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Garden Monitor update

I’m back onto my garden project! This is exciting. I made some good progress last year, but never got it all done. It was a crazy spring and summer and the whole thing just blinked by. Anyway, I decided to make a small scale, indoor version for testing and refining before subjecting it to the elements this coming spring. Here’s what I’ve got.

I’m reading, soil moisture, air temperature and light. Using this with my indoor garden those values should stay pretty constant, but it’s still going to be fun to watch. I learned a TON last year during this project and have incorporated many of those lessons into the latest version. Two BIG lessons were, electrolysis kills plants, and I need to learn how get my Arduino to talk directly to a MySQL database.

The electrolysis issue was a real forehead smacker. I’m using these soil moisture sensors from DFRobot , which I need to do a write up on. They work well. Except for the fact that 5V into wet soil through copper = poison for plants, AND = corroding your sensors to the point they stop working in as little as 3 weeks. My solution was to only power/read the sensors about once every hour. The read process takes just a couple of milliseconds so that’s not enough time to ruin or kill anything. That’s still way more often then I need to, but it’s proven to make all the difference in the world.

Here’s a video of the moisture sensor reading periodically.

The MySQL thing? Yeah, still working on that one. I’ll post what I come up with once I get that resolved. What I had been doing, is pushing the sensor data to a webpage served up on the Arduino. Then I had a Linux web server, looking at that page, scraping the data and populating a database, then drawing graphs and whatnot with that data. That part seemed to work ok. It was having the Arduino read the data back in order to take action based on the data that was the problem. Switching the Arduino from web server to web client seemed to cause the whole thing to lock up and made a mess out of the data. I’m thinking, if I can post the data right to database without making the Arduino a web server that would keep the whole thing in client mode which seems to work pretty well. Anyway, there are ton of options there and the only restrictions are my skills. So, THAT will be resolved soon I hope.

There you have it, THAT’S the update. I’ll be posting more photos, code and whatnot as I progress further.

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