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Edyn smart garden probe review: A promising idea that falls short on delivery

Michael Brown | June 24, 2015
Gardening can be a relaxing experience, especially when you get to sit back and admire the view of an established landscape. But as any experienced gardener will tell you, planting and maintaining a garden can also be exhausting, frustrating, and expensive--especially when things don't go right. You're admiring your beautiful plants on Sunday, and next thing you know, they're yellow, wilted, or dead. The Edyn smart garden system promises to help you take better care of your plants with a probe that monitors your garden's immediate environment, and a water valve that automatically waters your plants when the probe reports they need it. I'll review the probe here; the valve won't be available until later this year.

Gardening can be a relaxing experience, especially when you get to sit back and admire the view of an established landscape. But as any experienced gardener will tell you, planting and maintaining a garden can also be exhausting, frustrating, and expensive--especially when things don't go right. You're admiring your beautiful plants on Sunday, and next thing you know, they're yellow, wilted, or dead. The Edyn smart garden system promises to help you take better care of your plants with a probe that monitors your garden's immediate environment, and a water valve that automatically waters your plants when the probe reports they need it. I'll review the probe here; the valve won't be available until later this year.

Once you've paired the Edyn probe with the Edyn app on your Android or iOS smartphone and connected the probe to your Wi-Fi network, you simply push its business end into your flower bed (the device is weatherized and protected from common fertilizers and pesticides) and wait for the data to come rolling in. A solar panel on the probe's flat head keeps its battery charged, so it can perform its functions and remain connected to your Wi-Fi network 24/7. An onboard power-management system automatically adjusts the frequency at which the probe connects to Edyn's cloud service so that it can continue reporting even during cloudy, overcast, or stormy weather without draining its battery.

Edyn says its Wi-Fi adapter delivers up to 300 feet of range, and I had no problem maintaining a connection to the Wi-Fi access point in my home 125 feet away. To get there, the signal had to penetrate one insulated exterior wall with fiber-cement siding, the three layers of interior drywall (with triple bats of fiberglass insulation and six inches of dead air in between) that form the walls of my home theater, and the floor-to-ceiling wooden entertainment where the AP is hidden (mounted inside the top of the cabinet). That's impressive for a battery-powered, solar-charged device, but you should be aware that Edyn estimates its battery will last only 2.5 years.

What does your garden need?

Edyn monitors four basic conditions in your garden: Light, moisture, humidity, and nutrition. It will also report the ambient air temperature at ground level, which can be very different than the temperature your average outdoor thermometer reports. On the day I wrote this review, my outdoor digital thermometer stated the temperature was 100 degrees Fahrenheit, but Edyn said it was considerably warmer at 109.

I installed one probe in a garden bed on the north side of my house that gets plenty of indirect sunlight, but direct sunlight for only a couple of hours in the morning. This garden is watered by a combination of micro sprinklers that water a large patch of ground cover, and drip emitters that deliver water directly to larger specimen plans.

 

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