Friday, August 17, 2007

Organic/IPM techie California gardeners rejoice!

Coming to a California nursery, library, county fair, garden exhibit, or plant clinic near you!

Touch-Screen Pest Management Kiosks

The University of California Statewide IPM Program has developed a touch-screen kiosk to help consumers around the state solve pest problems, protect the environment, and prevent runoff from residential landscapes. Read more.


  1. I don't know if this is suppose to replace your local nursery professional or your local master gardener. I notice that a couple of Lowe's and Home Depots have picked them up so there is hope that you'll finally get the right answer to your questions there.

    I don't know about this. Generally these types of automated devices sit in a corner somewhere collecting dust.

    Why would I as a nursery owner want one of these things in my store? How does this benefit me or my customer? I can see how they might be useful in libraries or county fairs, but in a garden center? We are trying to offer a respite from the machine world and a touch of human contact. This is the exact opposite.

  2. Hi Trey,

    I can see how this machine might seem a bit redundant in a store like yours where accurate horticultural information is available at all times, but I'm excited by the following:

    -- It's promoting Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and will steer customers to organic and lower-toxicity products.

    -- In places like HD and Lowe's, it's often difficult to get accurate, non-biased product recommendations.

    -- It will likely contain the same information as the excellent UC IPM website only now it will be accessed on site. Maybe someone forgot to look up a pest before heading to the nursery, or forgot to print the Pest Note, or doesn't know beans about IPM.

    -- It will bring UC IPM info to a much wider audience.

    -- Like my portable GPS system for my car and like the new Apple iPhone many of us are drooling over... touch screens are interactive, visual, tactile, and just plain fun!

    -- We live in a high tech, gadget-oriented world and it's nice to see the gardening world keeping pace.

    -- Horticulturally savvy nurseries like yours can use the machine as an opportunity to show support for IPM. It doesn't mean people won't want to interact with you and your staff. Instead, I think it will provide a useful visual aid in your discussions.

    -- It will improve accuracy of insect and weed i.d. and probably shows large photos of beneficial insects as well. The soldier beetle, often mistaken for a pest, will thank you.

    -- We need more links between university research and the nursery world. Horticultural practices are always changing based on new research and these machines will help nurseries keep up.

  3. Anonymous4:37 PM

    I'm often leery of these automated info-machines...the information tends to be so generalized.

    But after reading Angela's comments to Trey, and learning that the source material offered on them is respectable and reliable, I'm having a change of mind.

    The fact that they offer environment-friendly info helps.

    A device like this would only end up "in a corner somewhere collecting dust" if the manager or owner made it sit in the corner -- a waste of his/her investment.

    It could be featured near the entrance in a common gathering spot, with knowlegeable staff available to help patrons pose questions and search for answers, so you'd get human contact and useful information (it might even increase the knowlege base of personel).

    Even in the best, "homiest" nurseries, I've often found myslef wandering to find a "human" to answer my questions, and that person often has to say, Let me see if I can find so&so, or they go to find the Sunset Garden book, which I could do myself.

    So, I guess my message is that I'm "sold" enough on the idea to look forward to trying it out...and that's saying something for someone who's known as:

    Garden Gran