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Fox Around the House

Best yard work tech

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Maintaining a yard and garden can be back-breaking work. But these new gadgets will take some of the sweat and effort out of yard work this summer.

PlantLink

As the temperatures rise, the scorching summer sun can quickly transform your once-verdant garden into an unsightly brown patch. If you’re an occasionally forgetful gardener, the PlantLink is the perfect tool for you. Using an array of sensors, the PlantLink lets you know when your garden isn’t getting enough water and when it’s getting too much. Simply push the Internet-connected sensors into the soil and they will start feeding data to your PlantLink account. Of course, not all plants need the same amount of water. So you can even let the sensors know what species of plants you are growing in each section of your garden and they’ll give you watering recommendations based on the needs of those plants.

Greenbox

Running a sprinkler for hours at a time can really be a waste of water. And with an extreme drought in full force across many western states, smart water usage has never been more important. To help you water your lawn and garden more efficiently, Greenbox is a device that analyzes local weather data and time of day to build a smart watering schedule. All you have to do is connect the device to your home wifi network, set up the smartphone app and sit back. If the forecast calls for rain, the system will skip a scheduled watering session. And should the temperature skyrocket, GreenBox will ensure that your lawn gets the extra moisture it needs.

Z-Trap Bug Monitoring

Growing a garden can be rewarding work — at least until insects come in and strip the branches bare. The Z-Trap monitoring tool takes the guesswork out of a garden ravaged by pests. The device uses a series of traps to show you hot spots of insect invasions in your yard, and then beams that data to your phone where you can review it  with the company’s iPhone or Android app. The traps can even identify certain bug species, letting you know what sort of plague has descended upon your garden. 

NatureMill and Envirocycle Compost Bins

Composting is a great way to transform ordinary waste into rich soil for you plants. However, the process can take a while, requires a lot of space and can be a bit smelly. Looking to solve that problem, the NatureMill compost bin uses a two chamber design, which prevents odors, allowing even apartment dwellers to compost indoors. The top chamber heats and aerates the compost, which then falls to the bottom chamber, where it continues to decompose. In about a week and a half, you’ll have usable soil for you garden. However, at $300, it’s a steep price to pay for a high-tech compost bucket. For a cheaper alternative, the Envirocycle Mini, is another composted designed for indoor use. This $130 compost bin uses a tumbler design, which churns the compost material, allowing it to break down faster.

LawnBott Spyder

Mowing the lawn can be truly back-breaking work. Innovations like self-propelled mowers and riding mowers can take some of the effort out of this summer-time chore, but you still need to sweat in the sun in order to trim your yard. Fortunately robotic mowers promise to completely automate the process of cutting the grass. The Spyder from LawnBott is a robotic mower that can chomp through 5,500 square feet of grass on a single charge. The mower mulches the grass trimmings, feeding them back into the soil, so you don’t even have to empty a bag. Simply sit back in the shade with a lemonade and let the robot do all the work.