One of the most low-tech activities, gardening, has now gone high-tech. While it’s true that you can happily and successfully garden with a packet of seeds, a sunny patch of soil, a trowel and watering can, that scenario doesn’t factor in our busy modern lives. Innovative gardening products solve problems and change the way we grow, nurture and share our gardens.
Innovations in gardening can be seen in Home Depot Garden Centers and also in our backyards. New and better plants and improved methods for caring for them make gardening an evermore appealing pastime and for many, a way to add value to your lifestyle. We want to grow our own vegetables and flowers and share them with friends or start a home-based business.
In the Garden Center, you can find Wave containers filled with beautifully composed combos of petunias, coleus and other annuals. These arrangements are designed to drop into decorative containers and will bloom up to first frost in most of the country, adding fresh color to your entryway or patio.
Inexperienced gardeners may get the notion that a hanging basket of peach and pink petunias is a single plant, when in fact it’s many plants grown from seed. These flowers are grown in the containers from multi-pellet seed combos. The grower takes a pellet rolled up with several Wave petunia seeds to create a pot. The seed pellet disperses the flowers so that they entwine rather than grow lopsided. As the seedlings grow, they form a naturally integrated shape.
Similar to the Wave containers is the Kale Storm Simply Salad bowl combining an assortment of lettuces and kale in one bowl. Look for Kale Storm in some Garden Centers and display in a bowl on your patio table, or grow as an edible ornamental in a window box, border or kitchen garden.
Place those stunning plant combos in the next generation of plant containers. Self-watering containers have a water reservoir below the soil. The plant’s roots reach down out of the soil and into the water for nourishment. Not only do these planters conserve water, they are ideal for gardeners who travel and can’t water their plants every day.
Any container up to 18 inches in diameter can be turned into a self-watering container with Southern Patio’s self-watering insert. This is an adjustable height refill tube and a water level indicator that floats when the insert is full. A rope wicks water into the soil from the insert’s reservoir that also allows roots to access water.
Many containers like the Tierra Verde Slate Rubber Self-Watering Planter, are made of durable and lightweight recycled rubber, making it an environmentally friendly choice. Look for more self-watering and recycled materials in the Garden Center this spring.
Getting water to the plants is the focus of many technological innovations in the garden. The Edyn garden sensor keeps you connected to your garden when you place the solar-powered Garden Sensor in the soil. The sensor monitors environmental conditions in your garden and sends you information via the Edyn app.
Similarly, the PlantLink Soil Moisture Sensor lets you know when your plants are thirsty. Place a moisture sensor in the soil of a hanging basket, houseplant, or lawn, and the sensor will send updates to the app. Taking it one step further, the Smart Garden Wi-Fi Irrigation Controller controls irrigation scheduling based on current and forecasted weather, and can reduce outdoor water consumption by up to 50 percent.
Even the hoses that deliver water to plants are showing innovations. New hoses like the Goodyear High Visibility Rubber Hose are substantially lighter than standard rubber hoses, function in extreme temperatures and are lead free, making them safe to for drinking water.
As you grow and nurture your garden, naturally you want to share the experience with your friends. Some gardeners want to show off their plants on social media, others want to share their newfound knowledge, but all Next Generation gardeners have boundless opportunities to enjoy gardening through their digital devices.
The 21st century version of sharing over the garden fence now takes place on social media like Instagram and Facebook. Social gardening apps like GrowIt! let gardeners compare harvests, learn new plants and figure out problems with pests and diseases.
For vegetable and herb gardeners, Bonnie Plants’ Homegrown app serves up zone-appropriate planting suggestions, and has a note-taking feature to help you keep track of what works and what doesn’t in the garden. It even links to Bonnie’s recipe database. Read more about our favorite gardening apps at Gardening Made Easy with Technology.