I stumbled upon a new gardening invention the other day on Kickstarter. Kickstarter is a website that helps get funding for creative and technological projects (films, books, restaurants, public space improvements, theatre, games, etc.). In the smallest of nutshells, a project gets posted on the site and anyone can click a few links to help fund it. If the funding target is met, the project gets the money.
I had never seen a gardening gadget on the site before, so I thought I would share this one. It’s called Plant Link, and it’s a system of sensors and notifications to tell you when your plants or lawn need watering. A sensor measures the amount of moisture in the soil of your container, garden bed or section of lawn, and then sends a notification when the amount dips to a certain level. As we know, every plant has different water needs, so you select the specific profile for your plant, and each plant then has its own link. The notifications are sent to your phone or computer, and you manage your different plants online. You can even hook the system and a valve up to your water supply, and suddenly you don’t even need to water your plants – a computer system will do it for you. It’s not quite a robot wheeling around with a watering can in hand, but it’s certainly a new, high-tech approach to gardening.
You can read all about Plant Link and the people behind it, and see how they’re doing for funding.
This new invention got me thinking: Would I use something like this? I’m a lazy gardener when it comes to watering. Most of my plants are in containers, which adds to their water needs. But I like going to each container, checking the soil and deciding if more water is needed. Monitoring my garden has made me learn about plants faster, and encourages me to remember which ones prefer consistently wet soil and which don’t.
However, a gardener is made better with accurate information, and having the specific watering needs of each plant at your fingertips would be incredibly useful. I’m also not oblivious to how much water we gardeners use on our plants, and any tool that helps conserve water is a good one, in my opinion. Plant Link would no doubt be useful with an expensive houseplant (I don’t trust myself near orchids) and even more useful if you were away from home a lot.
Gardening means different things to everyone, and to me, it wouldn’t be gardening if I wasn’t playing in the dirt and getting disappointed on a regular basis. A gadget that automatically watered my plants would take away from these experiences, plus I’d miss the magic of adding water to soil and getting a plant in return. But getting good information, a new way to conserve water and a gadget that has my back in case I forget about my thirsty plants for a few days are all reasons to make me think Plant Link might have a place in gardens and the gardening world.
This gadget might appeal to non-gardeners. For real gardeners, the “finger in the soil” test is effective for gauging moisture levels. It also gives us a chance to inspect (and appreciate!) each plant.
Kat Fox says
I agree that the “finger in the soil” test (a good way to put it!) is effective, even for a beginner gardener. Checking for moisture levels has taught me a lot about my plants and their different needs, and also about the different places I put them. I’ve learned how moisture is retained differently in various types of containers, in parts of the garden near tree roots, in shade, etc. by walking from plant to plant and checking in on them.