Alberta's Best Garden Blog

Robo Gardening

Not gonna lie, I’m nerding out a little bit on the topic of Robo Gardening. I’m a big Sci-Fi fan, so this futuristic take on gardening with robots is a fusion of two subjects I really dig. There’s an expanding industry of robotics working to simplify and automate gardening work, and engineers have developed robots to accomplish every gardening task imaginable— the folks at Harvard even developed pollinator RoboBees! Okay, so maybe a swarm of robotic bees sounds a little bit terrifying, but they’ve actually got a 37% success rate for pollinating flowers, so considering that the real bee populations have been struggling lately, it definitely doesn’t hurt to have a solid back-up.

There are loads of different gardening robots and technologies on the market for folks who want to save some time and effort in lawn care. Depending on the size of your property, you could be tasked with several hours of weeding and watering per week. Don’t have the time to keep up with it all? Just get some robots! George Jetson would approve.

Robo Mowers and Landscapers

Everything from planning, planting, watering and weeding can be done remotely with the latest garden technology, but if there’s one type of garden robot that’s getting a lot of attention right now, it’s robo-mowers. There’s a lot of different models of hands-free automatic mowers available, some resembling a Roomba and others looking more like a miniature starship cruiser, and they boast some seriously impressive A.I. features to that can tackle challenging terrains or loop back to the charging base if it starts to drizzle. They’re an awesome option for people with back injuries or mobility issues since pushing a heavy lawnmower can be pretty strenuous.

The Tertill is a particularly cool model: it’s designed to whack the weeds in your garden for up the 3 hours at a time, while leaving your plants totally intact. The best part? You basically set it and forget it. The Tertill lives in your garden and patrols daily for new sprouting weeds, self-charges with solar panels, and unlike many other robo-mowers, is completely weatherproof, so you can leave it to do its thing all summer.

Send in The Drones

Landscaping companies have begun to use drones to tackle major design projects with great success. An aerial drone with a camera can provide a bird’s eye view of a large landscape, helping to map out a design or identify irregularities in the terrain. Scientists in Texas are taking things a step further by creating drones that don’t just produce images of landscapes, they “Read the Weeds”— analyzing the plants, identifying the weeds, and applying weed killer only to the areas needed so as to not harm surrounding plants. Technology like this could totally revolutionize the way we garden at home, and allow us to manage large amounts of plants with very little labour.

Smart-Gardening with Apps

The gardening industry is actually growing steadily, with more and more families choosing to grow their own food. As technology continues to advance rapidly, it only makes sense for the two areas to overlap. With advanced Smartphones and a whole world of apps that can do just about anything, you best believe there are some seriously cool apps that perform loads of functions you can control with your phone.

The Edyn app comes with a special sensor that you stick into your garden soil, and it keeps tabs on a whole range of data on the conditions of your garden. Moisture levels, acidity, temperature, and vitamin content are all measured and recorded, with the results accessible through your phone.  

Other apps like Rachio can be synced up with your sprinkler system, changing the watering schedule according to the season, and withholding from watering before it’s about to rain, resulting in considerable amounts of water (and money) saved. It uses the WiFi on your phone to access weather forecast information and creates a customized schedule for watering based on the type of plants you have, and the condition of the soil.

If you’re a bit of a tech-geek who gets a kick out of automating and modernizing day-to-day tasks, or if you’re just a gardener who wants to save time on upkeep while still maintaining a gorgeous yard, there’s so much appeal to robo-gardening. I mean, so long as the robots don’t turn on us— we don’t want a swarm of Pollinator P-1000’s staging an uprising.

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