Blurb: This is just a quick dump of an idea with building electronic devices to live in the garden to monitor and alert you to the status of your plants.
Cost:I think you would want to ensure they cost arround the 50 buck mark which I dont think would be an issue.
A year or two back i saw a make magazine article(http://cm.cdn.fm/fakeup/dow-make/cmweb/entry_assets/MAKE18_Garduino_brnd.pdf) on garduino an arduino garden monitor, (Images for this as examples from http://www.doorsofperception.com/archives/2011/06/food_by_numbers.php)
I thought that this idea was cool but only benefits you, why not use a similar setup in the backyard, in the vegi patch, under the cherry tree, but then gather all the data to the cloud,
If you had moisture, light, acidicy sensor data matched with weather, time of year, location data along with old school knowledge liketype of soil, when to prune a tree, when to fertilise a tree and observations about how the tree is doing. You could vastly improve your and others success rates with similar plants.
Sending this all to a garduino cloud server/service. You could have email alerts that inform you to water the certain items, potential heat warnings allowing you to put shade cloth up, reminders to prune and fertilise your plants.
Arduino – $20
Xbee 2.4Ghz transimtter to talk to a networked arduino $30
An alternative of using an SD card ad manually transfering the data $10
Or perhaps a lower bandwidth option is available (like walkie talkies)
Solar panel $10
Conclusion: I think taking garduino and gardens online is a great idea with a ton of potential. Let me know what you reckon. If you run off with tthe idea and start a kick stater project and make millions just send a few $$’s my way or get me involved 😉 Just dont steal the idea and call it your own.