Why isn't there a garden robot?
Watering: About the most we have today are drip watering systems with
automatic timers. There aren't even commonly available systems that measure
and react to the actual water content in the soil.
Backyard Garden Automation: They can fly a camera on three winches
over a football field, why can't we rig up a hose, seed and rabbit pellet
dispenser, micro weed eater, and camera?
) A "wirebot" (See
Wirebot Presentation^) can hang above a garden on three poles and "fly"
over the plants taking pictures for remote review, probing the soil for moisture
level, and if fitted with a gripper or something like the "Awecome
could remove weeds, dig small holes to plant seeds, etc... The instability
of the wirebot head can be improved by running /two/ wires from the head
to each pole, one high and one low holding the head top and bottom. A motorized
winch is being developed at:
How about a social web site that shows an overhead picture of your garden
and invites people to play a "game" of nuking your weeds, complete with CGI
explosions of the targets. The aggregate result, less protected areas where
you know there are plants, can direct the robot to weed the area.
Aquaponics is a popular and innovative method for reducing the inputs
required to produce both plant (hydroponic) and fish (aquaculture) by combining
the two systems: The plants clean the fish waste out of the water by using
it as their fertalizer, and the fish food becomes the input instead. The
main reduction is in water needed. However, in a small system, water quality
issues can cycle very quickly and get out of control before a human notices.
Robotic systems to monitor and perhaps react to water quality issues is critical
and very lacking. Currently, the electronic sensors for those test (e.g.
Ph) are very expensive and require frequent
USA offers micro loans to help start urban farms.+
Database of plant image analysis programs. Filter by license, OS, function, cost, etc...+
Saving water through several low tech and high tech
Automatic plant watering: Home made low voltage water valve, 4 solar yard
http://go.farmbot.it/ Another attempt to automate small
http://www.aerogardendvd.com The "Aero Garden" automates
the lighting cycle and reminds the user to add water and nutrients as needed.
The roots are held in air at 100% humidity (no dirt). Cost is about
Solar powered "green thumb" monitors plant water level. Full construction
Hooking up a small solar powered pump to the "green thumb" results in automated,
just-in-time, minimal water usage gardening!
gardens with the grow light in the center said to decrease growing time.
The "Telegarden" was a remote operation experiment over the internet.
Hanging planters with a wick style automatic watering system
Wicking beds turn standard raised bed gardens into self watering, super low
water use, huge earthboxes! Imagine a standard raised bed frame, then put
a plastic or rubber liner inside, making a sort of pool. Next, put "agi-pipe"
(used for building soil drains) along the bottom, connected to a plastic
elbo and a stand pipe. Fill in a few inches of gravel or "screening rock"
and cover with shade cloth or old sheets to keep the soil from invading the
space between the rocks. At one end, cut a "drain hole" in the liner so the
water can never rise above the rocks. Finally fill in soil, compost, and
mulch as always. Fill with water from the stand pipe until it starts to seep
from the drain hole. Now the bed will be watered for weeks on end, and no
water will touch the surface, preventing oportunistic seeds from rooting
and keeping the mulch and compost soft and easy to work. The water also will
not seep into the soil below the bed, so much less water is used.
Min-Max temperature recording. Low tech, no batteries. $16
self watering containers made from empty soda bottles.
self watering containers made from empty half gallon plastic milk jugs.
A tip to take into consideration though is to tape or paint the outsides
opauqe to prevent algae growth and promote healthy root development.This
is because algae like light and suffocates the roots by covering them and
stealing nutrient etc. And the roots become stunted on some plants because
they strive to avoid the light and by doing this they bunch up in the middle
of the planter.
We made these from old laundry soap jugs (the really big ones) and sent kids
home from RE classes with tomato plants. The handle is a perfect place to
shove a small, dead bush for a latice. The kids don't have to remember to
water them more than once a week or so.
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