Introduction: The Plant Shelf Basic

About: Please support and share our mission; the Plant Doctor is a non-profit, open source online research laboratory specializing in electronics+plants. Our vision is to bring together nature and technology in a sim…

hello world, I am the Plant Shelfbasic...

please support & share our mission;


I am able to interact with the environment and the user with the help of my sensors and a few colorful lights. The user does not need to have any prior gardening experience to use me OR to grow plants. I teach the user how plants grow by turning on/off different colored notification lights.. The user, overtime, naturally learns how plants grow as he/she uses the plant shelf.


I blink;

yellow - if the light source is cut off OR if the plant is asleep

blue - if the plant is thirsty

red - if the plant is too cold/hot depending on the season

and if every condition is perfect for the plant then I blink my green light every 5 seconds to notify the user that the plant is alive and secured by the built in " plant doctor ".


and now I am going to share with you how it all works,

let's begin..>


Step 1: Frame + Parts

Frame -

I can be made from many different materials. I am currently made out of 3.2mm MDF board. My current dimensions are 18x18x6cm. I can be custom made to any size (please see the last step's pictures for a 9x9x4inches version on the wall).


Plant shelf can be laser cut using;



plastic (*3D print) .


I can be hung on the wall with an easy slide on/off system. Once installed no tools are again necessary to attach/detach me. I am cut very precisely so that barely any amount of basic wood glue is needed to secure me together. I can also be used on any flat surface. . attached illustrator file can be used to laser cut me. minor tweaks may be necessary, please ask before cutting !


Parts -

1x NTC + 1x LDR + 1x soil probes

1x arduino nano + mini breadboard

1x on/off switch

1x power bank + battery

4x 3mm leds (R, G, B, Y)

2x 10K + 1x 10 + 4x 220 ohm resistors.


my planned parts upgrade is a wireless module with SD card.


REMEMBER to also build the sensory device.!

Step 2: Electrical

all parts have color coded breadboard jumper cables attach to them, so anyone can build me - no prior electrical experience needed.



attach jumper cables to the + positive and - negative legs of the USB ports on the power bank. this is where I get my electricity. now attach the + positive cable to the middle leg of the on/off switch and - negative cable to GND on arduino nano. attach the other leg of the switch to VIN on arduino nano. now you can easily turn me on/off and recharge from outside. the power bank makes it possible to easily recharge the plant shelf.



one leg of the LDR light sensor goes to 3.3V , the other first to A2 and then to GND with 1x 10K ohm resistor on the arduino nano

one leg of the NTC temperature sensor goes to 3.3V, the other first to A4 and then to GND with 1x 10 ohm resistor on the arduino nano

one leg of the Soil Probes goes to 3.3V, the other first to A0 and then to GND with 1x 10K ohm resistor on the arduino nano (more in depth info about the soil probes on the next step).


notification LEDs;

connect all the - negative legs of the LEDs together and then to GND on arduino nano

connect 1x 220 ohm resistor to the + positive leg of each LED seperately and then connect them to:

D11 - blue

D9 - red

D7 - yellow

D5 - green.


there you have it, I am much simpler to put together / operate then you think !

Step 3: Operation + Code

connect to the computer and upload the code, disconnect from computer


Turn on the switch. Make sure that all notification lights come on when the sensory device isn't attached.


attach the sensory device and test it once again;

- turn of lights, yellow should come on

- remove probes from soil, blue should come on

- and red will come on if the temperature is below the set value in the code


if any of the sensors needs adjustment, go back to the code and type in your preferred values, re-upload code by connecting the plant doctor to the computer. remember to ask questions, I am here to help..


it should be fully functional at the moment, happy growing !

Step 4: Conclusion

can be recharged via micro USB - solar skin upgrade soon, will be able to self-sufficiently work


can be reprogrammed via mini USB - soon over wifi !


you can also see the lights upgrade for the shelf, with this the plant shelf is ready to grow anywhere/anytime - no sun needed.


* The plant shelf basic is made possible by the Plant Doctor teaman open source & non-profit company. please comment or private message if you want to become a beta tester with us. Your donations help us follow our vision, to bring together nature and technology in a simple, non-harmful way. By educating the end user, we guarantee the success of our mission - change the world, one plant at a time...


thank you very much for your time and interest, remember to subscribe and check out my profile to see other indoor horticulture equipments.


love & peace

the plant shelf