I’ll admit it: I have gardening envy. I long to grow my own food, and every growing season, I start out with grand plans. This year, I was even organized enough to start my own seeds in old egg cartons. Fast forward a month or two, and only a tiny fraction of those starters have survived to become adolescent plants. Am I watering too much? Too little? Are they getting enough sun? If only the plants could tell me what I’m doing wrong.
Thanks to a new gadget from Koubachi, they can. The company’s Wi-Fi Plant Sensor is designed to be placed into the soil of any potted plant. Once embedded, the sensor measures moisture, temperature and light intensity, compares this to what it knows about the plant itself, and then sends an alert to your iPhone or email.
With a shape reminiscent of a tiny golf putter, the Koubachi sensor demonstrates just how much sophisticated technology can be jammed into a tiny design. Because the whole point of the sensor is to keep container gardening simple, it works in almost any soil, no matter if you use humus, clay-based, or sandy substrates. It’s also designed to be extremely efficient, requiring only two AA batteries to operate for an entire year.
While it’s got the potential to be a lifesaver for brown-thumbers like me, it’s important to step back and evaluate the Koubachi sensor (and similar products) for what it really is: another expensive electronic device that we don’t really need. With e-waste growing at alarming rates with only a tiny percentage being recycled, I’m inclined to agree with this Treehugger piece that cautions against thinking this device is green, just because it’s associated with plants. Available from $150.