The Constant Gardener

June 3, 2012 | York Times Magazine| Howie Kahn Rather than spray water, fertilizer and pesticides across their fields, many industrial farms are taking a more targeted approach, using wireless soil sensors and G.P.S.-enabled equipment to determine which spots need the most attention. Soon, you’ll be able to use similar technology in your front yard. The home landscaping company Toro already has a line of consumer-grade moisture sensors that turn on the sprinkler system when your lawn is dry. It’s a good start, but Sanjay Sarma, of the Field Intelligence Lab at M.I.T., is working to produce tiny, inexpensive sensors that you scatter across your lawn by the dozens and that will track everything from bug infestations to mineral deficiencies. Then they’ll tell you what to do about it: three spritzes of pesticide to the tomato plants, stat. Howie Kahn



last updated june 2012