Raspberry Pi automates your tomato farm


Check out the tomato plants [Devon] grew using a monitoring system he built himself. It’s based around a Raspberry Pi. As far as grow controllers go it falls a bit short of full automation. That’s because the only thing it can actuate is the black water line seen hovering above the plants. But [Devon's] work on monitoring and collecting sensor data should make it easy to add features in the future.

The moisture sensors pictured above monitor the soil in which the plants are growing. But he also has temperature and light sensors. These are very important when growing from seed and could be used in conjunction with a heating mat for plants that require higher soil temperatures (like pepper plants). The tomatoes are also pretty leggy. Now that he’s monitoring light levels it would be good to augment the setup with a grow light. A long term goal could even be a motorized bed which could raise the plants right up to the bulbs so they don’t reach for the light.

Don’t let the stars in our eyes distract you though. He’s done a ton of work on the project both with the physical build, and in plotting the data collected by the system. Great job!


  1. ballronkarin says:


  2. Bruno says:

    Yes…. Tomatoes. Beta test on tomatoes. Then grow the sticky icky? How about creating mutant plants like half breed tomato and tobaco. Tomaco anyone? Yes I stole it from the Simpsons.

  3. Hmmmm says:

    What, you can’t hydroponically grow tomatoes without someone using quotes around “tomatoes”? Nope you can’t.

  4. daler says:

    Put an oscilating fan on them to help with the leggyness — just enough for some movement, yet not so much that the plants are being being blown over.

  5. MLP says:

    Anybody else thought about weed?

  6. Eatith Mee says:

    Tomatos you roll up in rice paper and smoke… Yeahhhhhh those “Tomatos”

    You say Tomato, I say puff puff pass…

  7. B Botany says:

    Not to the HAD author: the usual way to actuate a “black water line” is to flush. How about using the phrase from the video (if I heard correctly): “the only thing it can actuate is water flow from the black hose”?

    Particularly for something that runs for a few seconds every so-and-so through the day, “black water line” is very suggestive of a somewhat different watering arrangement: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manneken_Pis

  8. Aaron says:

    Ha, this is cool. I did the same thing without the water line. http://inburst.io/gardenpi/
    Mine monitor a bank of 6 different types of mint plants so that they can be perfectly stressed to produce a better flavor.

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