Temperature gadget

Remote thermometer/hygrometer sensor

This wireless remote temperature and humidity sensor sits outside, beside the side door to the Milkhouse. Here, it’s reading 0.3°C. Precise! I’m not overly thrilled by technology, but some gadgets I like. Like digital weather stations! They’ve become really CHEAP in the last couple of years. A local hardware chain just stocked a house brand, indoor/outdoor (dual measurements), min/max (stores highs and lows until reset) thermometer/hygrometer (humidity) for 10 bucks! I started tiny farming with a plain old analog min/max thermometer, until the digital ones got cheap about three years ago. Plus they had humidity. I got one, but it soon broke (didn’t like the greenhouse heat and humidity, I guess). The next generation of cheap weather stations had outdoor sensors. Cool! I got two for the greenhouse, one for the seedling room, and they’ve lasted. But, the remote sensor (a bonus!) is on the end of a long wire that I never got round to running… Now, there’s cheap and WIRELESS. That’s REALLY cool. More units, more batteries, but it’s WIRELESS. I banged in a nail and hung it out there in three minutes. It sends temp and humidity to a neat little unit sitting by my computer. It doesn’t store min/max wirelessly, that one’s not as cheap until probably next year. Instead, I glance at it quite often. The remote isn’t protected from direct sunlight, so the highs are too high when the sun hits it, but here it’s on the east side of the barn, so only the morning reading is off… Why do I need real-time outdoor temperature for tiny farming? Hmmm… It’s been just above zero days and most nights lately, and THAT’s interesting? You mightn’t have noticed otherwise that everything is slowly MELTING… Though really, watching the temperature through the day is kinda like watching the balls spin on a lottery draw: it DOESN’T REALLY MATTER! So maybe this wireless thing is yet another clever, largely unnecessary…gadget. I still like it: it’s 32.6°F outside the door, three days to the New Year, and seeds start soon! :)

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13 Responses to “Temperature gadget”

  1. Robin says:

    I’ve been looking at wireless thermometers. How far will the signal travel? I’d like to put them in the greenhouse and seedling house. The greenhouse 300′ from the back of the house. Think it would go that far?

    A week’s worth of sun and 25-35* days jump started the greens in the greenhouse. Fresh veggies tomorrow!

  2. Kevin says:

    You continue to amaze me with almost every post! You’re not impressed by technology? I find that fascinating. I, on the other hand, find technology amazing. In fact, technology is allowing us to grow summer vegetables indoors, hydroponically. Here’s a pic! The spot under the seedlings is raring to go as a ‘Dutch Bucket” version of hydroponics, if only the danged tomato seeds would hatch.

    Plant technology rocks. We have the advantage down here of being able to grow many crops (all cruciferous vegetables plus onion, garlic, radish, radicchio, etc.) in the middle of the winter, But with the technology of hydroponics, along with current hothouse technology we can grow true summer vegetables! I’m currently $4,799 short of my $4,800 goal to build a dream 50’x80′ greenhouse. But it will happen, sooner or later, thanks to technology.

    And THAT, my friend is why I find you so fascinating. You’re clearly not so anti-technology that you’ve become Amish or Menonite, since you use a tiller. We know where the Amish draw the line on technology. We know, if you read the next paragraph, where I draw the line (hint: I don’t draw any line at all). But we don’t know where YOU draw it. I’m almost hanging on the edge of my seat to know the answer. When does it become a mistake to use current technology to grow plants?

    I should mention that I am hopelessly helplessly head over heals in love with technology, and a big fan of the technology of chemicals as well. Maybe even a HUGE fan. For instance, I won’t hesitate to break out the Thiodan (what little I have left, it’s sadly illegal now) when I see a stink bug, or really ANY bug. Used in force, and with massive overkill. And if any funky powder appears on my veggie leaves, out comes the Daconil, sprayed with wild abandon. Actually, ‘wild’ doesn’t accurately describe it. ‘Scary’ might. It’s best you don’t come around our house if there is powdery mildew on my vegetable plants. Spider mites? Well, we don’t seem to have them down here in Looosiana, but I’ve got a bottle of Kelthane just in case to teach them WHY they shouldn’t bother coming to Louisiana…

    Please don’t take this comment as insulting or some kind of rebuke. I truly want to understand you.

  3. Clayton says:

    Well I put in a remote temp/monitor and really like it. Can you imagine the temp diff between .5 and .6! One more shirt and pants I bet. ha! I really appreciate it as I have found when you go to buy the old stick it on a nail unit, you cannot find 2 that are reading the same temp! So I will trust the electronics (who knows it could be wrong too). We just have too much cold to try to run a greenhouse for winter growing here. Not a hill in site to build into a south facing slope or something so we could use the earth as a buffer.
    I on the other hand stay away from chemicals as much as possible except in the area of ferts which I use in a very limited fashion and usually for non edibles. Where I do use something from time to time is on the currants and gooseberries as they sure can take a beating from the currant worms. Our other main enemy is the birds and I just cannot justify all the netting it would take to protect the whole farm yard.

    Enjoy these kind of exchanges.

    Clayton

  4. Patrick says:

    It’s funny to see you say you’re not overly thrilled by technology. Without a doubt you are the most technically aware person doing what you are doing that I know.

    You are technically aware both in what’s good to use, and also what not to use!

  5. hedgewizard says:

    Quality gadget – and quality blog! I tracked Steve Mudge over here hoping against hope to find his blog, but most impressed with this place and adding it to my links now. I’m a sucker for gadgets personally, but over the years I’ve found that a simple thermometer is the only one that I really need – so now we have an embargo on buying new ones. I’m very much anti-chemicals too – they can certainly work in a pinch but the impact is there if you know where to look; like Nemaslug making the slug problem WORSE the year after, by depleting the area of slug predators!

  6. Steve Mudge says:

    Hey HedgeWizard! Yah, this is definitely a cool blog…alas I have yet to have my own blog–but I’m threatening all the time.

  7. Mike (tfb) says:

    Holy heck (Kevin)! Of course, I’m not anti-technology, I’m using a wireless remote weather sensor to see what the temperature is 20′ away outside the Milkhouse door…!! I don’t give these blog photo…captions much forethought, and sometimes they take on a drift of their own. As far as I can gather, my basic larger point was: there’s lots of cheap, digital, high tech gadgetry out there that, like credit cards, are being seductively laid out for people: they look good but do nothing for you, only COST. Gadgets have always been there, but chip-driven little programmed gadgets I find more insidious. Even knowing that, they’re fascinating, and you still treat yourself to some… Perhaps tiny farming is sharpening my focus on what’s really cool and what’s just glittery…junk!

    Robin: This one I have is supposed to be good for 100′. I’ve looked around for weather stations before, when thinking about that first 50′ or 100′ production greenhouse. There are companies like La Crosse and Oregon and Davis Instruments that make a whole range. For serious monitoring, it looks like a $200-400 investment is in order, with multiple sensors reading from one base, and a few hundred feet of range. Right now, the only time I really might use a remote usefully is for about four weeks in April-May, when I put seedlings out in the unheated hoophouse and have to manually fire up a propane space heater if there’s a cold snap at night (that’s the current state of my heating technology). A remote (at about 300′ from the Milkhouse) would save the walk to check the thermometer, but I kinda like walking in the dark with my 1 million candlepower rechargeable lamp (candlepower’s getting cheaper all the time, too!). With production greenhouses, for me I think it’d be a luxury, not essential, but still a useful convenience. I’d have to BUDGET.

    Kevin: That was funny! You can be the official resident organics contrarian, just keep up the thought-provoking comments!! For some insight into my technology line, it’s not hard, it’s common sense. For an example of (tiny farm) tech that crosses my line, take “smart” inkjet cartridges, with a helpful little microchip that tells you when the ink is running low. I’m rushing to print out the week’s 55 copies of the CSA newsletter, ink is low, I slam in the foresightfully on-hand spare, and…SILENCE. Blinking lights. WARNING! The freakin’ smart cart misfired, it’s full of ink, but the chip thinks it isn’t and so has shut down the printer. I’ve NEVER had a problem with not knowing a cartridge was nearly empty, I didn’t want or need another chip in the printing part of my life. I wonder if it’s sending home the text of everything I print as well, for diagnostic and product improvement purposes. And I don’t want to have to know if there’s a way to jump the electronics and hotwire the printer, like, with a piece of chewing gum foil… This is obviously stupid (and greedily motivated) tech. There’s LOTS of it around, some friendlier-seeming when it works, but really all there to drain your resources, financial and MENTAL. Thiodan, Daconil, Kelthane sound TO ME like they’re in the smart cartridge category, since I’m managing to grow good veggies quite well without ‘em. (And I don’t buy Epson any more, in fact, reverted from color inkjet to a new, inexpensive HP laserjet—tech like years ago, just cheaper!—and I have faster copies at a fraction of the cost, no ink bleeding when the paper gets wet, no opportunity to impulsively print a page IN COLOR that’ll cost me six bucks in ink…)

    I’ve been trying to figure out the Amish and Mennonite technology line, but it really isn’t at all clear. I’m gonna visit the new neighbors and ask. I’ve tried to get at it, but there are so many groups with apparently different rules: Amish, old order Amish, Mennonites, old order Mennonites. Some spray chemicals and drive tractors and use all kinds of gear, but don’t drive cars, but do have a driver to drive them into town. I’m getting a quote on a fork for the compact tractor, from a Mennonite metal fabrication shop down the road that’s fully equipped. I heard (on a radio special) that some orders are thoroughly…modern, drive cars and work as business executives in the city. Others have designated readers (those who are taught to read)—I’m not sure where I heard that one. I’ve been negotiating by phone with Clarence down the road over buying an old, old tractor, he’s Mennonite, I’ll ask him. Nothing, it seems, is simple…

  8. Mike (tfb) says:

    hedgewizard: Started reading your blog with one of the early food coop entries, haven’t yet got to how it shaped up. Sounds great! And your sidebar local food list is excellent, I’m gonna do the same here. Everyone (who’s into local food and has a blog) should have one, it really puts the action first: do it, talk about it later!! :)

  9. Mike (tfb) says:

    Patrick: As a reader of your blog, I take your comment as a high compliment. You know more about a lot of different gardening stuff than I do! Luckily, I seem to have good instincts and learn pretty quick… Although I don’t think about it much in general terms, I guess finding that tech line between the good and the not good is an important, central part of tiny farming…

  10. Kevin says:

    Hah! Ok, you made a good point about the bad side of technology :). I’m amazed and intrigued that you find toner cartridges to be cheaper than inkjet cartridges. I’ve wanted a laser printer for years, but assumed it would be cost-prohibitive.

    I thought Amish and Mennonites were anti-tech. I will look into it before I poke fun at them again. In fact now that I think about it, a Mennonite leased the land next to our house and I saw him discing it with a tractor. Shows my ignorance I guess.

    Your disdain for Thiodan tells me one thing: You don’t have stink bugs where you live. Without it, they make my tomatoes and peppers completely inedible with their stings. They murdilize green beans/peas as well. They even make summer squash disfigured, despite the fact that they only stay on the vine 2 or 3 days! Still edible, but too ugly to share with friends. If you have a better way of murdering those evil sons of… guns, please share it.

  11. Mike (tfb) says:

    Kevin: I looked up stink bugs, which seem to be confined for now mostly to your part of the world (southern USA/nearer the equator). Thankfully. They sound…not too nice. The funniest/most horrifying description I read: “Both stages cause damage by feeding on fruit (tomatoes, okra pods, pea or bean seed) with their piercing-sucking mouthparts.” And that was a technical description from a Mississippi State University ag extension publication. Yikes! Have you tried row cover? ;)

    And yeah, check out laser printers. I got my HP (B&W printing) for $100 with a trial (half-full) cartridge, and it’s still printing after the whole season, that’s hundreds pages of weekly CSA newsletters alone. A full toner cart is $90 and I think prints 2000 pages. I was getting AT MOST 200 pages of black text out of a $25 inkjet cartridge. I must’ve spent like $1500 in ink for a $70 inkjet over three or four years. Unless you’re addicted to printing full color photos on $2 sheets of special photo stock, go (cheap) laser!

  12. One of the things I love about blog articles is that they provoke a thought in my mind. As soon as that happens, I feel as I need to write a comment with the hope it’s interesting to some people.completely differenther/himself I find myself returning to your weblog simply because you have numerous outstanding insights, and that is very exciting and tells me you know your stuff. Keep sparking

  13. Patricia says:

    Despite these hi tech temperature sensors, do you know that we can measure the outdoor temperature with crickets creaking sound? Natural finally finds its way.

    I found this unique article here:

  14. When does the wire come back?

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