A new breed of innovations, from cloud-based hydroponic system controller to organic pesticide formulations, is changing the way gardening is done, at least for hydroponic gardeners.
First off is a new device called Bitponics. Hydroponic gardeners can simply log on to their account online, and automate the entire hydroponic gardening process. According to the company's website, gardeners can tailor how the device can work for them based on their preferences, or use it as an add-on to their existing hydroponic system to seamlessly monitor their garden.
The technology comes in the form of an electronic box with sensors that are placed into the hydroponic system's reservoir. The sensors feed data on pH, temperature and moisture levels to the Bitponics Cloud wirelessly, according to a report from the BBC. The device also has lights and pumps that can be virtually turned on and off and set on timers.
Gardeners are notified by the web-based app via text or email about their crops' progress or when they need to take action, the report said.
The Bitponics Cloud also allows gardeners to customize their garden's Grow Plan, which also features crowd-sourced seasonal care tips for their garden, and to interact with the Bitponics community. The Cloud system is accessible with any web browser.
"Bitponics is a path into the future of urban home gardening. Through the development of open source technologies, we are making it possible for urban gardeners to care for their plants while they're away," Bitponics co-founder and head hardware engineer Michael Zick Doherty said on Crowdsourcing.org.
"Growing hydroponically is more than just about providing free food to your home, it is also about the educational experience that allows us to reconnect with what we eat, empowering us to eat healthy and protect our environment," he added.
The new software also benefits students who use hydroponics in their biology and chemistry classes. Doherty said students can monitor changes in their plant experiments in real time. Next up is another technology that focuses on hydroponic organic pest control. The eponymous pest control product is a new organic pesticide formulation for hydroponic use, which is being marketed by its manufacturer, Nature-Cide. Nature-Cide is a division of a California-based Company, Pacific Shore Holdings, Inc. which includes a pest management company and a pest control product manufacturer.
Nature-Cide is based on natural essential oils such as cedar oil, cottonseed oil, clove oil and cinnamon oil that make it highly effective in deterring nematodic (i.e. round worms) growth in hydroponic system solutions and preventing mites and insects from seeking home in plant parts. While 100 percent safe to humans and pets, the hydroponic formulation works by killing insects and causing them to prematurely shed their exoskeleton. The product is absorbed immediately by insects upon contact through their respiratory system, disabling their natural defenses, which in turn leads to paralysis and death.
The hydroponic system can also attract rodents and small reptiles, which could see the crops and water reservoir as a viable food source. Nature-Cide's formulation effectively repels these unwelcome guests, much like how a cedar chest can drive away moths, Nature-Cide president Matthew Mills said in a news release. "They smell this, and they go running. It doesn't kill them, it makes them leave," Mills said.