Growerbot turns gardening into a science

A backyard vegetable garden can be a hit-or-miss game. You’re really not sure if your crops are getting enough sun, shade, or water until it’s time for harvest and you see the results of a season of hard work. Growerbot, a hardware project by [Luke] that’s up on Kickstarter now, hopes to change that. This box will pull down how much sun and water your crops should get, and is smart enough to correct any deficiencies.

On board the Growerbot is a soil moisture sensor, light, temperature, and humidity sensors, as well as WiFi connectivity and a few relays to run pumps and turn on grow lights. The idea is to learn from mistakes and achieve optimal growth for everything connected to the Growerbot. If you’re trying to grow some heirloom tomatoes in the midwest, you can go online and get the growth profile for your area and precisely control environmental variables for the perfect crop.

As of now, there are settings for in-ground gardens, raised beds, and hydroponic setups. There’s not much in the way of ideal growing conditions aside from what is available from the USDA, but once Growerbot is released we expect the data to start flowing in.

 

Comments

  1. raidscsi says:

    At least in Northeast Ohio there is a fairly annoying radio commercial for indoor hydroponics that uses the word “tomato” to mean pot.

    Cannabis profiles for download in 3 2 1…

  2. The Cageybee says:

    I’m looking for a tut to build either capacitive or AC moisture sensors that I can connect to a uC. Can anyone point me to one.
    Tried the galvanized nails route and it’s pretty much pointless. Even only polling them once an hour they become horribly corroded after a week.

    Off topic for a moment: What happened to the forums?

  3. jake says:

    Maybe they could add some IR sensing to measure the health of the plants. NASA does this with satellites.

    http://missionscience.nasa.gov/ems/08_nearinfraredwaves.html

  4. justDIY says:

    Is there an actual tech blog or how-to link that was left out for the PotGrower GrowerBot, or is this just an advertisement for kickstarter?

  5. Cid says:

    jake: that’s a very interesting idea. Could it be possible with some IR leds and IR photosensors? I’m thinking something portable to put between a leaf. Like a C sensor.

  6. Inspid Melon says:

    What would be really interesting would be to pair this with a selective breeding program—i.e., having the plants and the environment adapt to each other simultaneously to find the optimum pairing. What I am thinking is that, since the environment is so precisely controlled, you can ditch all the genes that give the plants hardiness (survive a particularly hot day, or a dry week) and get better growth-rates in return.

  7. John Laser says:

    I have to say this might take the fun out of gardening for me. I only like to grow flowers to make my garden look nice, though I suppose it would be good for crops. How much testing has been carried out on it?

  8. Bebop says:

    I need a system that will do Aquaplonics. Raising Edible Fish (Tilapia?), and using the fish water to grow an indoor garden with a simple DWC flush and filter setup. Aquaplonics is a self stabilizing ECO system. The real problem is it needs to be balanced, Fish and Plants need be happy.

    Monitor Fish and Tomatoes continuously , and automate all Lights, Pumps, Fans, Feedings, Keep Logs via Webpage. Lets see if it can do it.

  9. Rhalla says:

    In an indoor setting the ‘Pro’ tier would be a very useful tool. Knowing your soil EC and pH is helpful; adequate watering is more critical in container growing.

    Of course it only makes sense if you’re in commercial production. My outdoor vegetable garden would take over a decade to offset the cost of this device. Not to mention it does not seem like you could regulate 2 unrelated crops at once such as kale and tomatoes as they have completely different water, light, and nutrient requirements.

    can it regulate commercial volume? Like a 30′ X 90′ greenhouse which is tiny for commercial. Then it may compete w/ existing enviro and dosatron systems.

  10. n0lkk says:

    I don’t want to seem critical, but I doubt that there is a location in the USA where gardening hasn’t been scientifically studied. Not to say there isn’t nothing new to learn and it could hurt to update data. This could add some entertainment value for gardening geeks. Not sure what value there is in measuring the light the outdoor garden receives because there’ little one could do about it, same goes for the humidity. Pull back the mulch to poke a finger at the ground to if it’s needing more water. Then what do I know? I see Luke has a fair start on the fund raising, good luck to him.

  11. Cid says:

    The world is a big place, i’m sure there are lots of people who likes to program microcontrollers and tend a garden. I have seen many videos of Arduinos controlling hydroponics or normal outdoor crops.

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