Raising garden bed — Opportunities and Challenges

This spring we decided to build a garden bed in our backyard and raise few plants. This single idea gave us opportunity to learn and solve wide range of engineering problems that we were confronted with and addressing each one gave us enormous satisfaction and also presented the next challenge to automate and improve the experience of raising the garden.

The first challenge to solve was building the frame for the garden bed. We got precut wood frames from Home Depot and assembled them using power tools (using it for first time). Then we transplanted some of the saplings and some of them died due to weather or under/over watering them. This led us to think of solving the next problem. How do we water the garden at consistent intervals based on reliable data and automate the whole process?

The plan was to prototype our automated watering system solution for single plant and based on the learning enhance the solution for the entire garden. The solution involved using moisture sensor checking soil moisture at regular intervals and with Arduino board, relays and submersible motors water the plant whenever the soil moisture falls below set threshold level. Here is the image of our working prototype that we built over the weekend.

This approach is fine for single pot plants but cannot be scaled for full-fledged garden bed. So how are we going to solve the next challenge and what are our next steps? Stay tuned and curious for the next post coming soon.