In the past year, I have been working on building an Indoor Green House and I would like to share my design with everyone. If you love nature and care about environment, this will be a right product for you. Think about how many forests we destroyed to build to houses, factories and crop fields, this project won't able to rebuild what we lost. However, it will definitely educate our children to care about environment if they grow up with a greenhouse inside their house.
Step 1: Current Testing Green House: Daylight 9 Am to 11 Pm
I just moved some basil to this container a week ago. They got bugs all over their leaves from my first green house which isn't enclosed environment, so I cut the unhealthy leaves and branches and move them to new home.This new home is an enclosed green house to prevent bug, other insects and unwanted plants, you can see from my intro picture, I have no idea where those mushrooms come from. I just bought some Drosera Burmannii and Venus Fly Trap online, when they are here in the next two weeks. I will grow them in the green house to control the bugs, hopefully this will work.
Step 2: Chose Your Lighting System
Depend on the types of plants you want to grow, you need a specific type:
Flowers: Red light (Red spectrum LED)
Herbs and vegetable:Blue light (Blue Spectrum LED )
General purpose: White light (full spectrum LED or Flood Light Bulb)
Link for the flood light bulb: http://www.homedepot.com/p/Philips-75-Watt-Agro-P...
Link for white LED: http://www.ebay.com/itm/225-LED-3300LM-Grow-Light...
I tested with a Blue and White LED for my green house, the result was astonishing. The plants grow much faster and taller than their size in an outdoor garden. My basil were about 20 cm when grow them outdoor and reach 30 cm indoor. I think the reason for this is because of blue light spectrum and the plants needed to grow bigger to catch more light, they produced much bigger leaves, the trunk and branches also turned green instead of brown color. Since I have white spectrum, my basil also produced flower on the top which is quite nice to see.
Current testing LED: http://www.ebay.com/itm/225UFO-LED-Blubs-Hydropon...
In the picture, they look kind of dark but their actual brightness is really high, you wont able to look at them directly.
Step 3: Chose the Right Soil
Potting soil is what you need to buy. The soil need to be brand new from the bag so they don't contain any disease or harmful insects. The potting soil will able to hold much more water than the normal one. When I start my first green house, I put my plants which come with normal soil into my container. The water is stuck in the bottom and the top is dry out. This killed all my plants after 3 weeks, the water in the bottom smell badly too. Making holes in the bottom to take out excess water will not help, we need the soil to be moist and doesn't need to water every day. Using the potting soil, I only water my plant once every month. Later step will explain how this can be achieved.
Step 4: Container
As you can see in my first design, I encountered many problems. First of all, the open contain provide free meal for insects and home for many unwanted plants. Secondly, the plant grew too high and touched my led light, although the LED didn't produce a high amount of heat, it burned my leaves. I have to keep water my plant every couple day although the potting soil did a nice job on keeping the water stay. All of this problems lead me to my second designed which is an enclosed environment for my plant.
My current design consist of 2 containers:
First requirement: The top one need to be slightly smaller than the bottom one.
This will help it to stay inside of the bottom container. When the water vapor transpired from plant leaves, they will condense on the side of contain and fall down. If the top one is bigger than the bottom, water will leak out of your system. Two container can be equal but the top need to be pushed inside the bottom one.
Second requirement: The container need to have a clear or transparent bottom.
Simple reason for this the LED light will sit on the bottom of the top container, the bottom of the top contain will provide a layer between the plant and the LED heat.
Once thing I didn't think of but worked quite well with this design: the water vapor produced from the plants are a lot, you can see water on the side all the time. I was worry that this will prevent the amount of light that will come though the bottom of top container. However, magic happened, heat produced from the LED prevent the water vapor form condensing on the bottom, right below the LED.
Step 5: Controller: Nice to Have But You Do Not Need This
The controller is used to turn on off the LED automatically.Therefore, in order to reduce the cost, you can turn the LED on and off manually.
I am currently using Raspberry Pi as my controller, however, Arduino or PIC controller will work perfectly.
The system consist of 4 main components:
2/ LED Driver: 48 V 3 AMP (for "6" 20cmx20cm LED Panels ) ( won't be needed since every LED come with their own driver, however, I want to try a stable and good power source for my lighting system))
3/ 8 Relay Module but 1 relay Module will work just fine
4/ Real Time Clock, Raspberry Pi can pull the time from internet so this isn't needed in my system
I will start uploading pictures and codes for different controllers in the next couple weeks.