Outdoor living goes high tech
Just as we are spending more time than ever at home outside, we are enjoying a rash of new products that make free time there as convenient and comfortable as our indoor kitchen or family room.One of the greatest innovations in all of our lives (after microwave popcorn) is the microchip. Yes, it runs our lives in every way imaginable and it’s making headway into our gardens and landscapes as well.How many times have we visited a nursery or garden center only to find that the plant information we are looking for is woefully lacking? Incomplete or missing details such as cultural requirements or other information that might help us to be smarter gardening consumers is missing all too often.That no longer has to be the case, thanks to my new friend the “Pocket Gardener.” It’s a clever software program loaded into your portable pocket computer or PDA. Dr. Tim Rhodus of Ohio State University headed up a project that makes all of us pocket computer gardeners more confidant when we head out on our next big plant buy.By simply logging on to the Web site and downloading the free software, about 190 pages of plant information becomes readily accessible. Furthermore, the data is stored on their computers so you don’t have to worry about using up a lot of extra memory.This is a great resource from one of the top horticultural Web sites in the country. A search on your web browser for “pocket gardener’ will take you to their Web site for more information.And, even as we enjoy outdoor living in our Web-enabled, remote control activated outdoor rooms, we are involving the entire family more and more. So it’s no mystery that we are becoming more environmentally aware of the space where our families work, eat, play and relax.One of the most intensive environmental product focuses today is in addressing the chemicals we are putting on our lawns to keep them green and weed free. There’s no sign that we are loosening our standards. In fact, the contrary is more the case. As we live and entertain outside, we are requiring better-looking results, and at the same time, demanding less effort to get and keep it there. Companies and products are sprouting up like, well, weeds to meet the demand.For example, Garden Promise, a California-based company, has developed an all-organic line of liquid fertilizers that can be inserted into in-line drip and lawn irrigation systems. These kits are currently being tested in California municipalities and piloted in some large box stores there. If successful, this product should quickly make its way across the country and into our own backyards.Products like this indicate that manufacturers are hearing and responding to our need for multi-tasking, eco-friendly, do-it-yourself solutions. Creating smart combinations that provide environmentally responsible ways to quickly and easily feed our lawns and gardens safely is certainly hitting the mark.If the current trends continue, maybe all these new time-saving, ecologically responsible solutions will allow us to get back to the days of lazy afternoons in our backyard hammocks … watching our weather resistant remote control television, while the computer driven, battery operated lawnmower quietly goes about cutting the organically fed grass.Joe Lamp’l, a Master Gardener, hosts “Fresh from the Garden” on the DIY Network as well as a gardening radio show. For more information, visit http://www.DIYnetwork.com and http://www.joegardener.com.
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Facing the loss of five crucial games down the stretch due to COVID-19 quarantine rules, the Glenwood Springs girls basketball team’s postseason fate looked uncertain and totally out of the team’s control.