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Posts Tagged ‘technology’

Small Kitchen Garden Tech

The content tag for this blog begins: Your Small Kitchen Garden presents news and insights into the home kitchen garden with emphasis on simplicity. Well… I have news that had my gardening eyes rolling with disdain at the same time my geek cortex was shouting “How cool is that?” I just learned about “EasyBloom” from a company called PlantSense.

Perhaps you’ve heard of EasyBloom, though it’s so new, you can only pre-order it at this time: it’s a USB device that you plug into your computer to configure, and then plug into your soil for data-collection. There are two reasons you’d plug EasyBloom into your soil:

  1. To help you decide what to plant in specific places in your garden
  2. To diagnose an unhealthy plant’s ailments so you can help the plant recover

Choosing Plants for your Small Kitchen Garden

When you have a place in which you want to plant something… but you’re not sure what to plant… configure the EasyBloom device into “recommend mode.” Stick the device in the soil for 24 hours, then plug it back in to your computer’s USB port. EasyBloom uploads data to the PlantSense web site. The web site analyzes the data and suggests plants that should do well in the location where EasyBloom spent its preceding 24 hours.

Diagnosing a Sick Plant

When you have a sick plant in your garden, configure the EasyBloom to “monitor mode.” Set the device next to the ailing plant for 24 hours, then plug it into your computer and upload its data to the PlantSense web site. Based on the data, and (apparently) on your interaction with the web site, you’ll be able to diagnose the plant’s problem and take steps to curing it.

Gimmick or Groovy?

Is EasyBloom a gimmick, or is it a groovy tool for a small kitchen garden? I don’t know. It sounds like a neat idea, but it also seems a little nutty.

The greatest roadblock for me is the price tag; a single EasyBloom sensor costs $60.

It takes about three years for me to spend $60 on my small kitchen garden… I can’t imagine spending $60 for a single gardening gadget.

On the other hand, you can use the sensor as many times as you like. Traditionally, a serious gardener gathers soil samples and mails them to a cooperative extension office for analysis, and then plants accordingly—or makes soil amendments to accommodate the desired plants. It can take a lot of trial-and-error to solve problems. The idea of having a device that connects your garden to a professionally-developed diagnostic system is compelling.

That said, unless Mr. and Mrs. PlantSense care to send me an EasyBloom and ask my opinion about it, the old home kitchen gardener in me will continue to work my small kitchen garden the old fashioned way: I’ll mulch with grass clippings, I’ll dump autumn leaves on the soil for the winter and turn them under in the spring, and I’ll add compost everywhere I plant something. If my plants struggle, I’ll trust experience and trial-and-error to pull them through… and I might float questions on various gardening forums on the internet.

Still, my geek cortex says that EasyBloom is really cool.

If you want to try EasyBloom, you can pre-order one now at Amazon. PlanSense hasn’t yet announced when they’ll start shipping.


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