Shopping for gardeners during Christmas

The countdown of shopping days to Christmas has started. Malls and parking lots are getting busier which means it might be time to look for presents for that gardener on the list.

Technology has made a big change in most people’s lives and gardening isn’t any different. Tools and equipment have changed often becoming lighter and less cumbersome.

Rechargeable batteries have improved in all equipment. They are: lighter, longer lasting and less expensive than they have been in the past. Battery operated equipment might not outperform gas powered tools, but they usually work well for urban yards. A bonus being that the equipment is quiet, and hauling and storing gas is not required. Electric equipment is also lightweight but hauling an extension cord around is time consuming and heavy.

Before making a purchase, take time to research the equipment. Test them as well as reading other people’s reviews and ratings. A battery operated tool is not a good alternative if it doesn’t do a good job or is awkward to operate.

Husqvarna has been developing automowers since the mid 1900s. They have taken all the pushing and riding out of mowing a lawn. This line of automatic lawnmowers can work in most terrains with the ability of cutting a 45˚ slope with ease. The automower works similar to a robotic vacuum, it goes in one direction until it hits a barrier then swivels and moves in another direction. The largest mower can cut a 6000 m² lawn in one go and head back to homebase when it needs to be recharged. Smaller models are available for smaller yards.

The beauty of the mower, besides saving time, is that it is quiet and does not disturb you or the neighbours.

For those that are not ready for an automatic lawnmower and wish to get away from noisy gas lawnmowers and electric cords research push mowers that are powered by a rechargeable battery. Battery operated garden trimmers have also improved making them lighter and easier to manage. Any type of trimmer must have the power to cut through unwanted material. A different power level is needed if it is trimming around bushes in the yard as opposed to cutting overgrown areas. The weight needs to be balanced, by itself or with the use of a strap making it easy to use for long periods of time.

For those people that have problems growing plants inside or out, there are sensors available that will monitor plants, relay instructions on the plant’s needs to a smart phone or an email address. The information received is dependent on the type of device. Basic ones interpret moisture levels where others include temperature, light and nutrient levels. These devices are only useful if people act on the information received.

As over watering is the main reason that indoor plants perish a way to determine when to water could turn a black thumb green.

These are just a few of the types of technology that are now available to assist in gardening.

Linda Tomlinson is a horticulturalist that lives near Rocky Mountain House. She can be reached at your_garden@hotmail.com

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