What is GardenBot?

GardenBot is an open source garden monitoring system. This site is a collection of tutorials for how to build things (like a soil moisture sensor), software for running GardenBot, resources, links, and more.

To get started, you will want to browse the How-To section to see what is required to build the various modules.

The ultimate goal of the GardenBot project is to be a complete garden monitoring and automation system. A key design consideration  is to keep everything as easy as possible -- especially for users new to Arduino and DIY electronics projects.

GardenBot is currently a work in progress, and we are always looking for volunteers -- please contact me if you'd like to help. This project is built upon open source technology, so it is free to be used and modified in any way you see fit (provided you adhere to GardenBot's license). 

Just so you know, there are several (many) other garden automation projects out there on the web. Some commercial, some open source. You should definitely explore around (see these links).

Is GardenBot a robot?

The word robot usually is used for machines that move about. But consider this... even though it does not move, GardenBot is a robot. It is a robot in the same way a plant is a living organism. It is a slow, quiet robot. It is a robot that is threaded through your house like a plant threads its roots through the soil. GardenBot is formed to fit its function.

Who came up with this?

I did... er, I mean hi. My name is Andrew Frueh. Me and my wife, Melissa, like to garden a lot. We're always experimenting with different methods in our garden and compost. We already were using a soaker hose for our garden. Last year, we used one of those mechanical timers to turn the soaker on for a pre-determined amount of time. But then...

I discovered Arduino, and immediately became engrossed. Arduino is a little computer (called a microcontroller) about the size of a business card. It has a bunch of analog and digital inputs/outputs so you can hook up various sensors, buttons, switches, audio/video devices -- it's pretty friggin' cool. See the parts page for more information.

Anyway, considering my interests, I thought "gee, it sure would be neat to use the Arduino board to control the watering in the garden". But then one thing led to another... and now we get to the (somewhat complete) GardenBot system that you have before you.

Like a lot of DIY-ers, I am entirely self-trained. So, there are a lot of holes in my knowledge. As I hunted around for information on the web, I found that too often the information in various tutorials was written by someone who failed to remember that lay-people (incidentally the target audience for any tutorial) don't know the jargon, and therefor can have great difficulty in decoding the information. One of my goals with this project, is to have all the pieces laid out in plain language -- step by step -- to walk you through the whole process. Hopefully I pull that off.

Anyway, feel free to start exploring. The How-To section has many tutorials on how to build your own garden automation system. Maybe you'll want to try building your own GardenMonitor. And if you run into any snags, you are welcome to contact me with question / comments.

More advanced options

I am very much interested in making GardenBot as flexible as possible. I don't have time to explore every option myself (a few too many cans of worms), but if you or anyone you know would like to build optional modules using a cool technology, please contact me.

Links out to garden automation projects on the web

Links to GardenBot on the web

Here is a list of other garden automation/monitoring projects out there on the web. This list is not comprehensive. If you have such a project, please contact me, and I will add your name to the list.

GardenBot license

Andrew Frueh retains the rights to all content (i.e. graphics and tutorials) in the GardenBot project. 

Creative Commons License
GardenBot by Andrew Frueh is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

Of course, each piece of pre-existing software / hardware (i.e. Arduino, Processing, Flash, etc.) which has been incorporated into GardenBot retains its respective license.