An Indoor Garden? That’s Arduino-licious

Gardening is a rewarding endeavour, and easily automated for the maker with a green thumb. With simplicity at its focus,  Hackaday.io user [MEGA DAS] has whipped up a automated planter to provide the things plants crave: water, air, and light.

[MEGA DAS] is using a TE215 moisture sensor to keep an eye on how thirsty the plant may be, a DHT11 temperature and humidity sensor to check the airflow around the plant, and a BH1750FVI light sensor for its obvious purpose. To deliver on these needs, a 12V DC water pump and a small reservoir will keep things right as rain, a pair of 12V DC fans mimic a gentle breeze, and a row of white LEDs supplement natural light when required.

The custom board is an Arduino Nano platform, with an ESP01 to enable WiFi capacity and a Bluetooth module to monitor the plant’s status while at home or away. Voltage regulators, MOSFETs, resistors, capacitors, fuses — can’t be too careful — screw header connectors, and a few other assorted parts round out the circuit. The planter is made of laser cut pieces with plenty of space to mount the various components and hide away the rest. You can check out [MEGA DAS]’ tutorial video after the break!

[MEGA DAS] has made his Arduino code and phone app available to download for anyone else wanting to build their own. Once assembled, he can ensure his plant is well taken care of wherever he is with a few taps on his phone. Not too shabby for a seven day build.

For those preferring gardening outdoors, here’s a hack to jump-start the germinating process of your seeds. Even if you call the concrete jungle your home, that doesn’t mean you can’t have your own robot farm and automated compost bin on hand too!

24 thoughts on “An Indoor Garden? That’s Arduino-licious

  1. Now, this is my kind of hack! I guess I should get over my perfectionism and post my garden projects. I have a cabinet full of stuff I was going to turn into an aquaponics salad garden, I’m a bit more inspired to knock that project out now

  2. This is neat and pretty well executed.

    Except the lights. Thats not near enough light for most anything that requires more than very low light. There’s maybe 5 W of LEDs that are way too far away.

    For reference, at noon you might get around around 1kW/sq m. So for his maybe 0.25 sq m you would want something much closer to 200 W than 5 W and you would also need them much closer as light intensity drops off as the inverse of the square of the distance.

    Again, I think this is neat but I just think its so unfortunate to put all that effort into sensing, the enclosure, and watering while almost completely diregarding the light intensity needed for proper plant growth.

    1. W and kW aren’t useful in this context, far better is lumen, candle power, or best mols & PAR measurements. Mols & PAR are really nerding out but for a salad a month, not imo worth the effort.

        1. You assume wrong.
          kW aren’t useful beyond calculating your energy bill, since every light has different efficiencies. Thankfully most lights also list their lux/lumens or equivalent light output which is loads easier to deal with and allows you to jump between different light sources without worrying about their efficiency. Sure we can count the LEDs but that says nothing about how much light is actually being delivered.
          You really need 3k-10k lumens/square meter to grow food crops with lettuce and leaf crops being on the lower end. You can grow leaf crops at less but it takes longer, fruiting crops won’t bloom below a certain irradience, some with specific frequency and duration requirements on top of that.

          1. Also as you already point out, frequency. Quite an important aspect, as just plain whiite leds may end up doing next to nothing.

            Try measuring the output of a small solar panel under various light sources.

        1. ‘This’ being the project or the information? His project doesn’t seem sized appropriately but I wouldn’t really know. As for the use of lumens, lux, PAR and mols; it applies to all cash crops regardless of their legality.

  3. I don’t get why the light sensor is there. You know when the lights are on, you know their output, this sensor seems completely unnecessary.
    Fine if you want to play with a new sensor but it doesn’t give you any new information.

  4. The light is also the wrong wawelength, it should havge been a mix between red and blue, depending on what stage of flowering the plant is, people growing weed (I dont) seems to have perfected this

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