What is a “Smart” Garden?

What do you have in mind when you think of a fully-automatic gardening system?

A fully-automatic garden would need to be able to operate much like a microwave oven or a vending machine that asks you to come back later.  A user interface where someone can input their selection and the process begins… plant seeds, provide sufficient water and nutrients, estimated time to harvest, processing…A few months later, the “oven” timer would alert the user that their plant is ready for harvest, or maybe go a step further and process the fruit for immediate consumption.  In the unexpected event that “something unexpected” happen, the manufacturer would have a clause stating they are not responsible for any failure, at most, there would be some sort of error notification followed by instructions on what is needed and how to proceed.

hydro-diagram-final

Smart Garden

A “smart” garden uses electronics for the purpose of making decisions based on defined parameters and provides a more connected environment.  

  • Smart in terms of balancing the system and sustainability.  How well can resources be better managed and used most efficiently?
  • Smart in terms of scalability and flexibility.  How well can the system scale to accommodate change?
  • Smart in terms of transparency of dependencies.  What is happening behind the scenes that could potentially be problematic later?  Rather than down-play potential problems, it’s important to understand why and how to prevent problems from occurring, even if that decreases the customer’s reliance on your support.
  • Smart in terms of self-reliance, teaching and educating people, as opposed to demanding dependency.
  • Smart in terms of evaluating whether we are improving the system or adding additional dependencies?

 

plant-needs-chart

Next up:  Starting a Smart Indoor Garden

What’s at stake?  Are you providing life support or inadvertently executing a death sentence?  Are you improving the system, or adding more dependencies?

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One thought on “What is a “Smart” Garden?

  1. Smart is in balancing the system. The constant problem in small indoor gardens is that everything is just going full blast all the time or being modulated manually day by day. The fresh air in changes temp and rh drastically and things tend to go out of whack when unsupervised. Optimizing is more a matter of central control. In order to stabilize a system, it may be best to turn certain things off altogether. That oscillating fan is an oft overlooked culprit in low rh that could simply be modulated better. If the environment isn’t altogether imbalanced, appliances will work against each other and waste energy. Why run a dehum or a/c when trying to suck out a full room volume of air every 5 min? So much better to replace less at a time or cycle one then the other. That graphic is pretty spot on with all the devices needed, and it’s not hard to run a more efficient environment once it’s under control.

    Liked by 1 person

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