10 Hi-tech Gardening Tools That You Don’t Know You Need

10 Hi-tech Gardening Tools That You Don’t Know You Need

  1. Smart Irrigation Controllers – Smart irrigation controllers allow you to control your garden’s watering schedule from your smartphone. These devices utilize weather forecasting and other factors to optimize watering schedules and reduce water usage.
  2. Robotic Lawn Mowers – Robotic lawn mowers allow you to maintain your lawn without the need for manual labor. These devices can be controlled and scheduled from your smartphone, and most are equipped with GPS tracking and obstacle avoidance technologies.
  3. Wireless Soil Sensors – Wireless soil sensors allow you to monitor soil moisture, temperature, and other data points in real-time from your smartphone. This information can help you optimize your watering and fertilization schedules and improve your plants’ overall health.
  4. Automated Garden Lights – Automated garden lights can be controlled from your smartphone and can provide customized lighting schedules to your plants. These can help your plants grow better and allow you to enjoy your garden even after the sun goes down.
  5. Aeroponic Systems – Aeroponic systems are hi-tech garden systems that use misting to hydrate plant roots rather than soil. This innovative approach delivers water and nutrients directly to the plant roots which ensures better growth and yield of plants.
  6. Plant Sensors – Plant sensors use technology and smart algorithms to monitor your plants’ growth and health continuously. This technology is able to detect when your plants need water, fertilization or other care, and then sends alerts straight to your smartphone.
  7. Automated Planter Systems – Automated planter systems allow you to grow your plants indoors and control their environment from your smartphone. These systems provide precision watering, controlled lighting, and optimal growing conditions for your plants.
  8. Hydroponics Systems – Hydroponics systems use nutrient-rich water rather than soil to grow plants. These systems are great for indoor gardening and allow for year-round growing, making them perfect for small spaces and city living.
  9. Garden Monitoring Cameras – Garden monitoring cameras let you keep an eye on your garden from afar. Some cameras have features like HD resolution, live streaming, and motion detection to keep your garden secure and keep you alert to any anomalies like insects infestation.
  10. Solar-Powered Garden Tools – Many gardens can be powered by the sun! Solar-powered garden tools, like battery-powered lawnmowers and trimmers, blower is a game-changing alternative to traditional lawn-care tools as such tools are environmental friendly and require low maintenance.

With these hi-tech gardening tools, it is more possible than ever to grow plants with precision, automation and speed that surpasses traditional gardening.

Fall Plantings

It’s officially fall.  Gone are the humid, hot days of summer.  But that doesn’t mean you have to stow away all of your gardening gear just yet.  In fact, the cooler temperatures and rain showers make the fall season an ideal time to plant new trees, shrubs and perennials.

hand-mulchaIf possible, go with smaller-sized, balled and burlapped trees and/or container grown plants.  Some species do not adapt well to fall plantings because they’re unable to establish strong root systems.  Many garden centers are offering bargains this time of year.  But buyer beware.  Before you opt to purchase a tree at 75% off, be sure to ask one of the garden specialists if that particular species is susceptible to winter damage.

In this region, try and have your fall plantings in the ground by mid-October.  Any new plantings should be mulched with a solid 2-4 inches of a natural mulch.  This will help prevent soil temperature fluctuations, which may damage the new tree.  Available for delivery from Three Z Supply, sweet peet, shredded bark or custom-z are all great for new plantings.  Remember to water thoroughly; approximately one inch per week, until the ground freezes.   You may also want to consider wrapping the trunks of thin-barked trees in later November to prevent frost damage.  (Remove in March.)

Looking for some more specific information on how to plant a balled and burlapped tree?  Take a look at the Arbor Day Foundation website — https://www.arborday.org/trees/planting/balled-burlapped.cfm.

Three Z is your source for delivering the quality materials you need, while providing the service you expect.   Visit our website, http://three-z.com/ to check out our wide assortment of soils and amendments, mulches, sands, aggregates, limestone, and washed gravels.

Support Your Local Farmers Markets

‘Tis the season…local vegetable gardens are bursting with flavor!  While summer is rapidly coming to an end, many of the Farmers Markets in our area are in full swing, offering a variety of fresh, healthy produce.  Three Z encourages you to consider shopping local, for a number of reasons, which we’d like to share.  (Source: http://www.localfarmmarkets.org/home.html#states)

farmersaShopping locally means you will:
•    save gas, which means saving money, and create less pollution in your drive;
•    pollute less, as the food does not need to be transported from a distance;
•    eat fresher food, with higher vitamin levels,  as less time passes from harvesting to purchasing;
•    eat tastier food; again, as less time passes from harvesting to purchasing; and
•    eat healthier food: since it does not need to be shipped, and it will be purchased sooner, less (or no) fungicides are needed.

So hopefully you’re giving thought to supporting a Farmers Market, but you’re not quite sure where to find one near you.  For starters, you can Google “local farmers markets” and you’ll probably come up with a few hits.  Or you can start with http://northeastohiofamilyfun.com/farmers-markets-in-northeast-ohio/.  This site offers a comprehensive list of markets in the Northeast Ohio region, along with other fun and exciting things to do with your family.  If there are several within driving distance of your home, consider taking the kids to visit a few on a sunny Saturday morning.

Three Z is your source for delivering the quality materials you need, while providing the service you expect.   Visit our website, http://three-z.com/ to check out our wide assortment of soils and amendments, mulches, sands, aggregates, limestone, and washed gravels.

New Plantings

You’ve spent lots of money and put hours of sweat equity in your yard…and it’s only June.  The month of May was a sidewalkatime to bring your yard back to life – mulching, trimming, planting, and watering.  It’s lookin’ really good…you now have the landscaped yard your neighbors are envious of.  But a note of caution – don’t get complacent!  There’s still work to be done to ensure your plants survive the summer heat and the upcoming winter season!

Experts at Three Z recommend at least three (3) or four (4) inches of mulch in your beds and around your plants.  If you’ve already mulched and your mulch is sparse or thin, you may want to consider adding more around new plantings.  However, take care NOT to pile mulch as it nears the crown or main stalk of any plant or tree trunk. This, along with heat and extra watering may cause some plant stems to rot.  Having a three or four inch layer around your plants will help maintain moisture and will protect your plants during the hot July and August heat.

When watering your new plants, here are some helpful tips.  Focus on the root zone, not the leaves; and water deeply and thoroughly so the water actually finds its way to the roots.  Water only when it’s needed – so watch the weather closely.  As far as time of day, consider watering in the morning.  If you happen to get water on the leaves, this allows time for them to dry out, hopefully avoiding the chance for plant diseases to gain a foothold.  And back to the mulch – a thicker layer reduces surface runoff and slows evaporation from the soil, helping to retain moisture.  A regimented watering routine is crucial so that newly planted trees and shrubs are well established when winter comes.

If you have any questions, please call our team of experts at Three Z.  Visit our website, http://three-z.com/ to check out our wide assortment of soils and amendments, mulches, sands, aggregates, limestone, and washed gravels.  We deliver the quality materials you need and provide the service you expect.

Gardening for the Greater Good

If you’ve ever driven by a nursing home or an assisted living facility in the spring or summer months, you may notice garden-settingaa resident or two sitting outside enjoying the grounds.   According to the University of Minnesota, “Roger Ulrich, a professor and director of the Center for Health Systems and Design at Texas A & M University, found that viewing natural scenes or elements fosters stress recovery by evoking positive feelings, reducing negative emotions, effectively holding attention/interest, and blocking or reducing stressful thoughts.  When viewing vegetation as opposed to urban scenes, test subjects exhibited lower alpha rates which are associated with being wakefully relaxed.”

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to lend a hand in creating those therapeutic environments for our seniors?
Why not call a local nursing home or assisted living facility – perhaps they’re looking for individuals to water, weed, prune, plant and mulch to help maintain their gardens.  Chances are, they’d be willing to work around your schedule if you’re willing to volunteer your time.   Or, if you have a loved one in a facility right now, and they do not have a garden, consider spearheading the effort to create one.  Given the benefits noted above, why not share your gift of gardening with others.

Not sure where to start?  Here’s a helpful link to help you locate a nearby facility — https://www.caring.com/.  You may also find some volunteer opportunities on this site — http://createthegood.org/

Wild Onions Gone Wild

Short of lighting fire to your yard, it seems almost impossible to eliminate unwanted wild onions from your garden onionsor lawn.  Wild onion plants are extremely difficult to control for two reasons.  First, they grow from bulbs, so it’s difficult to remove an entire clump without leaving one of the bulbs or some of the roots behind.  Secondly, herbicides have a hard time sticking to the leaves because of their thin, waxy nature; therefore herbicides can’t penetrate the wild onion as easily.

Let’s start with the soil itself.  Wild onions (and wild garlic) prefer to grow in acidic soils that are low in organic matter.  Try applying lime and compost to the soil.  This increases the organic matter and changes the pH to levels that are inhospitable to wild alliums.  (Be careful to not apply lime near acid-loving plants such as rhododendrons or azaleas.)

Moving onto removal…while this method of removal is most time consuming, it is best to attempt digging out each and every clump you have with a spade or trowel.  (Simply tugging off the leaves will do nothing to eliminate them.)  Once dug up, do NOT discard the clump in the woods; do NOT shake off the excess dirt; and do NOT place in your compost pile – throw them away!   If you’ve missed any of the onion, you’ll know right away.  It will re-sprout in a couple of days; repeat the process immediately.

Next, treat the area with either a non-selective herbicide (like Round-up) or boiling water. Remember this — both boiling water and non-selective herbicides will kill any plant it touches!  And do not use chemicals if the wild onions are growing in your veggie garden.

If digging isn’t your thing, look for a post-emergent herbicide that can be applied to the wild onions. (Do not use a pre-emergent herbicide.) Before applying the herbicide mow the plants to rough up their foliage and increase their ability to absorb the herbicide. Once the herbicide has been applied, do not mow again for at least two weeks.

There is one last option; but it’s a tad drastic.  No, it’s not setting fire to your lawn.  With this option, you must go in knowing that you’d most likely have to replace your lawn.  First, build a strong fence around the infested area and then bring in a PIG!  Yep, a pig.  They love wild onions and will root out and eat all of the bulbs.