We are only fans of using technology in the backyard garden when it can provide one or more of the following:
Simplified gardening activities – we are all for enjoying the garden as much as possible and minimizing unpleasant work or any type of, dare we say…stress. A sun calculating device like the Luster Leaf 1875 Rapitest SUNCALC Sunlight Calculator is an example of how technology can simply gardening.
A sun calculating device can greatly improve the accuracy of your sunlight measurements while saving you from the laborious task of tracking the sun manually. Please do not read this as us saying, “never track the sun again”. We want you to try tracking the sun manually at least once. It is a great exercise and can be really educational if you have children or grandchildren. Kids can learn more about that wonderful ball of fire in the sky!
Better Results – we are all for following gardening traditions and time-tested techniques. However, one cannot turn a blind eye on new opportunities to improve edible gardening results. For example, there are a number of garden planning apps for smartphones, tablets, and even desktop/laptops that can help gardeners quickly and easily determine things like: best times to plant, when to start seeds, and more. Just do not let these types of technologies ruin your experiences with nature. Keep them out of the garden and bring along your trusty garden planning workbook or garden journal instead.
Conservation – We often write about how backyard edible gardening can be a pathway to a more sustainable household and life. However, there are times when edible gardening can be wasteful too. Watering is one example of a potentially wasteful activity. Sure, plants need water to survive, just ask our friends in California. How we water is really in question here.
Watering can be very tricky because different plants require different amounts of water. Plus, most backyard edible gardeners have day jobs! In our home the task of watering is handled by the entire family. We water in a variety of methods, but all of them have left something to be desired.
Our kids water by taking small cups or buckets full of water from a centrally located 6-gallon pail of clean water. This is fun for them and keeps them busy, but not always practical. Plus, they tire easily and do not always finish!
The adults either water with a hose, use a large watering can, or turn on our high-mounted sprinkler that hits the entire garden with about the same amounts of water. All three methods work, but again, each has its drawbacks.
This leads of to technology again. Not the whiz-bang type of technology in our smartphones and laptops, but technology none the less. We are talking about drip irrigation. Drip irrigation is a great example of a technological advance that can offer better edible gardening results and greatly reduce the amounts of water used too.
We do not advise starting off your edible gardening ventures by setting up drip irrigation systems. That would potentially be too much work up front and would likely dampen your love for edible gardening. Instead, keep drip irrigation as a potential technique to help improve your edible gardening results and take your backyard edible garden to the next level.
Even we have not used drip irrigation yet. We are getting very close though. Having the time to set up a test garden with it has been our only obstacle. Maybe this season will be our first. If so, we will surely share our experiences.
How have you used technology to get better edible gardening results?