Self-Sustaining Backyard Gardening

by Bob Hughes on July 28, 2016

Bob Hughes · Technology The WE Cycle · July 28, 2016

Pendulum in Action, technology, WE Cycle, backyard gardeningFor anyone with a patch of land and a wish to grow vegetables, the desire is often damped down by the actual work involved.

But thanks to new robotics, you might be able to grow your own vegetables all year round, without having to do anything more than harvest what you’ve sown.

Well, not you: the Farmbot Genesis.

A new robotic system – which costs under $4,000, which could be a lot less than what you might spend on groceries in a year – will plant, water, weed and grow your garden.

What makes this is a particularly WE Cycle, community-centered innovation is that it’s open-sourced. The community contributed to its development and funding. The Farmbot Genesis is a step away from industrial farming, and more toward chemical-free, sustainably grown vegetables. The new paradigm of food production lies at the crossroads of small crop farming, open-source innovation and sustainability.

It moves around the garden space day and night, 7 days a week, sowing seeds in any pattern and density you want, and waters each plant according to its need, soil conditions, local weather and growing preferences. It can grow a wide variety of plants in the same area at the same time. By growing many types of plants at once, the garden benefits from crop rotation, and you get a varied and healthy diet. It’s all controlled by an app – so you don’t have to worry about technology or even gardening know-how.

The hardware is designed for easy assembly, made up corrosion-resistant aluminum and plastic, to resist weather extremes. The seeder, watering unit and weeding function have been developed by the community. If you’re so inclined, you can modify the Farmbot to your personal preferences. It’s 1.5 meters and wide and 3 meters long – a perfect garden plot size. It uses 100% open-source software. Everything is free to download (what costs is the hardware). There’s even a community Wiki and forum for collaboration.

Here’s a video that explains it all:

While most people are likely to pick up their produce at the supermarket or, more and more, the farmer’s market, at least those who have the land and who don’t have the time (or green thumb) might be able to guarantee themselves fresh vegetables. It’s a sustainable move for keeping us all on the track toward environmental good.

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