No green thumb? No problem!
If you like plants, but sometimes don’t remember to take care of them, you can always take the “easy” route and build your own custom watering and lighting box from scratch. Okay, so building something this involved might not actually be easy, but once it’s set up, Maker Peter Ward should be able to successfully ignore his plants until the box runs out of water.
For control, the aptly named Automatic Grow Box uses an Arduino Uno (ATmega328) interfaced with an off-the-shelf household outlet timer. As diagrammed in his Instructables article, Ward found a suitable output bit from the timer to signal the Arduino at the appropriate times. This enables the box’s lighting to follow a set schedule, and even allows the plants (or possibly the humans) to sleep in and stay up later on the weekends. The box also has an RGB LED on the front to indicate the status of the plants and the box, including whether it’s too hot or cold, or if the tank needs more water.
According to Ward, he’s “neither am a carpenter, welder, electrician, programmer or gardener. Everything is self-taught and I can therefore understand that others have easier and better solutions.” Despite his modest comments, the build looks extremely good. On the other hand, one would need to be very cautious when dealing with water in close proximity to electronics if this inspires another build.
Don’t have a green thumb? No need to worry! The Maker has provided a step-by-step breakdown of his project here, so you can have your own Grow Box in no time!