Gardening tech: from robot lawnmowers to app-controlled watering systems — the top tech buys to get you growing
If you think gardening is a hobby stuck in history, confined to flat caps and floral kneeling pads, think again. Silicon Valley’s tech bros are showing their green fingers.
Here are my picks of tech that will revolutionise your gardening.
Tired of mowing the lawn? Invest in an autonomous lawnmower. Italian-manufacturer Stiga has developed a range of smart mowers that keep your lawn looking pristine through the year. Using four blades to cut the grass, the mowers come with a Sim card, which means once set up they can be controlled from anywhere in the world. They recognise obstacles and stop if an animal or person lifts them up. Popping out to mow the lawn when the weather is right, you’ll become quite fond of your new garden friend.
The Stiga Experience robot mower, £2,499, at frjonesandson.co.uk
What’s that plant?
If you are an iPhone user, you might have noticed a recent update when you hit the ‘i’ beneath a photo. If your phone thinks the picture is of a plant or flower, it now has the ability to identify the plant for you. I’ve long been sceptical of apps that can identify plants using artificial intelligence, but they have come a long way in the past few years.
If you’re on Android, searching Google using the photo can also be fruitful. They work best with common plants and those that have lots of photos online. Rarer species sometimes aren’t correctly identified, but if you can capture the leaf, flowers and bark, there is a good chance the AI is right.
If your phone still can’t work out which plant you are looking at, consider crowd-sourcing your information. The iNaturalist app has a huge following in the conservation and ecology world. You can share photos of the plant (or mushroom or insect or any other living thing) and the community will come together to identify what you are looking at.
A TikTok antithesis.
Available to download from the Android and Apple App Store
Developments in technology mean you can water your garden from anywhere, or just automate it. One of the most comprehensive systems comes from Gardena. The basic setup comes with an app and timer, but you can add rain and soil moisture sensors, too. It all connects to an app, allowing you to control your watering from your phone, and uses weather data to determine when your plants next need a drink.
Gardena Water Control Set, from £228.95, at tooled-up.com
Watch this space
The Royal Horticultural Society is launching a powerful new app later this year using its vast database of plant information to help everyone on their gardening journey.