When I was growing up, my mom had a small garden on one side of our house in sort of a raised bed layout. I remember helping her plant, occasionally weed, and usually trample the poor garden while I was playing (I wasn’t kind to plants). However, since then (and a renewed spirit when I was part of the u-pick CSA), I fell in love with gardening. We’ve not settled in one place long enough for me to cultivate an in-ground garden but for the past three summers, I’ve been experimenting with a container garden that has now taken over the patio. It’s not ideal conditions (it gets hot and the sun isn’t direct for enough hours of the day) but through trial and error, I’ve made it work. I like to think of it as my lab so that when we do buy a house, I’ve got a head start on gardening education.
So, when Edyn approached me about a solar-powered, wifi garden sensor (that measures moisture, light, nutrients, and humidity), I jumped at the chance to check it out and review it. It’s rare that I mention items not related to cooking, but that should be an indication of how excited I was. One of the downsides of container gardens is the soil doesn’t get the same TLC as a normal garden. There aren’t worms, nutrients are a bit harder to monitor, and in small pots, the moisture level is irregular.
One caveat before I dig in, I didn’t use the sensor exactly how it’s intended to be used. I would leave it in one pot for a few days to measure and then I’d move it to a different one since I have pots of different sizes and plants that are supposed to have different moisture levels. While this gave me information, it left my long-term data a bit skewed (but that’s okay, I definitely saw benefit from it).
The first benefit of the sensor was that it became apparent my plants were nutrient poor. I added nutrients and within minutes, the sensor registered and let me know I was spot on. The second, and probably most important (and responsible in California), was the moisture level. I keep my soil running on the minimum amount of water and this sensor helps me keep tabs on that as to not waste any (but keep my plants alive!)
Beyond the sensor, the app does have capability to monitor plants you have and give recommendations about what to plant based on your soil conditions. However, the app is a bit buggy and I was never able to get this to work. I think once this is up and running, it will be an awesome additional feature.
I think this is a good tool for people who may not have the biggest green thumb or for those of you just beginning. I’ll be excited when the bugs get worked out of the app and everything is fully functional! So far, though, it’s been a nice addition to my garden.
Also, curious as to what I’m currently growing?
5 different kinds of tomatoes (primarily cherry and grape varieties), cucumbers, zucchini, summer, squash, pole beans, Italian green peppers, shisito peppers, swiss chard, array of herbs, bluerries, raspberries, and blackberries. I also have three dwarf trees: lemon, lime, and avocado.
And of course, this wouldn’t be a post without a recipe. I think one of the major benefits of having a garden is pretty much always having salad materials. This dressing has become one of my summer, go-to staples. While during the cooler months I’d roast my own garlic, I do a bit of cheating and pick some up (usually when I’m grabbing some olives from the olive bar at the store).
- ½ cup whole milk greek yogurt
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 5 cloves roasted garlic
- 3 tablespoons fresh dill
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use.
[Disclaimer: This post was in collaboration with Edyn. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
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