Gardening can be quite rewarding, but it can also take up a quite a bit of time. There is software out there that can make it easier to monitor your garden, but if your plot is larger than just a couple of plants, these can't always help. Fortunately, Invest Geek developed the Arduino Automated Nursery to help give your plants the best start in life.
The InvestGeek team used a special Arduino board just right for the project, called Sproutboard. The board monitors the environment around your plants, and it can notify you if something is wrong. It can also switch lights and fans on or off.
To make the ideal setup for your nursery, you'll need good storage shelving, a shop light (attached to each shelf), and a grow tent (from climate control)--you can purchase all this stuff from a home improvement store. Once fitted together, you can add the Sproutboard to get monitoring.
The Sproutboard connects to several sensors that help it track the temperature and humidity inside the setup, and it also attaches to a PowerSwitch Tail (which allows the microcontroller to flip on the lights and fan). Wire the board up to your computer and you're ready to go!
This project costs around $150 to make and you only need basic soldering skills to put it together, so it's worth a shot. It's only for a shelving unit in your home, but this could probably be implemented in a bigger space, like a greenhouse. That way you could nurture not just your young plants, but also those closer to full bloom.
Check out the full instructions, with explanatory photos, on the project's page.
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This story, "Arduino helps monitor your plants, nurtures your precious saplings" was originally published by PCWorld.