Smart fingers: The best kit for your connected garden

These devices will make anyone's fingers seem green
The best connected garden kit

You don't need to have a back yard if you want a smart garden now that the connected world has caught up with horticulture. In fact, there are handfuls of sensors at the ready which are adept at picking up those key variables like light, temperature, moisture and soil pH conditions.

Sprinkle in a little Wi-Fi, add a touch of Bluetooth and you will be enjoying the fruits with very little labour in no time at all.

Read this: The best smart home systems

So, whether you're mad keen, a total amateur, live on acres of grassland or in a tower block with not so much as a window box, here's a seed to plant in your mind - the best smart garden devices around.

Click and Grow

The Click and Grow Smart Garden is the most affordable way to have your very own garden indoors.

All you have to do is insert the plant capsules, fill up the water tank and plug it in. And that's pretty much it. The company says its developed a 'Smart Soil' that works in tandem with built-in sensors to make sure your plants get the optimal configuration of water, oxygen and nutrients.

You can also track the growth with a companion app and set reminders to refill the water tank - which you don't have to do for a whole month. The LED light stand is also adjustable to match plant growth

There are refillable seed packets you can buy for an extra $50 once your current batch is too big. You also get nine packs that will last you a whole year so we're not complaining about spending the extra coin.

$59.95,clickandgrow.com

Grove

Hydroponics is yesterday's news. How about getting yourself an indoor organic vegetable patch that works by aquaponics instead? A fish tank at the bottom of this rather sizeable wooden cabinet is the secret to how it all works.

Feed your finned-friends the right food and they'll produce an ammonia-rich waste which is then broken down by bacteria within the water to produce a set of nitrates which are A1 for growing the plants on top. The whole system is internet-connected and, thanks to the sensors within, will send you push notifications with all the care and maintenance instructions you'll need. After a succesful Kickstarter campaign, you can now reserve your Grove.

From $4,200, grovelabs.io

Edyn smart garden sensor

There are a few connected soil sensors out there for your smart garden but Edyn has the richest feature set of them all. Plunge it into your beds and it measures the moisture, pH, temperature, light levels, nutrients and humidity that your plants will be enjoying. It sends all that info back to a mobile app for a full analysis of your back yard's conditions and, therefore, both what the best greenery to grow might be as well as how to look after them on a daily basis.

Edyn's solar powered, so no need to worry about batteries, and it has bank of over 5,000 plants in its botanical repertoire. The only point to consider is that it will need to be in range of your Wi-Fi router to work. If that doesn't sound like your manor, then you might want to consider the Parrot or Koubachi models instead.

$100, edyn.com | Amazon

Biopod

Pets, decorative plants or a herb garden; Biopod is the indoor microclimate that can grow it all at your app's behest. It smashed its Kickstarter target in 2015 and is now available in a whole series of different models including a $1,200 Grand option.

Biopod controls temperature, light, humidity, ventilation and rainfall inside that fish tank-sized space and will create a habitat suitable for whatever kind of species you'd care to support. So, no matter if it's blowing a gale in your garden, you can still have your sub-tropicana paradise blooming inside.

From $225, biopod.com

Robomow RS630

You grow it, it mows it; and all without the slightest effort on your part. There is quite the glut of robot lawnmowers these days and, while it's going to depend a little on your garden size as to which model you plump for, one of the better brands out there is Robomow.

Read this: The best Apple HomeKit ready tech

Top of the pile with the ability to cover nearly an acre of land in as many cutting zones as you like is the Robomow RS630. Along with anti-theft and child safety features, it includes a rain sensor so that it can mow at optimum times and a mobile app with which you can send instructions as well as check in on where it's at with its program. Pricey but fun.

$2,099, robomow.com | Amazon

Rachio

For those gardens where walking around with a watering can just won't cut it, this smart sprinkler controller gives you full control from your smartphone wherever you are and could cut your water bill by as much as 50% in the process.

The Wi-Fi enabled setup is able to adjust sprinklers based on soil type, and exposure to the sun, turning them on only when your garden really needs them. It'll read weather pattens, humidity levels and remains switched off when the rain is doing the work for you. The second generation Rachio also integrates with Nest and Amazon Echo so you can even tell Alexa to turn them off when your lawn has already had a good enough soak.

From $200, rachio.com | Amazon

Playbulb Garden

Think Philips Hue for the outdoors and you've got the right mental place for Playbulb Garden. They're solar powered LED light pods, much like you might see in all sorts of forms these days, but the important distinction with this lot is that you can app-control them thanks to a cheeky Bluetooth connection to your phone.

Group them together or not and then select just which ones you'd like to colour your mood. Naturally, they're water resistant enough for whatever the weather throws at them too.

$40, playbulb.com | Amazon

GreenIQ Smart Garden

Households with garden irrigations systems might want to listen up. GreenIQ is the name to look out for and this company has come up with a smart garden hub which taps into the weather reports to work out exactly when and how much it needs to water your plants. If it's about to chuck it down, then there's no pointing in wasting your money on unnecessary bills.

You can retro-fit the Smart Garden Hub to any irrigation system that you've got and it'll also work hand-in-hand with a few soil sensors and the like too. Plus, there's a decent set of IFTTT recipes for it as well. Naturally, there's also a mobile app to go with it.

$249, greeniq.co | Amazon

Plantui 6

Back to the urban gardener and we'd like to recommend the Plantui 6 as the connected hydroponics set up of choice. Plantui has been in the game a while and has figured out that the size of your crop is, in fact, rather important. As such, its most recent model's grow lamps are height-adjustable to accommodate your plants all the way from seedlings up until harvest with the intensity and colour of the illumination changing as the system dictates is optimal for the greenery underneath.

Read this: The best smart heating systems

There's no need to know anything about gardening. Pop the plant capsules in along with the water and the Plantui app will sort out the rest. Cucumbers, chillies, flowers, whatever you like; and all for nice, low electricity costs too.

$250, plantui.com

Netatmo Weather Station

Say hello to the 21st century's take on home meteorology. The Netatmo Weather Station's goal is to tell you everything you could possibly know about your home and garden microclimates. There are units for both indoors and outdoors which report back to your phone on variables like temperature, pressure, humidity, CO2 levels, noise pollution and even the likes of wind and precipitation fineries if you pick up the right add-ons.

The software then analyses all that data, presents pretty graphs and gives you real-time accounts plus all the environmental trends a gardener could need to figure out what to plant, when to plant it and how to best take care of them all. Michael Fish, eat your heart out.

$140, netatmo.com | Amazon

2 Comments

  • ewm003 says:

    Don't Forget Spruce Irrigation. They have a really nice smart sprinkler system that integrates with SmartThings. 

  • ewm003 says:

    I think you missed one of the best ones. Spruce Irrigation has a very nice set up that uses Smart Things hub Weather forecasts and moisture sensors to keep your lawn moist but save you water in the process. 

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