5 On It: The Top Innovations for Home Growers

Our picks for the top 5 most innovative tools for home growers this quarter

By Jeff Klingman, theBluntness Feature Writer

With more U.S. states giving the green light to cannabis cultivation for medical and recreational use every year, a demand for smart guides and grow gadgets is already teeming. Like home-brewed craft beer before it, home-grown craft bud is set to be an increasing point of pride for would-be botanists and obsessive tinkerers across the country.

Here are a few cutting edge trends shaping the home-grown cannabis market as it plants roots in American gardens (and spare closets near the laundry room.)

Grow Apps for Smartphones

Would-be hobby farmers in newly legal grow states still need to clear the vital bar of… knowing what the hell they are doing.

Smartphone grow apps like the soon to launch Snaphash are aiming to walk the beginning grower through every step of the process, from setting up your first grow room to harvesting the eventual spoils, with very neat augmented reality features. They also promise comprehensive timing and scheduling tools, and even a diagnostic feature for times when your beloved plants are beset by bugs, or just don’t look right at all. Upon wide release, this might be a game-changer.

Indoor Grow Cabinets

But work that’s guided meticulously, even step-by-step, is still, you know, work.

A new class of luxury all-in-one grow units is just starting to enter the market with the aim of automated ease, in a tidy, self-enclosed piece of mini-fridge-ish furniture. There’s Dealzer’s discreet, LED-lined Cash Crop Boxes on the smaller end. For more ambitious yet also passive types, there’s Cloudponics epic, luminous, fully-automated GroBox, which promises a yield of 10 ounces every 3 months, and lets you monitor via app, checking your best buds’ progress remotely with the swipe of a touchscreen.

Smart Sensors for Outdoor Plants

Most commercially available digital sensors for the home garden aren’t designed specifically for weed hauls. But what’s good for the heirloom tomato also benefits your killer kush.

Portable crop monitors like Hunter Industries’ Solar Sync device scan temperatures and weather patterns, measure sunlight, and adjust water levels accordingly. It’ll hold off water for rainy days, prevent flooding, or help conserve water to lessen environmental impact, letting the grower relax elsewhere.

Home Kits for Potency Testing

One of the greatest benefits for connoisseurs of the premium dispensary experience is knowing -- with some degree of decimal point certainty -- just how strong the product you’re about to smoke, eat, or massage into your temples actually is. Clinical tests provide that info for the pros, while affordable DIY methods have lagged further behind.

Alpha-CAT, who make both mobile lab equipment for the white-coat set and affordable home tests for medical patients and hobbyists, have a good reputation in the still-young field and clinical trials to back it up. (Of course, regimented training in testing methods of even home kits lowers their margin of error, significantly.)

Marijuana Humidors

Beyond the sheer satisfaction of mad-science tinkering your way to a personally perfect vibe, home-growing brings the promise of a massive, affordable stash.

When you’ve got a lot lying around, storage is key. Cannador makes a high-end line of handsome mahogany humidors, housing glass jars to separate your strains, increase their flavors, and retain potency. Consumers that are a little “extra” can place a portable Bluestream Hygrometer inside, which senses any unexpected spikes in temperature or humidity and pings you via smartphone app, with no excess lid lifting required.

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