(The original Chinese version of this article is written by Chih-Yen Liu and published on MakerPRO)
The rise of “Lohas” trend has helped to develop communities of urban farmers across the world, and in its early days, these urban farmers usually grow plants on their balconies or in their backyards. Gradually, these urban farmers also start to grow plants at home or even on their office desks. And the fun part of it? They can enjoy the satisfaction of growing and harvesting vegetation in a very small space, while also bringing greenness and the healing effect to their lives.
However, many factors will affect the quality of plants, from the species of vegetation, temperature, to humidity and sunlight. Farmers need to rely on the mercy of climate in the past, but with the emergence of smart greenhouse that can collect information about environment, these uncontrollable factors are no longer problems.
With the growth of the maker movement, there are now DIY smart desktop greenhouse, which only requires a small space to grow plants under the same condition of large-scale greenhouse.
What are the features of smart desktop greenhouse
1. Break through the spacial and budget limitation
Think about it, how big should a space be for a greenhouse? If a greenhouse is not big enough, then the expense on automated control system will often be too high for normal people that they can never own their own smart greenhouses. As a result, a smart desktop greenhouse will be the best solution for them since it only shrinks the scale of the greenhouse without requiring owners to spend too much money on implementing automated control systems.
2. Keep and analyze data through IoT
For those who are not skillful enough to take care of plants, desktop greenhouse is where they choose to keep their plants. Once the plants are in the greenhouse, the urban farmers don’t need to do much extra work until they can harvest the plants from the greenhouse. However, for makers that want to observe the growing process, normal desktop greenhouses can’t satisfy their needs. As a result, some experimental applications begin to emerge.
These applications have included the control system that the experimental greenhouse needs, so makers can customize the setting base on their requirements. The system will carefully record the whole experimental process, and makers’ questions can also be answered through these data.
How to build yourself a smart desktop greenhouse?
1. the Greenhouse
You can buy the plastic greenhouse from IKEA, or use iron bars and PVC canvas to build yourself a larger desktop greenhouse.
2. Light source
You can choose LED lights or other specific light sources that are more suitable for your plants.
3. Air-conditioning facility
You can add fans, heating lines, heating lines, remote-controlled air-conditioners or dehumidifiers to your greenhouse.
4. Watering and irrigation system
You can add a small indoor water pump or low pressure water atomizing nozzle to your greenhouse. For automatic irrigation facilities, please make sure that you have added anti-leakage devices to the greenhouse.
5. Electrical control system
Many users build the electrical control system with Arduino plus relays or Raspberry Pi plus relays.
Many devices, including thermometers and hygrometers, in smart greenhouses require sensors, so you will need to prepare them.