The Evolution of Gardening Technology
The evolution of tools and gardening technology has been ongoing since our ancestors first began farming somewhere between 12,000 and 23,000 years ago. (Yes, we thought that was quite a big gap too, but it seems the experts just don’t seem to be able to agree.) Finding easier and more efficient ways to plant, grow and harvest crops has been behind tool innovation throughout the ages. While some of the earliest tools are still in use in some form today, recent inventions in the digital age are taking gardening technology to a new level.
Early gardening tools
Humans first started using tools way back in the stone age (around 2.6 million years ago), so we’d had a fair bit of practice with them before we decided to start cultivating plants. Simple digging tools known as microliths are believed to be the first thing we used (think of a pointed flint arrowhead and you’re pretty much there).
The earliest gardening/farming tools were made from natural materials like stone, bamboo bone and wood until those clever Romans came along with their iron smelting knowledge. This meant that stronger, lighter instruments like cutting blades and digging tools could be produced.
Many of the gardening tools we use every day are the same things our forebears used for thousands of years. For example, the earliest mentions of the trusty wheelbarrow date back to the Han Dynasty in second century China. Archaeologists have also found ancient versions of scythes, spades, shears and hoes in many areas of the world.
Modern gardening technology
The first gardens were introduced to Britain by the conquering Romans, but it wasn’t until the Middle Ages that gardening became a more prominent feature of British life. As gardens grew in popularity, so innovation followed.
For example, although the Romans (yes, them again) had created the first primitive examples, it was from as early as the thirteenth century that the development of greenhouse technology really gathered speed in places like Italy and Korea.
As we moved into the industrial age and beyond, gardening and agricultural technology took a great leap forward with the inventions of machines like the mechanical reaper, the tractor and the lawnmower in the 1800s. Since the start of 20th Century, the developments in gardening tech have been immense. In just a matter of decades, we’ve gone from the invention of the strimmer (as late as the 1970s) to the mind-blowing innovations of today.
Digital garden technology
When it comes to technical innovation, horticulturalists have never had it so good. From smart sensor technology and plant pest scanning machines, to robots that can weed, trim and harvest…the list of new inventions is ever expanding. (See some fun examples here.) As smart greenhouse designers, we love seeing what the latest technology has to offer and creating our own unique systems to add to this digital gardening revolution.
http://www.harvst.co.uk/automatic-greenhouse-and-polytunnel-irrigation/At Harvst, it goes without saying that we love a bit of tech! But we also appreciate the heritage and perfect simplicity of the tools we’ve used since our ancestors first started planting seeds. We believe modernisation can complement rather than get in the way of the joy of gardening. For us, it’s about balancing innovation and tradition – keeping the authentic experience of good old-fashioned gardening whilst harnessing the benefits that smart, automated systems can bring. So, while cutting edge technology may inform our use of materials, greenhouse designs and solar and sensor systems, our aim is to enhance rather than detract from all the fun of getting your hands dirty and growing your own food.
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