We Like This: Tech Toys

Time- and labor-saving “toys” to satisfy any gardener’s inner techie.

October 28, 2011

Hose-End Timer
The Orbit digital timer is the perfect combination of smart and straightforward. The digital clock allows for very specific watering settings, while the manual dial keeps the programming as easy as possible. Set start time, frequency, and duration in a matter of seconds, and even stop the flow with a rain delay button.

Plant Examining Glasses
NASA technology and the garden may seem like a strange combination, but these colored lenses from Clean Air Gardening really work. By blocking out green light waves, the glasses highlight areas where color shifts on grass—due to dryness or disease—are beginning to occur. Potential problems can be dealt with earlier, keeping a pristine lawn for all to see, with or without NASA's help.


The PlantSmart from Black and Decker has sensors that measure four aspects of proper planting: sunlight, temperature, soil nutrients, and moisture. Simply place it in the garden, then plug it into the computer for a full report on what is best planted in that spot. Stop wondering why some plants don't work, and learn which will.

WaterStik & LiteStik
Never question the health of indoor plants again. The LED light on the end of the Fertile Earth WaterStik flashes after determining the moisture of a houseplant's soil, with a range of colors representing different water needs, from dry to overwatered. The Fertile Earth LiteStik is small, so it fits in any potted plant, and it turns on its bright LED lights when it senses that the natural light source is gone for the day. This one-two punch of light and moisture will keep indoor plants thriving.

Heat-Mat Thermostat
Involving electronics in seed starting can seem daunting, but the heat-mat thermostat from Gardener's Supply Company will keep seedlings from burning up. The probe measures soil temperature, turning the mat on and off to regulate the heat. $55 from


5 Best Gardening Apps

Available right now in the iTunes store:

Informational videos, plant information for 15,000 plants, and a database of local retailers make this a gardener's best friend. $.99

Eden Garden Designer
Create a virtual garden by taking pictures of your space and adding digital plants, for fun or planning. $.99

Chirp! Bird Songs USA
More than 200 birdsongs and useful information will delight even the most dedicated bird-watcher. $2.99

Bugs and Insects
The database of more than 900 species ranges from pests to butterflies. $.99

A wide range of information on herbs, including culinary and medicinal uses. $2.99