A Victory Garden
A victory garden is the latest must-have in this economic climate. Even the White House has one and there's no time like spring time to start planting seeds so that you and your family can enjoy the fruits (and vegetables) of your labor later on.
At Home Electronic Botanist: $79.95
This device tells you which plants would grow best where you live by analyzing different variables. Stake the unit into the soil and it measures soil moisture and drainage, sunlight levels, ambient temperature and humidity for 24 hours. Then plug it into your PC's USB port and it'll take you to a website that analyzes the data and accesses a database to determine which plants will flourish in your environment.
>> Details at Hammacher.com
Botanicalls System: $100
Sounds like sci-fi, but this product will have your plant tell you when it needs to be watered. Botanicalls is basically a Plant Twitter Kit. You assemble a kit, connect it to the Internet through the built-in ethernet jack, jam the leads into the plant's soil, and subscribe to the plant's twitter feed. It will tell you when it needs watering, or scold you if you've overwatered it, and report its status in between.
>> Details at ThinkGeek.com
Make your own compost from your waste (like vegetables, coffee, etc.). The Naturemill mixes, heats and aerates and every two weeks, you get fresh compost fertilizer.
>> Details at CNET.com and Naturemill.com
First Alert Brand Weather Station: $20
This weather station displays the date, time and temperature at a glance. It is also equipped with a wireless RF remote temperature sensor to monitor the outside temperature
>> Details at Amazon.com
Prepara® Powerplant™ Grow Light: $49.95 (Currently on sale for $36.99)
And for those of us who don't have that much space, you can still grow herbs, vegetables, fruits and flowers right on your countertop or window sill. This planter sprouts almost any seed and requires no soil, just water, nutrients and air. Simply place your seeds in the grow sponge watch it grow.
>> Details CNET.com and SurLaTable.com
Babytree Cell Phone Strap $10 - $15
The "Babytree Cell Phone Strap features tiny capsules containing an assortment of equally tiny trees from various parts or the world from which you can choose, Tokyomango says. The trees--from Argentina, South Africa, Mexico, and the United States--are alive and, according to the Web site, will stay that way for six months as long as they're watered once or twice a month.
>> Details at CNET.com and Strapya-World.com:
For more information on Brian Cooley, visit www.briancooley.com