If you enjoy working in the garden and you want to use technology to automate some tasks and become more cost effective & efficient then why not try these IoT garden automation projects?
We can use cheap electronic components and free, open-source or cheap software applications to build our very own “Internet of Things” projects at home.
1. IoT Chicken Coop Automation
Looking after your own chickens can provide a huge benefit to your garden as well as supplying you with regular food.
But we don’t always have the time to spend with them as we would like to, nor can we be around for them 24/7.
Installing some IoT automation projects in this situation could certainly benefit both us and the chickens alike.
There’s so many possibilities with an IoT automated chicken coop but here’s my top list of projects that would be well worth checking out:
- Egg incubator
- Automatic door open and close
- Feeder and drinking water dispenser
- Remote notifications of food/water shortage
- Predator perimeter alarm
2. Smart Irrigation System
An irrigation system supplies a constant water drip to your plants.
But what if we wanted to make this drip a little smarter?
By constructing a smart automated drip system and a central control unit we can include multiple sensors that can control the drip rate.
We can add sensors such as:
- Light sensor to detect the sun
- Rain sensor
- Temperature sensor
So what are the benefits to an IoT automated irrigation system?
- Save water
- Reduce fungus growth
A system like this can send you notifications via the phone network and the internet directly to your phone or we can use a central server for storage of data.
3. Automated Plant Watering System
An automated plant watering system is similar to the irrigation system previously mentioned.
However, this system would be a better choice for indoor plants.
It’s possible to stick some moisture sensors in to the soil and our automated plant watering system can detect weather our plants are drying up and in turn will water them when needed.
I’ve seen so many different automated plant watering methods on the internet and some would work better than others.
I’ve been experimenting with some of these projects and I am yet to find a practical method that suits me best.
When I find a good solution I will make a post on this website.
4. Smart Compost Monitor/Regulator System
Creating your own compost bin is a must-have in any garden if possible.
Not only will it reduce house-hold waste but it will create the perfect soil for your plants to grow in.
By using an electronic system we can reduce the need for human interaction, regulate the bin and create ideal conditions for compost by allowing microbes to multiply and thrive in.
So how can we use IoT/Automation to monitor and automate our compost bin?
A composting bin needs some key ingredients such as oxygen and moisture for it to break down our waste.
An automated system would benefit us if it can help regulate the moisture in the compost and keep it damp as we don’t want it to be either too dry or saturated in water.
Rotating the compost bin twice per month will also help the waste break down quicker.
A tumbler bin system can be used in this situation where we can program it to auto-rotate.
This will reduce human interaction and help with aeration.
Here is an example of an automated composting system using the tumbler method and a Raspberry Pi (single board computer) over at Hackaday.io
5. IoT Automated Nursery System
To give your plants the best start in life then your going to need to give them what they need.
Plants that don’t get enough light in it’s early stages will grow leggy and so grow lights would be the best option here.
But don’t forget to turn out the lights at night!
Other than light then our plants need wind that will strengthen their stems and so a DC powered fan could be used.
We will also need to give our plants the right amount of water, heat and humidity.
All of these conditions that need meeting would make an excellent IoT garden automation nursery system.
All of the data that’s collected from the nursery can be sent to you remotely.
You could present this data using graphs and charts that will help you understand how your system is working.
Not forgetting that our plants will thrive in ideal conditions too.
6. Hydroponics Automation
As with the automated plant watering systems, automated hydroponics systems can come in many different setups.
If you don’t already know what hydroponics is then I’ll give a quick explanation here:
Instead of using soil to grow plants, we use water mixed with a liquid fertiliser that sits below the plants roots.
The roots will eventually find the liquid and drink from it.
Hydroponics systems don’t need much human interaction to begin with but they do require regular maintenance.
We need to pay close attention to the amount of fertiliser liquid that’s in the system and also monitor PH acidity levels.
We don’t want to over-feed our crop but at the same time we need the correct amount of hydroponic nutrients.
Adding too much liquid fertiliser or not having enough can kill our plants and so why not incorporate an IoT/Automation project to help you.
7. Greenhouse Humidity & Temperature Regulator
Many crops need adequate humidity levels in order for them to grow effectively.
By using IoT and automation we can effectively regulate the humidity in a greenhouse and doing this can hugely increase our crops growth.
Basic electronic sensor components such as humidity and temperature sensors are cheap and easy to come by.
Using these sensors with a micro-controller board such as Arduino or a NodeMCU for example we can control the humidity levels.
Various output components can be used to help control humidity such as:
- A water mister
- Heating & cooling elements such as fans
Different crops will require different humidity levels and so you would need to know your plants requirements to maintain each crop successfully.
Humidity levels can be adjusted by adjusting the temperature of the environment.
As the atmosphere starts to warm up it will generally become more humid.
We may need to reduce humidity and so reducing the overall temperature may be needed.
Just make sure your plants can accommodate for a cooler climate here.
A greenhouse will usually require a dehumidifier rather than a humidifier as the crops themselves will be releasing water vapour into the atmosphere.
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Lighting can also affect humidity levels in a greenhouse environment.
When plants are exposed to light they will release water vapour as part of photosynthesis.
Controlling greenhouse lighting may be a great automation feature in this setup because turning on lights at night time can stress plants out.
8. Build Your Own IoT Weather Station
Why build a weather station?
Doing any kind of out door activity usually relies on current weather conditions.
But weather changes from one moment to the next and it’s not always practical to rely on weather stations from TV, radio or news networks for example.
Weather can also differ from one place to the next, even if we’re talking just a few hundred meters away.
Having your very own weather station provides you will real-time data that can be analysed to predict whats coming.
We can also use this data to automate garden activities such as watering plants.
A home-built weather station can be achieved with little cost with regards to money.
However it may cost you a little time to construct the project.
Don’t let this discourage you as this will be a fun project and provide many practical uses.
We can install all kinds of sensors such as:
- Temperature sensors
- Humidity sensors
- Air pressure sensor (barometer)
- Rain sensors
- Light sensors
- And we can also log data for wind speed and direction.
This project can be powered by a solar panel and so it can be constructed completely off-grid so no need to worry about power cables.
Data can be sent through the mobile phone network too.
How about making it more complex by running learning algorithms that can use the data to give more accurate weather predictions where you live.
To get started building a simple weather station today then check out the following YouTube video provided by Explaining Computers:
9. Train Wild Birds To Trade Litter For Food
How about this for an IoT garden automation project idea?!
This clever project maker has built a system using Raspberry Pi and Arduino to feed wild birds as they trade garden litter!
Hans Forsberg describes how he trained magpies to collect discarded bottle tops from his garden and place them in the trash chute.
As you can see from the video, the birds wait eagerly for food to be delivered to them via the pipe system after dropping the litter down into the hole.
More information on this project and how you can build it at home can be found at Hackster.io
I can guarantee that once you start feeling the benefits of IoT in the garden you will have so much fun building these projects at home.
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