By Adrian Justins
With spring arriving, gardeners in the northern hemisphere are sharpening secateurs, ordering fertiliser and planting seeds. Plants can be highly sensitive to changes in climate and soil and growing them can be tricky, to say nothing of the harm posed by pests and insects. However tech solutions can make gardening easier.
This five-bedroom, 1920s house in the Dublin suburb of Glenageary has 416 sq m of garden with well-tended lawns and mature plants. On sale for €2.65m, the property is primed for flexing green fingers. But any budding gardeners' efforts can be helped by the following gadgets.
Harvst smart greenhouse, from £640
The Terrace is a solar-powered mini greenhouse that combines automatic features with an app. Handmade in Wales, it is designed to sit against a wall and measures 1m high, 2m wide and 0.6m deep.
The greenhouse’s control system optimises moisture content by automatically watering plants if irrigation is needed, and can adjust the temperature by opening and closing the roof. A WiFi connected app will prompt users to take appropriate action depending on the plant type and stage of growth. A mains powered version, which comes with six heated pads for all-season growing, is available from £700.
Tertill robot weeder, $349
This solar-powered device aims to stop unwanted weeds by cutting them off near the ground. If the weeds re-sprout, the Tertill repeats the action until they are eradicated. It also prevents many would-be weeds from germinating by continuously patrolling the soil. Plant guards protect wanted seedlings. A single Tertill should keep an area of up to 200 sq ft weed-free.
Wanfei plant monitor, £28.98
Different plants require different levels of light, temperature, humidity and nutrients. This indoor plant monitor, available from Amazon, measures these four elements and sends the data to a Bluetooth-connected app. A database of more than 6,000 plants allows the gardener to cross-check their plant’s readings with the optimum values specified on the app.
PestBye animal repeller, £22.99
Animal visitors are the bane of many a gardener’s life. This Solar Cat Repeller, available from online gardening retailer Primrose, can emit a loud noise at a frequency too high for humans to hear but which the makers claim will repel cats, dogs and foxes. Solar-powered, it is activated by a motion sensor and covers an 80 degree arc up to 7m long. It can be staked into a lawn or fixed to a wall or fence.
Caribbean Blinds automatic awning, from £9,950
After toiling in the garden it is nice to sit back and admire your efforts. On sunny days an awning can shade humans and potted plants alike. Built to order in Caribbean Blinds’ Suffolk workshop, the Classic Outdoor Living Pod has louvres that can be opened — to any desired angle up to 150° — and closed using a remote control or a smartphone app. Automatic opening and closing can also be activated by installing an optional rain sensor.
Windproof screens, LED lighting and infrared heaters are also available. The pod comes in sizes up to 6m by 4m, and multiple pods can be joined to cover larger areas.
Property photograph: Christie’s International Real Estate