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Community Gardening week

posted May 20, 2015, 4:56 PM by Tiberius Brastaviceanu   [ updated Aug 11, 2015, 6:58 PM ]
Open source hardware meets permaculture practices

Video from the event

SENSORICA and P3Permaculture organized the eCommunity Gardening week long event

During this event we designed, prototyped and installed open source hardware systems for remote environmental monitoring and automated irrigation, in compliance with urban organic food growing. We also discussed and educated ourselves about different issues related to agriculture. 

Pictures from the event


 April     24 

SENSORICA preparation day. Meetup
 April/May27 28 29 30 

Launch day
press release
 May 4

iPot and ECG tiny Prototyping

iPot doc

ECG Tiny doc

From 10am to late

Window Farms
P3Premaculture and SENSORICA
open doc

From 10am to late

Indoor vegetable farm

Ilian's project

from 6pm to midnight

Garden sensors and control systems installation
SENSORICA, P3Permaculture and CS-Fait

Important information

Date3th to 9th May, 2015
Location: open in Google maps
Who can participate: anyone!
How to subscribe: fill the form below

Design workshop
Electronics Prototyping
3D design and 3D printing
Planting and installation

 Related projects

eCommunity Garden 
Optical soil moisture sensor
Metal structures fabrication

Construction of the site in August 2013 by Ateliers Barda


NOTE: You can also build your own prototype! 

Rechargable ECG Tiny - Open coordination doc

This version came out of this meeting. Announced by John here

A prototype circuit board of the ECG tiny which is compact enough to sit on the window sill monitoring a small pot plant, or even hang on the side of a pot. It measures soil moisture and turns on a blue LED when the soil moisture gets below the threshold. While it's a very basic system it could be quite useful in many situations just as an indicator. Plus there are lots of things that can be added or changed such as:

- a potentiometer to change the threshold

- up to 4 LEDs - the drier it is the more turn on

- 2 soil moisture sensors each with a corresponding LED

It could also control an irrigation system but the irrigation would need its own 12v battery (or to find a lower power pump/valve). The threshold can be changed in the code and uploaded using a USBasp programmer via the ICSP header (the 6 pins at the top). But the sensitivity can also be altered by changing the depth of the soil moisture probe.

See also this Instructible.

NOTE: this is a SENSORICA project. by contributing to it you get equity

 iPot - Open coordination doc

This is a magic flower pot that you don't even need to water. Hang it somewhere and it will always stay green. 

The idea is to fit it with a soil moisture sensor, light sensor, temperature and air humidity sensor, LED light at various wavelengths, nutrient cartridge, water generator (using a peltier cooler to condense water from the air), and temperature control. We are also looking to add a PH and nutrients sensors. The long-term goal is to have an autonomous plant system that can take care of indoor plants, which can also include edibles. The settings for the control system (taking care of nutrients, light, watering and temperature control) can be set, uploaded and downloaded wirelessly. It will be possible to monitor these parameters on the web or on mobile devices. The data acquisition and sharing is currently under development, and will be incorporated in later designs.

NOTE: this is a SENSORICA project. by contributing to it you get equity
  Optical soil moisture sensor - open coordination doc see project

A new type of soil moisture sensor, more reliable. 

Traditionally, resistivity or capacitance are used to measure soil moisture. Open source moisture sensors that everyone uses with Arduinos are based on electrical resistance measurements. First, they are known to rust very fast. Second, conductivity in soils is very sensitive to ionic concentrations, or amount of salts for example. The goal of this project is to explore optical methods to measure moisture in soils.

NOTE: this is a SENSORICA project. by contributing to it you get equity
   Automated urban garden system - open coordination document

A fully automated garden monitoring and self watering system for your backyard garden

Montreal has a lot of back alleys, as you can see HERE. People make small gardens in the back of their house.

This system takes data from different types of sensors (moisture, temperature, soil ph, sunlight, etc.), makes decisions to water the plants, and to add nutrients to the water.

Moreover, the system can also produce open environmental data for everyone to use in different ways (ex. mapping of environmental conditions). We can think about giving the user the ability to turn ON and OFF the public sharing of the data.

NOTE: this is a SENSORICA project. by contributing to it you get equity


Other projects

 Window Farming - Open coordination doc

Design and and prototype a functional window garden.  

We'll get our inspiration from http://www.windowfarms.com/ 
 Monitoring system for composting

Design and and prototype a monitoring system for your compost bin. This will keep the moisture and the temperature at optimal levels.  

We'll remix some of our prototypes for this.

Some other cool stuff

John made an LED bar graph using a 74hc shift register. With 3 arduino pins it can control 8 LEDs. For some eCG systems it could be useful to have this displaying things like soil moisture, light, temperature, etc. It's really cheap to do. The shift register costs less than $3 for 20pcs and the LEDs and resistors are only a few cents each. It's also possible to use more compact LED bar graphs like this oneThose might be more suitable then individual LEDs because they take up less space and look a bit more polished. The only downside is they have 10 LEDs so either another shift register is needed, or just 2 more arduino pins. But that's a fairly minor, and easily resolved issue. It could be good to have these on the side of the iPot. I would probably have a button so people can turn them on and off, so they're not lit up all the time if people don't want them on. But it can flash or turn itself on when the soil moisture level is dangerously low for example. The shift registers can be chained together for multiple graphs, or for longer graphs.

3D printing

We used SENSORICA's new 5 heads (5 colors and/or materials) FDM 3D printer for the mechanical parts.