun botanical and gardening facts, like that farmers grow fountain-grass species as a cereal crop in some subtropical countries. 

Related: 5 Surprising Ways Gardening Is Good For Your Health

green IQ
3/4 Photograph courtesy of Amazon
Green IQ Smart Garden Hub

The Green IQ Smart Garden Hub is a bigger project, but also has a bigger reward: it can control and optimize an entire household irrigation and lighting system. The Green IQ evaluates complex real-time weather conditions and forecasts to save tons of water. (The manufacturer claims the system can cut gardening water bills in half.) The product is enormously capable, but take a bit of tech know-how to get it running. 

The ability to control watering is a potential game-changer for both the environment, and your water bill. In places like Southern California, where I live, water is an increasingly scarce (and expensive) commodity, and technology can help homeowners manage this precious resource. In my neighborhood, nearly every home has a sophisticated irrigation system that waters plants on a preprogrammed schedule—the flaws of which are on display when you go for a walk on a rainy winter morning and the sprinklers are going full bore. 

Related: 10 Ways to Save Water In Your Garden

plant link
4/4 Image courtesy of Amazon
Plantlink Basestation

For managing a real-life garden, Plantlink Basestation is one of the best options out there to monitor the soil humidity of your plants, and let you know when you need to get watering. 

The best part is that the Plantlink Basestation and app can manage up to 64 separate sensors (the starter package includes one; additional units can be purchased for $35).

As of this point, it cannot water plants on its own—it just alerts you when they need to be watered. But the company’s next generation Plantlink Lush, due in stores later this year, will have an integrated water valve. 

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