Technology slowly coming to your garden


Technology slowly coming to your garden

We live in an era where technology is our friend and foe.Our phones are linked to every facet of our lives. From banking to home security, from shopping to social engagement — it seems impossible to fathom going through the day without using modern technological advancements.

Yet technology has made some small strides being implemented in residential landscapes.

Low voltage LED light systems with smart controllers that can be controlled and adjusted to every color of the rainbow with your smartphones are available for those looking to modernize their outdoor lighting system.

Irrigation drip emitters and spray heads with matched precipitation rates have been designed and tested to create the most efficient landscape irrigation systems.

This coupled with smart controllers that automatically change to the evapotranspiration (ET) of plants, the weather, and soil moisture levels are all synced and controlled by your phone to create a highly efficient structure that conserves resources.

These, of course, come with a major landscape overhaul and price tag that can only be justified for someone looking to remodel their landscape.

For those who desire to make small measurable changes, there are a couple easy steps to capitalize off of resources immediately available to you.

Water has been a major topic of discussion over the past few years. The answer to conservation has been to turn off the sprinklers. In some situations, that response has been appropriate, but there have been other factors that have been largely overlooked.

The first being soil health.  Creating a healthy root system is vital in creating a successful and sustainable landscape.

There have been tremendous resources pushing soil health advancements because it is a direct benefit to industries that depend on efficiently growing plant material for agricultural use or wholesale plant nurseries.

Trailing off of research put forth in this sector of plant growth has been the introduction of bagged soil conditioners.  I am not talking about your average bag of potting soil or wood-based garden mulch.

These are equipped with trace elements, fertilizer, pH neutralizers, mycorrhizae and beneficial bacteria. Products like GardenMAX and TurfMAX have evolved how we can treat our soil conditions.  Instead of manually working in compost and fertilizer into our flowerbeds these types of products are water soluble and can be topically applied to the surface of the soil.

Product testing and research have taken everything that your plant needs and condensed it down to a usable form that is easy to apply. We have tested many of these products at our nursery and have seen terrific results in our demonstration gardens. Bringing this same concept to potted containers has recently become available for homeowners.

We use Remix for potted arrangements that are being seasonally re-spruced.  Instead of dumping out all of your soil you can add this into your existing soil to revitalize the microorganisms and nutrients.

This is the perfect item for annual and perennial color and raised vegetable gardens.  Pot Topper is another great new find.  It not only contains the fertilizer your plants will need to get a jump start but over 50 ingredients that are blended perfectly to create a well-balanced eco-system that will allow your plants to thrive in the harsh environment of a container or raised gardens.  Just apply and water it in.  It is truly that easy.

My first job out of college was designing ag irrigation systems.  It was the height of the recession and I took a job that I had no business acquiring.

In my interview, they asked if I was familiar with booster pumps and if I knew how to properly size a pump based on the designed irrigation system.  said yes.  If they would have asked if I could list the contributions Les Corbusier made to architecture and design industries I could have proficiently waxed on poetically, but my single syllable response was all the tell they needed to know I may have exaggerated my answer.

My first day on the job I took home several of their old drawings and studied them for most of the night because it was something I had to comprehend and fast.  Irrigation design itself was a loose subset of my training in landscape architecture on a much, much smaller scale.

In all honesty, they don’t really teach irrigation design in our college classes.  It is a topic I learned through internships and I hoped that my summer job training were enough to get me through the trial period of this first desperately needed job.

I was used to dealing with volumes of water that measured 20-30 gallons per minute (GPM) and now I was designing systems that ranged from 200-1,000 GPM.  I made lemonade out of lemons and I was thankful for it.

This was a fascinating liaison into a seemingly unrelated world to my own that actually contained broad over sweeping similarities.  These were two industries that dealt with the fickle business of requiring plants to do something for them.

Because many of the family farmers I worked with in the ag industry depended on creating a low operating cost so their goods could retrieve reasonable profit – technological advancements were welcomed into the everyday practices of farming.

From soil testing and soil health, to pressure compensating drip emitters, many steps were taken to ensure resources were not squandered.  Many farmers were installing soil moisture meters in their fields and orchards.


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