I began this post on the first of May, but today is May 23rd and I have finally had the opportunity to try my Pennington Smart Feed Sprayer System. Between rain almost every day or motherly duties, I have found true relaxation in gardening. I've read countless articles trying to figure out why my yard seemed to be where plants came to die and found out my pipe water and the soil, which is more like sand isn't suitable for the plants I want. That's why the areas I hoped to fill were covered in moss. It's also why people in my area tend to collect rain water for their plants, instead of using the hose. Why my indoor plants have only thrived once given the same refrigerator water that I myself drink!
To restart my garden in the backyard, I bought new plants from Lowes, some seeds in packets as well as seeds from fruits and veggies that I have prepped for plantings. My mother in law has a mango tree and my brother in law has been growing his own veggies and I've always wanted to do the same. Especially after reading about the pesticides and other harmful things added to the produce purchased in the grocery store. I kept these plants in the pots until today because I was afraid that the harsh rain we've been having would kill them and I'm not ready to say goodbye to the money I spent on them yet! :) For the next few days, there will be no rain in the forecast so it's the perfect time for my kids and I to plant them in our raised garden. The plants are actually taller than they were since I purchased them. Let's see how well they grow with the Pennington Smart Feeder System once I get them in the ground! Here are the before photos!
I followed the guides for the veggies I'm planting from scratch so I'd know when to fertilize them. I'll review them after an 8 week waiting period.
The below photos are of the flower plants right after removing them from the plastic containers into their resting places. I have to give them a few days before trying the product so I could make sure they don't die immediately after moving them. This way, I wouldn't blame the Pennington system for something it is not responsible for. I will spray them on March 30th.
Update - May 30, 2013: As mentioned on May 23rd, my four year old and I transplanted my potted plants from the small plastic containers I bought them in, to his little raised garden bed the ground. Very simple process. It has been raining a lot the past two months which really delayed my review of this system and has also rained off and on since the 25th (only two days of sunny skies this week). In that time the in ground plants have been drenched. Surprisingly, they've all survived and grown with just water. Here is what they looked like today!
Anyway, it's one week after transfer, perfect time for me to test the Pennington System!
The plants in the raised garden bed will be grown with just sunlight and water. The plants in the pot, which will serve as a raised bed also, will be sprayed with the Pennington Smart Feed Sprayer System. I will compare the results in a week. "After" photos coming soon!
HOW IT WORKS:
The spray system already comes equip with two blue fertilizer tablets inside. But even if it didn't there are only three steps to filling/refilling it. Just TWIST (where the green split is hold the handle and twist the clear area) , LOAD (the tablets) and once you connect the hose you're ready to SPRAY! Just choose which spray setting you want (the choices are Drain, Flat, Jet, Split and Shower) and it's that simple!
The system really made it easier to fertilize my plants, but I came across a few issues/concerns.
First, the hose that is kept in my backyard did not fit properly in the system. There were leaks surrounding the area where the system and my hose meets. For this reason, I went to the side of the house where the other hose is to see if I would have better luck. It did. I'm not sure, but I'm guessing since the back hose is used more often and we're constantly attaching different things to it (the spray guns, my children's water slides, play pools, the bounce house slide with pool), maybe that affected it. I had my husband bring the other hose to the back so I can fertilizer my plant. It worked very quickly! But, there was another slight problem.
There was random spraying coming from the system. I used the shower setting. The rain has already been hard on my little plants, I didn't want to use anything too forceful that would kill the flowers remaining. The bottom of the spray had water moving downward instead of across to the area I wanted wet.
How long will the tablets last? I know it's supposed to be a fast process, but one tablet finished a lot quicker than I expected. I only used it for a small area, but the system rotates really fast and water passes quickly and strong, so I'm not sure the tablets will fertilize the amount of plants the company estimates it will.
I think the idea of this product was a good one but changes should be made for it to be a complete success. Here are a couple of suggestions:
Include a "Mist" setting. The strength of the settings on this system are way too strong for delicate plants. I would be angry if my plants died as a result of being chopped by the forceful water.
My husband brought it up so I tried! I took the tablet out and used the machine to power wash a part of my patio, it actually worked well. That's not the kind of power I want to touch my flowers.
Great idea allowing us to see the blue tabs spin. That is actually pretty cool to watch. The problem is seeing how quickly it disappears. The tablet amount was the perfect quantity for me since I have a small garden area (growing but small at this time) and I am satisfied with the amount, but for someone who has a large plant area, as it is now, this would not be a cost effective way of fertilizing plants. The tablets should dissolve slower.
There should also be a measure points on the system, basically like what a measuring cup has. This would allow us to see how much fertilizer was used and how much space should have been covered. I know the point of the tablets are so there will be no measuring, but when the tablets spin, since there is no way to tell if we're watering one area too much or too little, no one will really be sure if they used it right, making consumers unhappy.
Instead of tablets, I wouldn't mind if the tablets were broken up like sand and there was the measuring points on the plastic part as mentioned in my previous thought. If we could, instead of placing two tablets into the canister part, POUR a specified amount of fertilizer into the canister, we would have a better idea of how much fertilizer we're actually using and if we've used enough.
WHAT I LIKE:
I like the lock idea for the trigger. With my carpal tunnel, having to hold that would probably cause my hands to cramp.
I also like the design and idea of the machine. There just needs to be some tweaks for it to be executed properly.
Stay tuned for final photo, coming June 6, 2013...
Ok, so June 6th passed, here's my June 17th update:
Ronda Writes Product Review Disclaimer: I received the Amdro Powerflex Pest and Weed System free as a BzzAgent for the purpose of a review. The above review is my own honest opinion of this product. I would NEVER recommend a product I did not try, and do not believe in. I DID NOT receive any compensation for this review. ~ Ronda.
Ok, I have some sad news to report. The plants that I sprayed the smart feed on has not grown any larger than the plants that were not sprayed. I don't know if the issue is because the machine did not work properly when I initially used it, but comparing them to the plants in my raised garden bed, the fertilized plants seem to be the same size. Also, I tried using the feeder system again, making this the second time that I would have used it, but not only did the sprayer NOT rotate, the water was leaking through every split it could possibly leak through...soaking my legs and shoes. Ughhh! Not happy at all!
I appreciate the opportunity to try the Smart Feeder System, but due to my experience with this product, I cannot recommend it. It has been a problem from the beginning (mechanically) and it did not produce any major growth to the plants I sprayed it on in comparison to the plants that were not sprayed. My parsley, tomatoes, peppers and other flowers are thriving without the use of this system, which can be seen in the below photos, so if it ever becomes necessary for me to fertilize my plants, I will experiment with something else.