Presentation of the eCommunity Garden at Genies

posted Oct 7, 2014, 5:50 PM by Tiberius Brastaviceanu   [ updated Nov 1, 2014, 2:12 AM ]
On Friday October 10th Tibi presented the eCommunity Garden (previously called Garden Manager) and the Piezo buzzer pump at Genies du Nouveau Monde in Drummondville, Quebec, Canada. Drummondville is between Montreal and Quebec city, in a flat farming area along the Saint Laurent river. We had the chance to speak to local farmers and people who were in contact with farming operations. 


Features (in the photo):

- Pitcher plant - The plant being monitored by the Garden Manager system.

- Garden Manager control system - Monitors soil moisture, temperature, humidity, light levels, and water flow, saving the data to a micro SD card and transmitting it to the Raspberry Pi.

- Indicator LEDs
  - Green led indicates that the system is running.
  - Blue LED indicates that the soil moisture is getting low (which is when the irrigation system is turned on).
  - Red LED indicates an error (such as the micro SD card not being inserted).

- Raspberry Pi web server - Hosts the GardenManager web application which shows the system data as graphs, and broadcasts it on the connected network (which can include the world wide web).

- WiFi access point - The Raspberry Pi is configured to be a WiFi access point so anyone can log in via their phone, tablet, or laptop to view the web application and the data from the system. This makes the system completely independent of all other networks.

- 12v 7ah SLA battery - Powers the Raspberry Pi web server, which in turn powers the Garden Manager control system.

- Small display for the Raspberry Pi - The display currently shows the output of the web server and the Garden Manager web application. This can also show the web
application and the graphs.

- LED volt meter - Roughly indicates the battery level. This will be replaced with a proper charging manager.

Not Shown:

Some parts of the completed system weren't included in the photo (primarily due to lack of space near the network router).
Preliminary tests show these features do appear to be working, although much more testing is needed.

- Water flow meter - Measures the amount of water being provided to the plant.

- The irrigation circuit - The circuit which switches 12v irrigation devices to water the plant.

- 12v solenoid water valve - This controls water flow to the plant (and can be switched for a 12v pump).

- Water container - Holds the water for irrigation.

- Pipes - Taking water from the container, through the water valve, to the plant.

Possible Variations:

This system can be customized in many ways such as:

- Remove the Raspberry Pi to have the control system run on its own (with or without the irrigation system).

- Remove all features except the soil moisture sensor and LEDs (with or without the irrigation system) for a simple soil moisture monitoring system.

- Leave out the irrigation system and simply use it as a monitoring system. This is ideal for gardens where you prefer not to irrigate regularly, or where you want to manually irrigate.

- The possibilities are endless...

- Possible product versions document (draft):


- Add a charging manager to the battery to protect from over charging and over discharging, as well as to regulate the charging of the battery from various sources.

- Set up a solar panel to charge the battery (through the charging manager)

- Merge the best feature's of this system with the best features of Cesar's prototype (such as LCD screen for the control system).

- Create a simplified, smaller, cheaper, lower power version focused on monitoring soil moisture and irrigation and without any other unnecessary features.

The Piezo pump


Example of data streamed over the Internet from the Garden Manager. 

Note: This screenshot isn't yet displaying any data from the flow meter because the irrigation system isn't currently connected.