Last summer in Britain was a scorcher, with plants drying up under a red-hot sun. You’ll have seen DIY watering systems offering a makery answer to this, but even the simplest solutions need a modicum of know-how to put together. Dustyn Roberts is the CEO of Sage Smart Garden, a startup trying to take the smart garden experience to the masses. We spoke to her to find out about how, why, and the importance of not being a jerk when you’re running a business (Apprentice contestants, take note).
“I just moved to Philly from Delaware and in Delaware I had a system set up in my yard with a drip line for irrigation. But, either I forgot to turn it on or I forgot to turn it off. If you get a timer, you can set it to come on automatically, but it’s still going to water when it’s raining, and it’s really hard to fine-tune it. You can’t give it an extra shot of water at noon on a hot day and things are getting fried because you’re at work. So, I started trying to fine-tune a system that would work for me.
"We started talking to landscape designers and green roof companies, and they had the same problems: they wanted to be able to automate irrigation."
“Sage is a system of smart gardening modules that enables you to automate irrigation. The hub which is a white box sits inside, next to your router inside your house, and then there are two modules: the water valve that goes outside fits into a hose or a sprinkler, and the soil moisture sensor sticks into the dirt in your garden and tells you how wet it is.
“So, it allows you to close the loop and, say, ‘water my garden if it’s dry.’ Or, ‘water my garden every day at 7am if it’s dry, but not if it’s going to rain that day.’ It can pull in weather data through the API and not water at all if it’s going to rain that day.