The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Lifestyles

August 13, 2013

Gardening tools go mobile

(Continued)

— Wind machines controlled by computer, tablet or smartphone.

— Data collection. Growers can access vineyard information, work orders, fertilizer and irrigation programs, graphs, and a variety of viticulture tools from tablets or smart phones in the field.

Horticulturists at The Ruth Bancroft Garden in Walnut Creek, Calif., meantime, irrigate with a computerized system that automatically shuts down after a certain amount of water has been used rather than being operated by timers.

“The amount of water that can come out in a given time could be variable, so it’s easy to over- or underwater if you’re just using a timer,” said Andrew Wong, Bancroft’s head gardener. “They’re also great if you live in a community that has water restrictions. If you’re allotted 500 gallons, then that’s what you’ll use.”

Another tech tool used at the garden is a self-guided audio tour that responds to prompts from smartphone users. “It provides information not found in our garden pamphlets,” Wong said.

Burpee Home Gardens has introduced two mobile web tools, not apps, using smart phones as gardening tools. Gardeners can specify the size and location of their plant sites and “My Garden Designer” does the rest, creating “recipes” for easily planted containers or flowerbeds. “Burpee Garden Coach” is a free mobile web tool that provides online tutoring.

Users customize their profiles by supplying their zip codes to receive a continuing series of tips on flower or vegetable gardening via text messages or email alerts.

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