Thursday, November 20, 2008

Garden Geeks Are Going to Love This!

Whenever I'm asked for my e-mail address, I usually preface it with, "Now don't laugh..." and then give them my address. They don't laugh, but I'll be darned if they don't smile when I tell them it's gardengeek......@...... Well, hey, if I'm not in the garden, I can usually be found on the computer!

So imagine my excitement when
a couple of weeks ago, I received a really cool gardening tool to test called EasyBloom by Plant Sense. It's an interactive device that evaluates growing conditions in your house or in your gardens and then can be connected via USB to your computer. Once connected, it uploads data it has collected to EasyBloom's web site. There it gives you helpful information about what specifically can be done to correct any unfavorable growing conditions, such as light, moisture, and temperature levels.

Last fall, I potted up my large coleus plants that had been in the ground all summer, and brought them in for the winter. I really hoped to keep them going all winter so I could plant them in the ground this past spring. Things went well until about February or so and then it was all downhill. Leaves were lost and the spindly stems were so pathetic, I had to throw them out.

With the help of
EasyBloom, I hope to be able to save this year's coleus, which were even more beautiful than last year's. I'll also use it to check on other houseplants if I experience problems with them, but I'm especially anxious to use it on the coleus.


What's in the box:

  • 1 Plant Sensor (top and bottom)
  • 1 AAA battery
  • 1 USB extension cable
  • 1 stand/hanger
  • 1 set of wall mount hardware
  • 2 extra petals
  • User Guide
  • Quick Start Card

So I know you're wondering how easy this thing is to use, aren't you? What if you're not a computer geek like I am? Is it more trouble than it's worth? The short answer to these questions are - easy, not a problem, and no!

Here's all it took to get a recommendation for my coleus:
  • I went to the EasyBloom website and downloaded their software. (You only have to do this once.)
  • I plugged the EasyBloom into my computer and set it to Monitor mode.
  • I took the EasyBloom out of my computer and stuck it in the soil of my coleus pot after giving it a good watering.
  • 24 hours later, I took the EasyBloom out of the pot and plugged it into my computer.
  • I was automatically taken to Plant Sense's web site as it uploaded data from the EasyBloom.
  • Based on that data, it showed me any problems with temperature, watering, and light.

That's it! For something that uses the same technology used on NASA's Mars Phoenix mission to measure soil, it's incredibly easy to use.

For my coleus, it told me the soil drained too fast, the light level was too low, but the temperature was ideal.

In addition to checking how your present plants are doing when it's in Monitor mode, it will also recommend plants that would do well under your growing conditions (light, moisture, and temperature) when you set it to Recommend mode. It works both inside and outside, because it's built to withstand weather conditions.

With an online database of over 5000 plants, you can build a library of your own plants that you can reference at any time. It
gives you valuable basic information about each plant and allows you to enter your own notes for each one.

EasyBloom takes much of the guesswork out of choosing and growing plants, which will greatly increase your success in the garden and with houseplants. New gardeners will especially love this, and experienced gardeners will appreciate the recommendations it gives as they fine tune their existing gardens.

EasyBloom can be purchased at Amazon for $59.95 with free shipping. Until December 30th, you can save $10 on any purchase over $50 when you pay with Bill Me Later®. Just enter the code BMLSAVES at checkout. Be sure to read the terms on Amazon's web site (some restrictions apply).

The product or merchandise being reviewed in this blog post was the sole compensation for testing and reviewing the product. All opinions expressed here are mine, with no suggestions whatsoever by the manufacturer or distributor. If I like it, I'll say so. If I don't, I'll say that, too.


Lisa at Greenbow said...

Now if a person didn't have a 100 other items on their wish list this would be a great toy to have. I always have trouble with indoor plants. I never know if it is too much or not enough water. I figure that most of my trouble stems from low light.

Gail said...

Geeks have all the great toys! I don't bring plants eats them...but it would be a fun toy if I did!


Shady Gardener said...

I like your new header. It's a familiar image, but I can't put a finger on the artist.

Sounds like a wonderful tool... one for the 'wish list.' Thanks for the information and recommendation. :-)

Kylee Baumle said...

Lisa ~ I figure this is a great thing to put on your Christmas list, because even if you didn't want to buy it for yourself, it would be a fun thing to buy for someone else. Put it on your list, Lisa, and maybe someone will surprise you! :-)

Yeah, we who live in the north can never get enough light inside for our plants, can we?

Gail ~ But that's the beauty of this - you can use it outside, too! In fact, in Recommend mode, how sweet is that, that it can recommend a list of plants that would do well under the conditions you have in various locations?

I don't know if I have weird cats or what, but with 175+ house plants and two inside cats, I never have a problem with them eating my plants.

Shady Gardener ~ Thanks! The image is attributed at the bottom of the page. It's one of hundreds of fabulous art works by Charley Harper. Someday I hope to own one!

EasyBloom has been fun to use. I look forward to using it next spring outside. I'm going to use it in various inside plants this winter, but the real test will be the coleus. I realize even the EasyBloom can't guarantee success, but it sure will give me a much better chance at it!

Brenda Pruitt said...

Wow! Isn't technology impressive? A gardener's dream!

Louise Hartwig said...

I shy away from too many indoor plants,mainly because of light location and the watering issue. This sounds like a product that takes out the guess work.I am sure the outdoor garden also could benefit from this technology. Might be fun to experiment with it.

Rose said...

This sounds great, Kylee; might be one more idea to put on my Christmas list! I don't have many indoor plants, but I can see where this would be helpful outside, too, especially for container plants. I had one container that just didn't do well this summer, and I could never figure out if I was underwatering it or overwatering. Who knew you could "hook up" your plants to a computer?!

Sandra Evertson said...

Wow, very cool!

MyMaracas said...

Well, that's pretty cool! I'll bet I could lure my husband into gardening with that thing. Not to mention the many houseplant lives that could be saved if I had one of those. Thanks for the tip!

TC said...

I read about this the other day. I hope it works for you. I'm not much on gimmicky things and this sounded like one to me. I tried a free sample of something called "Thirsty Light" once, you stuck this little electrode in the pot and the tip of it flashed when the plant needed watering. I wasn't very impressed. I reckon I'm just superannuated.

Kylee Baumle said...

Brenda ~ Yes, it is amazing what can be done now, when technology is put to good use!

Louise ~ One thing I like about this is that you leave it in the soil for as long as you want, as long as it's over 24 hours, so you can check on your plants over say, a week, on your time. I'll be anxious to try it outdoors next spring. It sure gives you some definite stats that can help you greatly when it comes to just what your plants need.

Rose ~ I think this could be used in any combination of ways, all of them good, all of them in ways that only increase your chances of success with your plants. And yes, definitely with container plants when you have them outside, which as you know is very different from having them inside during the winter.

Sandra ~ I think so, too!

Vicki ~ It's actually fun to use, too!

TC ~ Well, some people just aren't gadget people. I check out Thirsty Light and it looks to me like it's just a digital water meter. I have a simple water meter (not digital) that I use sometimes, but the EasyBloom gives you more information than just for watering. It's a light meter too, and that's a really crucial factor for growing plants successfully inside. Some plants are dependent on temperature for success, too, although you can check that with a regular thermometer. This is just nice to have all three things measured with one device, and then the fact that it's analyzed for you, according to what's recommended for your individual plants, and you can keep an online record of your plants makes this a one-stop shop gardening aid.
So far, I'm liking it a lot! :-)

Sylvana said...

Awesome! I had an issue when planning my prairie garden -- how much light does the area get and will the plants I want to grow there actually survive. This most likely would have helped me with that!

Kylee Baumle said...

Sylvana ~ This most definitely would have helped you!

Unknown said...

Very interesting...not sure i'd purchase it (and it probably isn't Macfriendly anyway) but it is an innovative idea. Thanks for the review!

Kylee Baumle said...

jodi ~ Actually, it is Mac-friendly! :-)

Anonymous said...

What operating system (if any) does this thing insist on? I'm something of a garden geek and I use Linux. If it just wants to make files available for uploading, it should work. OR if it will run in the Windows emulator "WINE", we're still on. But if it insists on the full monty of MSIE / Vista or MacOSX, it's dead.

Kylee Baumle said...

Hi Bill ~ You are outgeeking me with your question! LOL. I know what you're referring to, I just don't know the answer. I would suggest you e-mail them to find out. It is compatible with both PCs and Macs, but I'm not sure how. The company is very nice to work with and eager to answer questions, so you should get an answer to your question in good time.
Here is the page with the downloads for the needed software to run it. Maybe if you have a look at that, it might provide the answer to your question.

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