All home gardeners know that manual gardening requires an incredible amount of work. Every month, gardeners must till the soil and add fertilizer; every week, they must hunt down pests and pull up weeds that threaten growing crops; and almost every day, gardeners must spend an hour or more watering their precious plants. If you want to have a life outside gardening, you must automate — and that’s what many gardeners do: They install scheduled watering systems, they add organic pesticides and herbicides to stifle unwanted growth, and they generally try to make the agonizing chore of gardening a bit more manageable.
Fortunately, thanks to technology, gardening has become almost effortless. Smart greenhouses can protect your crops from looming dangers and complete the most arduous gardening tasks for you. If you love your organic garden but rue the upkeep, you might want to learn more about smart greenhouses.
How Smart Greenhouses Work
Smart technology is revolutionizing how we complete nearly every activity. By adding sensors and network connectivity, we gain greater control over various devices and earn freedom from tedious chores. Smart capabilities are available nearly everywhere, from our home security systems to our cars, so it should be little surprise that smart greenhouses exist to make farming and gardening easier and more enjoyable.
While there are different variations of smart greenhouse systems, all of them strive to automate the most arduous tasks required to make plants grow. For example, you can often mix and match the following smart capabilities in a greenhouse to gain complete control over your gardening endeavors:
- Window shades. During long, bright summer days, you can turn off the sun with window shades to give your plants a break from growing. In a smart greenhouse, you can set a schedule for the shades.
- Overhead lights. Conversely, during the winter, you likely need more light and heat to keep your plants alive and awake. You can set another schedule to turn on overhead lights when the sky is dark.
- Fans and vents. Unlike the outdoors, which is naturally ventilated, greenhouses can become too warm and oxygenated. Smart greenhouses should sense the air and turn on and off accordingly.
- Sprinklers. Watering is one of the more complex jobs of gardening, but by setting an automated watering system — which can sense soil moisture — most of the guesswork is eliminated.
Why Smart Greenhouses Are Sustainable
For years, a debate has raged regarding the sustainability of greenhouses. On one hand, greenhouses unequivocally produce bigger, better, and more crops than open gardens because they can control the environment so minutely. On the other hand, gardeners must expend resources to use greenhouses: They must use steel and glass (or plastic) to build the structure as well as energy to control systems like lights and vents. In fact, in cold, dark places like the Netherlands, greenhouses account for nearly 80 percent of all energy usage.
Smart greenhouses can resolve this sustainability issue once and for all. Automated systems tend to be more efficient than manual labor, especially when paired with smart sensors. Rather than guessing how much water a plant needs, smart greenhouses can deliver the precise soil moisture for optimal growth — and not a drop more. Most smart greenhouse systems utilize the most advanced technology to reduce waste and increase crop yields, including radiation reducing films on windows and photovoltaic cells for capturing energy from the sun. As greener tech becomes available, smart greenhouses can adapt to become even more sustainable.
Finally, greenhouses allow gardeners in severe climates to engage in agricultural pursuits, helping those regions attain local, fresh, healthy produce. By eliminating the need to transport fresh fruit and vegetables long distances, gardeners reduce global emissions and improve their communities. By compounding this efficiency, smart greenhouses promise to be the most sustainable agricultural tool of all time.
How to Garden Organically in a Smart Greenhouse
Organic gardening in a smart greenhouse is much easier than organic gardening in open beds. Greenhouses inherently protect plants from pests that non-organic gardening practices attempt to ward off, so as a greenhouse gardener, you can immediately do away with most of the harshest chemical pesticides and herbicides. Then, by using the same organic methods you applied before moving into a smart greenhouse, you should soon have a thriving organic garden — without all the work and stress.