The Open Source Hydroponic Garden v.2014
A new generation of urban homesteaders have been seeking out new ways to grow their own fresh berries, fruits and vegetables without having access to a yard, warm weather or even a window! Developed by NASA as a means for providing food to a zero-gravity space colony, advanced horticultural techniques known as hydroponics, aquaponics, aeroponics etc... have gradually made their way out of the laboratory. Only the journey has yet to really make it into the living room. (1) Enter the Makers! The growth of low-cost, high performance platforms like Arduino and Raspberry Pi, coupled with mass collaboration techniques like the"DIY-RnD" method used to develop our.windowfarms.org have transformed what were once expensive, laboratory-bound technologies into low-cost, simple projects in the living room. Its little wonder then that the world of Open Source Hardware and Indoor Gardening would cross paths relatively frequently. A simple search for "Arduino Hydroponics" turns up a wealth of material dating back to 2010-2011 (an eternity in the tech sector). While the capabilities of the DIY tech sector have grown tremendously in the past year alone, the world of "Ardu-Ponics" appears to be stuck in 2011.
Drawing inspiration from projects like Infragram and the Thermal Visualight The goal of this project is to examine recent innovations in both the DIY tech and Indoor Gardening communities and incorporate them into a working hydroponic control unit that could easily fit into a small apartment. Innovations in the following categories will be examined-
- pH -LeoPhi USB Enabled pH sensor based on Arduino Leonardo
- eC -LeoeCUSB Enabled Electrical Conductivity sensor based on Arduino Leonardo
- IR Photosynthesis. Potential for using Infrared-Enabled Webcam to monitor indoor plant health as examined in this research note
- Water Flow
(1) Of course there are some notable exceptions... Until recently of course, "hydroponics" would often be associated with a clandestine (though well-financed) subculture of cannabis growers. Its possible however, that such an association has served to limit the true potential of indoor gardening as growers had little incentive to share information, while an excess of cash gave little incentive for equipment suppliers to develop small-scale, affordable products.
_*Note-The research in this wiki is an outgrowth of this earlier research note where we first explored the concept of using Infrared Imagery processed through Infragram as a means of monitoring indoor plant growth. There is also a is a companion wiki at this post on FarmHack.net. _