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Biotech Technology

Prefab Greenhouse + Ardunio Controls = Automated Agriculture (Video) 117

Posted by Roblimo
from the they-call-me-mister-green-genes dept.
Sam Bagot and Will Bratton operate Horto Domi (hortodomi.com), an agricultural project they describe as "beyond organic." They're working with small prefab greenhouses, adding sensors and Arduino-actuated controls, and even including an earthworm breeding area in most domes, because earthworms are good for the soil and can increase plant production. If you're the kind of person whose plants always seem to shrivel up and die, this may be a great way to garden. With watering and other functions automated, it looks like all you have to do is set your controls, plant what you want to grow, and wait for the "time to harvest" alarm to go off. Okay, it might not be that simple, but Sam and Will say their gardening method saves a lot of energy and time. It also looks like fun, besides being an easy way to grow your own 100% organic fruits and vegetables.

Timothy: I met up with Will Bratton and Sam Bagot between their homes in San Marcos, Texas and Sugar Land, Texas on the UT Austin campus.

Will and Sam are together creating what you might describe as an integrated garden environment called Horto Domi. Horto Domi sounds a bit like how it looks too; a small dome structure. But anyone can make a dome. What these two have added is a flexible, extensible control system that can both read inputs, like light levels or soil moisture, and respond with programmed responses. That could mean something as simple as turning on a sprinkler or more complex, like simulating daybreak with LEDs. It’s all based on Arduinos and open-source code. And they’d like other people to use and extend their ideas. Let’s have a listen.

Will Bratton: Horto Domi is Latin for “garden at home.” And the idea is you have a garden at home, like people used to, and you produce your own food, and food independence and all of those good things. So, we’ve created a micro environment that produces enough food for an individual in as healthy a conditions as possible, so that you get the most out of your food as possible. If it’s a good idea, and we hope that Horto Domi is a good idea, that’s all likely to change. So, Horto Domi is whatever the open community takes it.

I think you could potentially grow any season, any region, in any location. So, if you want to grow something that’s out of season or out of region for you, you can do that inside of your environment. As far as how far out of region, that’s going to depend on how much you change the modular coverings. For example, we’ve only used shade cloth and acrylic plastic. But, if you were, say, to use a UV bubble wrap, you could move much further north, and if you were to cover it completely and only rely on artificial lighting, then I think you could take it anywhere.

It’s a dome unit, that’s automated using sensors and different lights and valves and such. It’s approximately 6, 6.5 feet in diameter, decagonal shaped bed, and it’s about 30 square feet of gardening space with a 4 to 5 square foot earthworm bed in the center, and the earthworms increase production and quality.

Sam Bagot: Yeah. So, pretty much, the idea behind adding a microprocessor to it is that the open-source community can kind of morph it into whatever they want. Right now the base unit is the garden. It has some moisture sensors, temperature sensors that control lighting arrays. It can theoretically supplement light. Of course, there’s water valve, so it’s going to be supplementing and monitoring the watering situation. And that’s kind of the base model at the moment.

And so, I’m kind of hoping it can go and the open-source community can possibly add to the code, to the implementation of the microprocessor. There’s lots of different open-source micro processing solutions and different directions it can go. And basically, right now, it monitors the growing of the fruit, but I see it one day being able to hook up to anything. I mean, you could hook it up with the proper software into your twitter account, you could hook it up to your Facebook account, you could hook up a webcam that helps you watch by adding – Raspberry Pi is really powerful and it can do video processing. So, there is a lot of different directions that it can take.

And theoretically, you can always just plant some seeds and water them, but this kind of opens up the gateway into the technology community that we could really bring lots of the current technologies on the bleeding edge into the gardening situation. And above all, I think it’s an interesting mix because bringing the technology into the situation also brings in the tech community into a community that they normally don’t mix into. There’s the gardeners and then there’s the computer nerds. But this, when this gets going, this really allows computer nerds to have a vested interest in this gardening situation to be able to help out farmers.

And also one last thing, the technology allows with multiple domes or greenhouses with these micro controllers, theoretically you can get one person doing quite a bit more work than they could do going and turning valves on and off, or timers, or checking plants. It can theoretically, if you have it lined up right, you could have a couple of farmers managing an entire field. And then with that, you get into the realm of, it’s kind of rolling on its own and the farmers can concentrate more on some of the important things that the community cares about, like harvesting and cooking and all of these things. So, there is different benefits to the technology beyond just automating stuff.

Will Bratton: Can I say something about bringing those two communities together? So, much of the permaculture diehard organic community is wary of technology because technology has taken us to genetically modified petrochemicals and all these things that are adverse to. So, this combines the two, this is technology, open-source technology, and really intensive organics. And that’s something about the tech community too, whenever they think about where they want to take open-source tech, it goes back into this monocropping and more applications in petrochemicals.

So, we want to reunite the two, not have the permaculture community go where I would say is backwards, and not have the tech community keep going down that negative path. Try to readjust.

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Prefab Greenhouse + Ardunio Controls = Automated Agriculture (Video)

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  • by Samantha Wright (1324923) on Friday October 12, 2012 @01:44PM (#41633509) Homepage Journal
    ...one might even call it orthogonal to organic! Or not related to organic at all!

    I mean, the worms, sure, but arduinos? Automation does not make things magical, it just makes them work. (And if anything, doesn't that make the growing more artificial?)
    • by gstoddart (321705) on Friday October 12, 2012 @01:55PM (#41633625) Homepage

      Not really ... at the end of the day it's just a greenhouse with some fancy bits thrown in. My father's greenhouse has some temperature sensitive pneumatic (hydraulic?) arms which will open and close the roof to regulate the temperature.

      For purposes of food, it simply means no pesticides and other things. You're not actually going to eat the Arduinos one assumes.

      Organic doesn't mean luddite, it means cutting out the chemicals and other stuff.

      • That's my point exactly. This is no more or less organic than a greenhouse or garden without the fancy bits. I only mentioned automation being 'less' organic as an exercise in splitting semantic hairs.
        • by SomePgmr (2021234)

          Yeah, it's hobby gardening automation. You can do a whole lot now on virtually no budget, and that's cool.

          But yeah, "organic" is just a free buzzword here. I don't think many hobby gardeners were going to be using large amounts of dangerous pesticide in a 4' garden regardless of whether or not there's a microcontroller in there.

          • by jeffmeden (135043)

            Yeah, it's hobby gardening automation. You can do a whole lot now on virtually no budget, and that's cool.

            But yeah, "organic" is just a free buzzword here. I don't think many hobby gardeners were going to be using large amounts of dangerous pesticide in a 4' garden regardless of whether or not there's a microcontroller in there.

            Spoken like someone who has never had a 4' garden before... Bugs will ruin your day unless you are very careful; it's so much easier to just spray a little pesticide and let that be that. With a greenhouse that is relatively isolated, and good healthy plants inside, you can probably eliminate even that.

            • by h4rr4r (612664)

              I wish it was the easy. This year was fine, but last year nothing would stop the japanese beetles.

            • by SomePgmr (2021234)

              No, I'm not a serious gardener so I won't disagree with you, but we always had one when I was growing up and I don't think we ever used any pesticides.

              Maybe we were just lucky... I assumed that was perfectly normal for a small garden.

    • by neokushan (932374)

      It's not really any different to using a tractor to dig a hole instead of a spade. The same "ingredients" are going in, but the tedium and repetitive tasks are reduced or eliminated entirely.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    >> earthworm breeding area... ...complete with rotating bed, mirrored ceiling, and Barry White soundtrack.

  • by handy_vandal (606174) on Friday October 12, 2012 @01:53PM (#41633605) Homepage Journal

    In a future where all flora is extinct on Earth, an astronaut is given orders to destroy the last of Earth's plant life being kept in a greenhouse on board a spacecraft.

    Silent Running [imdb.com]

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Em Adespoton (792954)

      In a future where all flora is extinct on Earth, an astronaut is given orders to destroy the last of Earth's plant life being kept in a greenhouse on board a spacecraft.

      Silent Running [imdb.com]

      I have a "gut" instinct that as long as humans are alive (yes, if we find a way to leave our bodies behind this isn't true), flora will survive....

  • Good for small home projects but does not scale. Not sure if that is the objective with this, but I think farmers will stick with traditional farming
    • by Jeng (926980)

      Yes and pot growers have been doing this for decades.

      • by cod3r_ (2031620) on Friday October 12, 2012 @02:03PM (#41633693)
        come to think of it those 2 guys look like a couple of pot heads. Think I'm starting to understand their objective with this project.
        • come to think of it those 2 guys look like a couple of pot heads. Think I'm starting to understand their objective with this project.

          Hmm, when every suburb has tens of thousands of these little domes, the cops can't check 'em all!

          I have to say though that from watching the videos they strike me a lot more as eco-nerds than potheads. Way too industrious.

          • Hmm, when every suburb has tens of thousands of these little domes, the cops can't check 'em all! This. This why I'm afraid to have a greenhouse. Nazi Retard Commando Fuckwits barging into my home in the middle of the night, killing my pets, violating the sanctity of my home, abusing and humiliating me and mine.
    • Why wouldn’t this scale? This is a serious question. This is the first time I have heard of this project and I am trying to figure out the pros and cons. It’s got a Bucky Dome, so that is a huge plus in my book, but that is as far as I have gotten.

      • by tomhath (637240)
        You could build it bigger. But they will be the most expensive vegetables you've ever imagined.
    • Re:Wont scale (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) * <seebert42@gmail.com> on Friday October 12, 2012 @03:12PM (#41634357) Homepage Journal

      Don't scale it up, scale it DOWN. Get this to window ledge sized, add 50 million apartment dwellers replacing a part of their food budget, and you've just increased food security while decreasing the carbon emissions with traditional farming, while decreasing obesity and increasing fresh food consumption.

      Don't think mainframe replacement- think personal greenhouse.

      • by geekoid (135745)

        I'm not sure why you wold think int would decrease obesity.

        • by gstoddart (321705)

          I'm not sure why you wold think int would decrease obesity.

          Probably because you wouldn't be able to grow cheese burgers, but vegetables.

          Generally speaking, unless you're deep frying, slathering in butter or cheez whiz ... few people are going around saying vegetables cause obesity. In fact, usually quite the opposite.

  • by WillAdams (45638) on Friday October 12, 2012 @01:59PM (#41633661) Homepage

    (no, not for the Micronaut)

    Kind of begs the question --- how would homesteading look w/ 21st century technology? How much land does one need for a self-sufficient existence for a family of 4?

    • by cod3r_ (2031620)
      I don't think you'd need much, space so to speak. Though they do have quite a bit of stuff plugged in. Depending on the actual power requirements you may not be able to sustain yourself at all with a system like this.
      • by gstoddart (321705)

        Depending on the actual power requirements you may not be able to sustain yourself at all with a system like this.

        I've always wondered how much some of those power panels I see at farms and rural houses lately provide.

        Some of them look like they're about 30x15 feet or so, and mounted on swivels which track with the sun. A couple of smaller ones hooked direct to the greenhouse.

        I've got two little 1100mAh ones I use to charge phones and stuff. Though, I know we're a long way from being self sufficient with

    • by angelbar (1823238)
      Too modern! I can too image a future self-sufficient family of 4 but with only one kid. :)
    • by c0d3g33k (102699)

      How would homesteading look w/ 21st century technology? How much land does one need for a self-sufficient existence for a family of 4?

      Probably about as much land as a small-medium sized farm. In addition to growing enough food to feed yourself and the other 3 people year-round, you would need enough surplus to provide an income. You know, to pay for everything else needed to survive and thrive. Example of things you would still need to pay for: Additional food to provide a varied enough diet to ensure proper nutrition, health insurance, crop insurance, clothing, transportation, essential material goods (stove, refridgeration, heating/

      • by Jmc23 (2353706)
        You don't actually need much space to grow the necessary food. If you want to b wasteful and grow beef, then yes, you'll need lots of additional things. Solar cookers, solar ice makers, cold houses, etc... all remove most energy expenditures. Food self-sustainability is quite simple. Sustainability for non-sustainable lifestyles like the typical USian one, are well, not sustainable. Well, not easily at least. Permaculture food farms where you only sell value added products would be easiest to setup wi
      • by snadrus (930168)
        Thanks for the list. I'll try:
        - Varied diet --> Farmers market trades greatly reduce this cost
        - Insurances --> Yep
        - clothing --> Not much if you don't visit society much
        - heating/cooling --> learn to live with the land. Many energy-efficient tricks with 1-time costs
        - Electricity / Lighting --> Solar, Read in the daytime. 1-time-cost again
        - Medication --> $0 total for my family of 4
        - Taxes are low for farmers ( > 5 ac here)
        - Water --> Well (mostly 1-time-cost)
        - Communication
    • Define self sufficient? A couple of acres (less than 10) is sufficient to run a truck farm. 40 acres used to be sufficient (i.e. minimum level) for Kansas wheat farms. Of course at this level we are talking about subsistence living with few modern conveniences. As for modern? How do you pay for the modern tech – in particular the capital spending side? Even solar cells have a limited lifespan. At that point being “self-sufficient” goes out the door. Even homesteaders had to rely on other

      • by Jmc23 (2353706)
        The best bet is to reduce energy consumption and pay for it from the existing infrastructure when absolutely necessary.

        Things will have to be redesign to eliminate stupidities. For example, in hot weather, what is the point of cooling your refrigerator by heating your home? Or heating your home when you want to cook? Solar ovens built into south facing walls can provide heat or vent it when needed. Einstein fridges on the south or ice rooms on the north wall with solar ice generators.

        Why pay lots of mo

    • by efudddd (312615)
      I get a 70s vibe too, but slightly different. Automated plant growth and geometric domes? Silent Running. [wikipedia.org] Now if they can add Huey, Dewey and Louie, they've got a winner.
    • by drgould (24404) on Friday October 12, 2012 @02:51PM (#41634155)

      Like this [urbanhomestead.org].

      The Dervaes family of four produces 6000 lbs of organic food annually on 1/10 of an acre located just 15 minutes from downtown Los Angeles.

      • by c0d3g33k (102699)

        Interesting. Yet even their home page says "A journey towards self-sufficiency". Apparently complete self-sufficency is not as easy as all that. I'm not even sure it's all that desirable on a society-wide scale. Cohesively interdependent works better for me.

      • by Whorhay (1319089)

        Beat me to it, I was gonna post that link but you got there first. So instead I'll go with www.theurbanfarmingguys.com I'm particularly interested in the idea of Aquaponics. That is raising fish for protein and using the fish's waste and water to grow plants in a cyclic self sustaining system. I think the only major constant input in a system like that is the fish food, which you could grow yourself in the form of duckweed.

        The Dervaes family is successful for a couple reasons that a large part of the popula

    • by cpm99352 (939350) on Friday October 12, 2012 @03:35PM (#41634571)
      I'm in the Pacific Northwest (PNW), so my two main sources of information are these two books by Steve Solomon [amazon.com] and Carol Deppe [amazon.com]. Depending on your climate Elliot Coleman [amazon.com] has good advice. I don't know about other climates. I'm using organic practices, so my advice isn't useful for those going the conventional route.

      In the PNW the ground doesn't freeze, so some microorganisms aren't killed off like they are elsewhere. This means after gardening about three years in the same spot the ground becomes far less productive. So... best practice is to let the ground lie fallow for a year to starve out the bad microorganisms, which increases your land requirements.

      Replenishing the soil in terms of fertilizer can be challenging if one is going the self-sufficiency route.

      Raising meat requires add'l land, and coming up with self-sufficient animal food requires even more land. I'm raising poultry and find that in my climate ducks are the most self-sufficient, followed by geese. Goats are able to forage a bit. I do pigs, too, and while they do forage and consume all our scraps, they require external feed.

      We are simply not able to grow certain staples such as rice. We're gluten-free, so wheat is out for us, but anyone trying to be self-sufficient who consumes white flour is in for a hard time. If growing grain, do you count fuel in your self-sufficiency? If not, are you using oxen?

      Given our family's needs, I think three-four acres would do it (taking rotation into account), but we're not aiming for total self-sufficiency. This assumes shipping in animal feed. That said, I think fruit trees can be a significant source of food without requiring a bunch of input.

      Given the realities of property taxes I don't think self-sufficient farming is possible except in areas well away from population centers where land/taxes are dirt cheap. It also takes a lot of work. There's a big learning curve, too. If you're thinking about raising your own food, get started (even on a small scale). This isn't something you can pick up by reading a few books...
    • by geekoid (135745)

      4 acres, min.

  • I would love to watch the video, but it would require Flash. Being Slashdot, is it not possible at this point to load the videos in html5?
  • by Hatta (162192)

    Hydroponic Cannabis growers have been doing this for years. Automatic lighting systems, hydration, nutrients, ventilation, etc.

    • by Jeng (926980)

      I'm fairly certain I read a story about this type of set up in High Times over 18 years ago when I was in high school.

    • Meh, hydroponics suck. These guys are using soil and even enhancing it with earthworms, which leads to a better product that contains lesser concentrations of nutrients and other chemicals.
      • by Hatta (162192)

        I've never been able to detect a difference between indoor hydro and indoor organic herb. I expect people who claim to are falling for their own confirmation biases. Just like advocates of organic produce, people who believe in terroir, etc. People will swear up and down that they can taste a difference between two bottles of water filled from the same tap. If you slap an "organic" label on a bag of herb you'll see the same effect.

        • by Whorhay (1319089)

          I'm unimformed on the differences of the quality of the produce produced by the systems. But from my understanding one of the problems with purely hydroponic systems is that balancing the nutrients and byproducts in the water can be very challenging and that the system needs to be purged and started fresh from time to time. Also various plants have different nutrient requirements and getting them to grow productively together in a purely hydroponic system can be difficult if not impossible. A solution that

          • by Hatta (162192)

            But from my understanding one of the problems with purely hydroponic systems is that balancing the nutrients and byproducts in the water can be very challenging and that the system needs to be purged and started fresh from time to time.

            Nute balance can be monitored by sensors and automatically adjusted. Flushing the whole system needs to happen, but less often than you'd have to visit the site to prune. The upside to hydro is a faster growing time and more yield per plant than soil.

            A solution that people

            • by Jeng (926980)

              One thing I have seen growers do is to grow in shallow containers with potting soil, but still use hydro fertilizers while keeping a close eye on the PH.

              After each harvest the soil gets spread around the yard.

              • by Hatta (162192)

                That sounds like a worst of both worlds approach. If you go soil, might as well use earthworm castings that are full of probiotics. And fertilizers in soil tend to salt out becoming unavailable to the plants. But I haven't witnessed it so I don't know.

                • by Jeng (926980)

                  I don't know exactly what kind of soil honestly, I didn't ask that many questions.

            • by Whorhay (1319089)

              The Milwaukee group is the one that uses compost. I hadn't read up on it in awhile but they mix it with Coir, fiber from coconut husks, that they put in pots. The pots are placed in large trays where the water flows through pretty shallowly it would appear. The Coir wicks up the needed water. I imagine they might have some sediment build up but the system doesn't have a whole lot of small choke points that could get plugged up and their water flows seem to be pretty slow so solids should settle out pretty w

        • by Jmc23 (2353706)
          Maybe you weren't really trying organic? Organic just designates type of food, not type of growing system. Organic hydro can taste just as bad as inorganic hydro if you don't know what you're doing.

          Maybe you're just insensitive? Can you taste the difference between soil, hummusy, and hydro, sharp contrasty, regardless of organic/inorganic?

          Always be wary of assigning your sensory limits to other people, human sensitivities have large distributions. I once met a newly blind person who asked me to point ou

      • by geekoid (135745)

        hydroponics are superior. 99% of plant matter comes from CO2/Sun/Water, not the ground.

        In fact, you could grow a tree in a room of think mist.

    • It's a lot safer and saner to have a dedicated 120V timer switch for your lights than to wire in a, e.g. 5V DC - 120V AC relay so you can control your lights with a microcontroller.

      Also, ph and nutrient testing are generally done by hand unless you have a very large operation. A good pH probe costs $100, and then you have to take the time and effort to hook it up to a microcontroller. Then do that for each hydro system, because in a continuous op you'll have at least two of these -- probably three, for the

  • Never understood why you would need a separate breeding area. Won't they breed to the exact right amount once you introduce them into where you actually want to use them?

    • Night crawler type earthworms are best left in the ground, and left alone. But they are slow.

      If you want to process large amounts of organic matter, you use red worms, which need more organic matter than is normally in soil. Their output also need to be diluted because it's too strong for most plants.

      "Red Wigglers – The Cadillac of Worms"
      • So you are saying that red worms are unable to survive in normal healthy plant filled soil?

        but there exists worms that can, and also of benefit to gardeners they do not produce concentrated wastes that will harm most plants and instead slowly release normal healthy amounts of nutrients?

        • by Whorhay (1319089)

          I think the point is that red worms would exist more rarely in nature. But if you intend to do composting and want quick throughput so that you need less space for your compost pile, then the red worms are a better choice. And if you want throughput to be even higher you'll need to breed them.

          We're talking compost here, which is used as a fertilizer, you don't normally plant anything in a pot that only has high nutrient compost. When I was a kid we had chickens, so we we used chicken shit as fertilizer. We

  • The plans will no longer need us. Be warned--pretty soon plantaggeddon will occur!

    The Ferninator: Coming soon to a theatre near you.

  • TCO? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by blackfrancis75 (911664) on Friday October 12, 2012 @02:36PM (#41634015)
    I'm sure this kind of scheme would give the owner some warm fuzzy feelings, knowing that they did it themselves, and that in principle they're 'saving the planet' by growing without pesticides...
    But really, you'd have to voluntarily ignore the total financial AND environmental costs.
    How many veggies do you need to grow and eat before you break-even on the cost of the setup?
    How many to grow & eat before the reduced pesticide use makes up for the energy-costs and pollution associated with fabrication, distribution and eventual safe disposal of the hardware?

    I know that's not 'the' point, but it does need to be considered int eh context of the 'cool' factor
    • by Jeng (926980)

      There are a few crops that have a much higher value so the return on investment is higher.

      I know I'll be a growing two pounds a year if one of those crops ever became legal.

    • For carbon cost- two season's worth will replace the cost of using fossil fuel to ship food into the inner city for you to consume. It's not just the pesticides, though that's nice too, it's the distribution of production instead of the distribution of finished goods.

    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      Do you analyze all your hobbies that way?

      I don't. I do however enjoy them, and no store bought produce beats home grown. Cucumbers that were picked minutes ago beat the heck out of the soggy ones they have at the store.

  • Domo arigato, garden roboto.
  • by Okian Warrior (537106) on Friday October 12, 2012 @03:05PM (#41634283) Homepage Journal

    Slashdot, here's some feedback for making better videos.

    In comparison to other slashdot videos, this one's OK, and it could be a better. Without commenting on the content or participants or video production (which other people can do), here's some notes about presentation:

    Repeat until memorized:

    1. Audio is for talk
    2. Slides are for charts
    3. Video is for action

    Having a video of talking heads/talking people is the wrong way to present. Watching people talk is boring! Use the right technology in the right way for maximum interest.

    A short clip of people talking will establish the context and make a personal connection with the viewer. Then cutting to illustrative videos while they talk makes a stronger, clearer presentation of the information.

    (Also, briefly cut back to the people talking to reestablish context between subjects. Talking heads aren't forbidden, but using talking heads to present verbal information is bad form.)

    When the video finally cuts away from the talking heads, it doesn't track the speech! Talk about the dome size, type, materials, area, earthworms is dubbed over a video of the controller box. The audio doesn't match the video, and it makes no sense.

    Choose video clips which correspond to and illustrate the talk, this serves to present the information in two ways (video and audio) for better impact.

    What's the point of the picture-in-picture at the beginning? It's arty and establishes the context (ie - growing things), but context is established after 5 seconds or so. What's the point of PIP for 45 seconds? You're crippling the presentation for no purpose.

    The subject and content is pretty good. The people interviewed give a surprisingly good talk, given that this was probably off-the-cuff and they're not professional presenters. No problems there.

    The content was a little shallow - it's more of an advertizing brochure with no detail. I would have liked to hear more about the nuts-and-bolts of what they are doing: their controller box, how things connect, what micros/sensors/interfaces they use, how the dome is built, what materials to use, assembly, &c. I know it's in the link, but this is a web site for people interested in tech, and since tech is what will get people interested in their site, you should explore it.

    Overall the quality of video posts is improving. Keep up the good work, and keep on making it better.

  • This guy also has a cool setup with arduino controlled aquaponics..

    http://www.kijanigrows.com/ [kijanigrows.com]
    http://faircompanies.com/videos/view/internet-food-arduino-based-urban-aquaponics-in-oakland/ [faircompanies.com]

  • have been doing for decades?

    First this is too complicated BTW I own a hydroponic store. The all in one controllers have been on the market for years and years but no one wants them as you put all your eggs in one basket. The controller fails and your garden is done if you're not around to keep an eye on it. Here's one that's on the market now http://www.grozonecontrol.com/SCC1_en.html [grozonecontrol.com] There are other systems on the market that you can view through your phone and see the stats for your garden.

    Everything they

    • by geekoid (135745)

      ". The all in one controllers have been on the market for years and years but no one wants them as you put all your eggs in one basket. "
      get two.

      • Right so now the cost of your little garden goes up to $1000's which you might as well use to buy food at a farmers market.

  • no other controller could possible be used to automate a greenhouse?

  • I would just use a electricity timer for the supplemental light and a water timer for irrigation . agriculture also involves business, I doubt this is viable.
  • I've spent the last couple of years working on a system similar to this. I've designed a modular aquaponics/microponics system with a portable greenhouse, custom biofilter, gravity-fed drip irrigation and solar and geothermal heating, all based on UNIX principles: modularity, simplicity, standard interfaces, robustness, ease of repair and maintenance, extensibility, and of course automation. I haven't had time to document much so far, but I made a little introduction video you can see here [youtube.com].

    I use Arduinos

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