My personal rule for my apartment is: Don’t bring any living thing in except humans unless you want it to die. I just don’t have time to keep up with the care taking of plants and animals! So if you’re like me but still want a piece of nature in your home, perhaps you can build yourself this Arduino-powered self-watering plant, set it, and forget it.
Available via Instructables by Randy Sarafan, the self-watering plant tutorial requires you to have some basic mechanical skills to build an electronic pump which will feed your plant in your honor. There are several steps of wire attachment and fastening bits and pieces inside one power box, but each move is intuitive and pretty simple.
Lucky for you, this is the hardest part. If you were worried about programming the open-source computer board Arduino, the Instructables provides you with the exact code so you don’t have to actually figure out the algorithm. The sensors included as part of the tutorial will recognize will the soil is dry, and decide to water the plant based on that detection. At the very most, you may need to adjust the timing between watering depending on your plant and soil of choice to ensure routine thirst quenching.
With that, a battery-powered homemade device that only waters your plant as need is born. The watering could be anywhere between once a day or once every few hours at a few seconds or a minute of pump each time, and all you have left to do is remembering to refill the water reservoir. This is a great project full of photo guidelines that you can do alone or with kids to help teach them the wonders of computer programming.
The best part of DIY projects is the ability to play with the idea and adjusting it to fit what you need. For example, you might build a larger power base to water several plants at once, or make a bigger one overall for larger plants. Your precious plants will be happy to know you will no longer abandon them and instead, replace the responsibility with a robot babysitter. Sounds a bit cruel and lazy? Hey, at least they won’t be dead.
Watch the video below to see the Arduino self-watering plant in action.
- Meet the MIT scientist who’s growing semi-sentient cyborg houseplants
- The best robot kits for kids
- Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: heat-powered watches, phone cases with reflexes
- With Personal Food Computers, nerd farmers are finding the best way to grow
- How to make GIFs with Photoshop (or these free alternatives)