Gardening Automation for Smart Home

dropRecently we have implemented an unusual form of automation in one of our customer’s place. Most customers would like to automate their lightings, air-conditioning and curtains while we were asked to schedule the watering of their plants! The owner are frequent travellers who like their plants watered even when they are not at home. So we took up the challenge and worked together with the owner to come up with a plant watering system.

Personnally, I’ve always liked having plants in the house, minus the need to water them. In the process of putting together a system, we learnt a few important about watering of plants! Most of us (amatuer gardeners) would water our plants at different (not so precise) timing and would simply sprinkle water the leaves, pour waters on the soil. Actually the best way to water plants is as follows:

  • Focus on the root zone. Remember that it’s the roots that need access to water, not the leaves. Wetting the foliage is a waste of water and can promote the spread of disease.
  • Water only when needed. Automatic timersare especially useful; just make sure to watch the weather, and reduce frequency when rainfall is abundant. Too much water can be just as damaging to plants as too little.
  • Water in the morning. If you do get moisture on the leaves, this gives them time to dry out. It’s much more difficult for plant diseases to get a foothold when the foliage is dry.
  • Use the right tool. For efficient watering at the root zone, use a soaker hose or an even more precise drip irrigation system instead of a sprinkler.

With the above pointers in mind, an automated watering (dripping) system at specific timing would be perfect for watering plants.

The solution is actually quite simple once you have the parts. We installed a controller module near the balcony to control an electronic water valves in the balcony. This electronic water valve is in turn, connected to the distribution tubes which are fitted with drippers instead of sprinklers as shown:

Watering System 1

Z-Wave control module near balcony

Watering System 2

Electronic water valve

Watering System 4

Distribution system connected to the valve

Watering System 5

Each pot of plants are fitted with drippers

With the setup above, the plants are dripped at the roots (not sprinkled or drowned) every day at a specific time. The owner reported that their plants are “happier” and healthier with the precise dripping schedule. Furthermore, they can still choose to water their plants remotely even if they are on business and holiday trips. Happy dripping everyday!

Living Innovations Team

Source : Automate Asia

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