Introduction: DIY Rotary Garden (TfCD)

Hi! We put together a little tutorial on how to make your own small version of a rotary garden, which in our opinion could represent the gardening of the future. Using a decreased amount of electricity and space, this technology is fitting for rapidly increasing population in urban environments. Some research even states it results in an increased yield compared to regular indoor gardening. For an optimal result, your rotary garden should rotate 360 degrees in 1 hour. Using an Arduino, we can precisely control its rotational speed. However, we couldn't find a low cost servo or other type of motor with a sufficient delay. Therefore, this servo makes the garden rotate 6 degrees every minute, at its lowest possible speed.

Step 1: Gather Materials

First of all, gather the following materials:

- Triplex wood, 200x400x9 mm

- Wood, 10x10x500 mm

- Card board, size A2

- 10 small nails & wood glue

- 1x bolt M5 x 25

- 3x nut M5

- 1x bus M5x10

- Halogen light bulb (wider color range compared to LED, better for plants)

- Cord

- Light bulb fitting

- Arduino Uno + USB cable + wires

- Servo with 360 degrees rotational freedom (in this case: adapted HS 311)

- 2-sided arm for servo

Step 2: Draw Patterns for Frame

Use the measurements of the above pattern to draw the cross shape (2x) and support (2x) on the triplex wood. Draw the pattern for the box on card board (4x).

Step 3: Cut Out Patterns

Cut the patterns out of wood and card board, using respectively a machine jigsaw and a stanley knife. Additionally, cut the 10x10 mm wood in 4 equal pieces of 100 mm length. Cut 1 square (18.5x18.5 mm) out of the card board. Cut a whole in the middle, size dependent on the light bulb fitting size.

Step 4: Assemble 1st Part of Frame

Use nails and wood glue to put the frame together in the way shown in the picture.

Step 5: Assemble 1st Part to 2nd Part of Frame

Use bolt, nuts, plastic tube and light bulb fitting to put the rotating part of the frame into the static frame. Make sure it can rotate easily, with as little friction as possible. Additionally, attach the arm of the servo to the bolt and rotate the nut in tight, so it rotates along with the frame. In this case, we used two firm nails to make a support for the servo. You could use any fancy solution for this.

Step 6: Write Arduino Code

Write the following Arduino code on your computer:

#include //include servo library

Servo myservo; // create servo object to control a servo

int pos = 105; // initial speed = 0. May vary per motor/arduino.

void setup() {

myservo.attach(9); // attaches the servo on pin 9 to the servo object



void loop() {

myservo.write(106); // tell servo to rotate at slowest speed. May vary per motor/arduino

delay(383); // rotate for 383ms for the servo to rotate 6º.

myservo.write(105); // stand still

delay(59617); // wait the remainder of the minute.


Step 7: Connect Servo to Arduino Uno

Hook up your Arduino Uno to the computer using the USB cable and attach the servo in the way shown in the picture (black cable to ground, red to 5V, orange/yellow to pin 9).

Step 8: Click in Servo

Click the HS 311 servo into its arm. Use the nails (or any other fancy solution) to keep the servo in its place.

Step 9: Connect Light Bulb to Cord and Fitting

Attach the wires of the cord to the lightbulb, put the lightbulb into the fitting and plug in the cord to make it light up.

Step 10: Fold and Attach Plant Boxes

Cut folding lines into the box patterns, to be able to fold them in the way shown in the picture. Glue one side to the card board of the frame, in such a way that the boxes can still be folded outwards (see picture) (this is to plant seeds/replace the plants).

Step 11: Assemble Everything

Put all parts (including Arduino) together. Plant seeds into the boxes. Preferably of plants/herbs that don’t need excessive amounts of water (sprinkling them a few times will do). Now we play the waiting game (in this example we put in already grown plants, for aesthetic reasons).

Step 12: That's It!

That’s it! You’re done! This is the final result. See the video for the prototype in action (note: this one moves 6 degrees per second instead of per minute).

Suggestion for improvement: increasing a simple hydroponics solution, since watering still has to be done by hand and could be rather cumbersome.