Monday, July 9, 2012

Technology in the garden

I've been left behind when it comes to cell phones. It seems everyone has some kind of smart phone that does just about everything in contrast to my old school flip top phone. It was only recently I got a grip on texting but its still a dreaded exercise in hitting a button 3 times to get a letter you need. However, my wife got her first i-phone recently and graduated into the world of apps, gadgets and gizmo's. Even our kids are having fun using the camera or playing games on it, though my littlest might play hide and go seek with it if we turn our backs.

Phones and apps are changing how we do things these days and they even apply themselves to gardening.  There's an app that will help identify a tree from a photo of its leaves and at one nursery they could control there irrigation from a smart phone instead of tracking back to a terminal to modify the timers.  I hope that one day someone will develop a sensor to go on the root ball of a plant and notify the owner when it comes time to water or even turn on a solenoid valve to water it until the plant is satisfied.  Maybe this is my calling! You can even look up details of plant by scanning a 'QR' code, the funny looking checkered box at the front of most plant tags to get more in-depth information, the silent sales man for the newest generation.

However, with all of this technology there is still a flaw that so far manufactures have failed to perfect and that's the screen.  Admittedly, in a regular room you can see pretty good, even play movies but try and do the same outside on a sunny day.  We see this all to often at the garden center as customers come in with their phones ready to show us pictures of all there garden problems. Lets not forget to mention all the family photos we're forced to look at as they scroll endlessly through until they come to the picture of their situation.  I know one day I get an accidental eye full of some racy photos that will burning themselves into my memory.  Oh by the way, a cell phone photo isn't good for a warranty claim either.  Its easy to make out a dead plant from a cell phone screen but we can't tell what it died from or that it even matches your receipt.  Of course we get the ones with pictures and no receipt looking for a refund because that's normally acceptable at most stores!

Information technology is a rapidly changing industry but is becoming a way of life. According to marketing analysts, the newest generation prefers to search Google for answers to problems then approach anyone for help, but how can you validated the sources? Gardening is something that can't be learnt from books, websites or even Apps. It is acquired knowledge through trial and error as every plant will grow differently from one garden to another. Connecting to your plants and their needs isn't a 3 or 4G network but instead sticking your hands in the dirt and being one with it.  Caution is required when researching your answers as you might not know the origin of the source. If its not local to your area then the results will be different. Anyone online will claim to be a Doctor of something then tell you that Round-up is good for roses until you learn from trial that its an error.

Online plant clinic, how can I help you?



1 comment: