It’s pretty clear that we enjoy teching out our terrain. Exhibit A: Our screen-filled Super Bowl garden party. Exhibit B, our outdoor robot heater. Figures, considering we blog about the outdoors, and our day jobs involve engineering (me) and media (Chantal).
So when we heard about a device that goes right into your soil and acts like a Fitbit for your yard — reporting on temperature, humidity, nutrition, moisture levels — we were intrigued. Monitoring a bed’s number of hours of sunlight from your device? Goodbye guesswork, hello bright juicy berries.
Edyn (which exceeded its Kickstarter goal by 200 percent, and costs $99.97) sent us their new garden sensor to try out, and we were excited to give it a test plunge into our new raised garden beds. Also, considering our drought conditions here in Southern California, we were eager to know if we were watering too much or too little.
Oh, and feeding – where we’ve been known to slack off. How were we doing in NPK land?
Since early July we’ve been playing around with our new Edyn sensor and app. Here are our discoveries, brought to you in collaboration with Edyn…
We downloaded the Edyn app, which allowed us to connect the sensor to our home’s wi-fi network, through which it continuously feeds information to both of our phones. I’ve got an Android and Chantal has an iPhone, so we’re both able to track our garden by logging into the same account. At the time of our test, the iPhone app has more features than the Android, including the ability to add over 5,000 species of plants to the “My Garden” section, which in turn gives you recommendations on modifying your conditions.
For now, the Android app does not allow you to add plants, so you get generalized recommendations. We’re looking forward to that update.
The interface is clean and the font and colors are bold and playful. We were not ready for the endorphin rush we got when nutrition was listed as “good,” with the sassy screen adding, “Your plants love you.”
The sensor is solidly designed and sexy. (Not something you hear a lot when you talk about garden hardware.) It’s solar-powered, connected to wi-fi, and a bit larger than we expected from the photos, but we dig its modern lines. Lines that are sturdy enough, we expect, to take the occasional bump with a shovel. So while I wait for the app to improve on my Android, Chantal added the plants we’ve got growing in the raised beds, including strawberries, jalapeños (those Paloma cocktails aren’t going to spice themselves), and a small patio tomato hybrid.
Good news: our light, humidity and soil nutrition levels were, according to the Edyn app, spot on for our plants.
The not-great news: Our soil is too…soggy. We suspected it, and now have hard data to confirm our hunch. We’ve altered our watering schedule, and our plants (not to mention our shaky natural resources) will be better for it.
We’re very excited about the Edyn water valve (coming in Fall 2015), which will attach to our irrigation line and cut off water supply (overriding our timers) when the sensor registers that the soil is too wet for the plants that we are growing. It too is solar powered and will run off the app that continuously receives your garden’s moisture conditions. It also can be manually operated and will receive weather forecasts on the app and hold off on watering the morning before an afternoon storm.
Some new app features we’re looking forward to include the ability to add multiple garden sensors to one account, visual historical timelines of your garden and plant grouping suggestions.
Tech next to tomatoes, an app-supported apple harvest — we’re excited to see how Edyn grows.