I really love plants and gardening. I enjoy taking a tiny seed and watching them grow in time. That being said, plants don't really like me. For me the problem is remembering to water them on time. Needless to say I've killed many a house plant because of my carelessness.
Having a new fond interest in Arduino and automation I did a little research into solving this problem. I discovered a great deal of information on automated watering systems and adapted that for my own needs. I present to you the fruits of my findings and a truly enjoyable project, the Lazy Man's Automatic Plant Watering Robot! As the name suggests it takes the hard labor involved in remembering to water your plants away from you. House plants everywhere will rejoice, and you won't have to replace your spouse's (or significant someones) beloved plant whom they've named "Sarah" because you killed it...Let's get started!
Step 1: Parts
Here's what I used to make the magic happen:
Arduino Uno or one of it's variants
Step 2: Arduino Sketch
Upload the attached sketch to your arduino. It measures the level of humidity in the soil surrounding your plants. If that level drops below a specified threshold it turns on the water pump delivering just the right amount of water while you're on vacation, crushing in frolf, or otherwise engaged in other activities.
Step 3: Wiring and Final Adjustments
Once the arduino is loaded with the program it's time to wire it all up. Follow the diagram and wire everything up accordingly. Do not plug the arduino in to power at this point. Make sure everything is situated before letting it loose on your plants. You will need to attach a hose to the pump which will deliver water to your plants. I used a fish air hose to do this.
I situated a bucket of water and a shelf (for all of the electronics) close to the actual plant. The hygrometer needs to be placed into the soil and the pump needs to be submersed in water before plugging in the Arduino. If you haven't plugged in the pump go ahead and do so. Finally connect the arduino to your chosen power source. I'm using a simple 5V charger and a USB cable.
Step 4: Sweet Sweet Automation
Congratulations, now you can enjoy long vacations away from your precious plants knowing they are well taken care of. Show us a your build in the comments below, and the plants that now enjoy your creation.