You would like to start to grow your own vegetables but you don’t really have enough place and/or time to take care of your garden. No problem! Just go vertical and automate your garden with an Arduino Mega, an Ethernet shield, and lots sensors and valves. That’s basically what Rik Kretzinger, who grew up on a Christmas tree farm, and has a major in horticulture, has done at his home. This whole system use a farming technique called aquaponics, mixing aquaculture (raising fish in tanks) and hydroponics (cultivating plants in water), and except planting and harvest, is mostly automatized. The hard part is to set it up.
The firmware is based on APduino “Internet-of-growing” open source project that runs on Arduino Mega to gather data from sensors (humidity, temperature, pH, light…) and control the valve. Rik’s system also upload data automatically to Xively cloud so that he can monitor his garden from any web browser. He can also setup the system to receive alerts by SMS in case something goes wrong, such as water overflow. He can also receive tweets or Facebook updates automatically.
Rik Kretzinger plans to expand, and setup his “farm” in urban and suburban area by making use of vacant backyards or lots to grow vegetables. The tower pictured on the right of the top picture allows you to grow plants vertically, and can easily be transported, if he wants to sell the plants or the land owner wants to use his land plot for other purpose. The Arduino will be placed in the light “chassis” at the bottom and comes with a control panel.
If you are interested in this type of system, you can watch the video (about 20 minutes) that shows the full system, Arduino connections, and Xively cloud in action. The video was shot in July 2013, so the system must have further improved since then.
You can follow the project, find more details, and even purchase necessary components on Rik’s Aquaponic DIY Automation Blog.
Thanks to Onebir for the idea.
Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 as a part-time endeavor, before quitting his job as a software engineering manager, and starting to write daily news, and reviews full time later in 2011.