Project Eden

Update:

the project is finished and functional, alhough I still have to enable optocoupling in my relay to make it safer, and I would like to switch to LED panels with red instead of whites or make a panel myself.

Update 2:

Optocoupling is enabled!  I don’t have the money to upgrade my LED panels lighting my plants. Right now everything is growing and blossoming very well! Cacti and succulents are recovering and growing now that they finally get the care and conditions they need. I will upload pictures soon. Check out the Nursery for pictures of my flora, I will be making a time lapse clip of my plants growing!

 

 

 

 


As you can see in the nursery I’ve been growing plants enthousiastically for a while (I will try to elaborate on the species in more detail there). With limits imposed by cold seasons and other conditions such as lighting and temperature, I decided to build a habitat.

This habitat is a growing enclosure like a greenhouse, but rather than relying on sunlight and the greenhouse effect I will be creating regulated artificial biotopes. On one level there is an arid biotope and on a lower level a humid biotope, both heated to suit the preferences of most plants I choose to grow. Which include herbs, ethnobotanical interests and curiosities because of their unusual characteristics. Either in appearance or for their nutritional usefulness for example, but there are various reasons for my choices.

Both levels will be automated by an Arduino microcontroller, reading conditions from sensors continuously and controlling things like ventilation and temperature accordingly. I have yet to work out how I will want to influence humidity. Lighting is provided by LEDs which are cost-effective, don’t generate dangerous heat and are able to rather specifically radiate the wavelengths of light needed by the several chlorophylls in plants.
Blue wavelengths promote vegetative growth: stocky and bushy plants with thick stems and large green leaves rather than long and wispy ones. Red wavelengths are also important but play more of a role in flowering among other functions. I will probably resell some of the LED panels I ordered to make my own custom panels, with high quality LEDs instead of those usually implemented, and with a more complete spectrum available rather than the overly specialized blue or red ones sold for consumers.

There was an interesting TED talk on novelty on the future of farming, which inspired me even more to make something like this. Also some Arduino fans build their own automated units for growing a kitchen herb for example. Most likely others are doing something similar as this project, but I have a harder time finding info on those. It is a middle ground between the macro scale industrial application and the smaller Arduino projects.

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