I bet that you wonder how often you should water that plant of yours. What if you simply asked it? What if the plant could tell you? It sounds like a science fiction, but the technology already exists. It was developed for use during NASA space missions involving human crews. The Leaf Water Sensor is on the market.
What is this clever device? It is a tiny electronic chip, smaller than a post stamp. Can be powered by solar battery. It does not harm the plant in any way. Once you clip it to the leaf, it will measure it's relative turgidity. This data is sent to the central computer. Then, a proprietary algorithm calculates internal moisture level of the plant. What happens when plant's water deficit stress falls below a preset range - in simple words, when plant is thirsty? Computer activates watering system it controls or sends a text message to the gardener's telephone. Plant wearing the leaf water sensor asks to be watered.
Let's look at some statistics. 40% of freshwater consummed in US is used by agriculture. Half of electric energy used in agriculture powers the pumps and water distribution to the crops. Those are huge numbers. Now, the farmers tend to supply more water than neccesary, rather than take chances of their plants wilting. What if the crops were watered only when the crops require it? A few water sensors can provide a good picture of the plants' condition in the area watered by one large pivot sprinkler. A lot of water and energy can be conserved by this new green technology. Not only the costs of agro production could be lowered, but also it could make a positive impact on ecology.
Now you are thinking - well, that's cool, but I don't have a huge agricultural farm. I grow a few veggies in my back yard. Can this chip help me properly water my plants? Well, there are some good news for you. You can get a home version of the chip, controlled by a software on a PC. That sure can take away some guesswork from your watering schedule. Check out the Leaf Water Sensor device on Amazon and see if it lives up to high expectations.