Okay, this blog is about to go in a slightly different direction. It will not be your usual gardening blog, but more about what will happen if you add some high tech to your garden. The reason I got myself into this whole grow-your-own-food thing was that I felt I had to. It was the pressure of the decreasing quality of the food available in supermarkets, where it’s all about profit. It was because of the rising prices on produce and because we’re running out of oil so that we will not be able to transport the food across these ludicrous distances. This is what I was supposed to do and it still is. But in reality it’s far from what I’m best at. Now I’ve been in the electronic industry for 7 years straight with an education in electronics engineering, and I’ve been playing with electronics since I was a child. My father and grandfather worked with electronics, my step dad is a computer geek (he’s in the closet, but he is. 🙂 ) This is who I am. I have to accept that.
But this is not who I want to be. I want more than sitting indoor for the most of the day, without ever feeling the sun or the rain. I want more frequencies in my life, more bandwidth. But I think I’m being arrogant dropping such a big part of me in the dumpster, making a 180 degree turn and just walking naked into the forest and living of the land. I know I can provide value to a lot of people using the skills I’ve already got. Nobody knows what a post oil, post economy, post third world war world will be like if we ever come to that. I think we have to prepare, but going back to the stone age is not necessarily the most intelligent way to go. Why not use what we already know? Sure, electronics require electricity, but what’s wrong with steam power? Or wind power or water or sun power for that matter? What I’m getting at here is, that I want to go outside and create stuff. We need food on the table, and what I bring is the small scale automation.
My plan is to apply what I know about automation and electronics to the process of growing food. I have no idea where this is going to take us but I think it’s going to be interesting. I want to raise awareness about what is going on with the soil. What is the temperature, how is the moisture? Why not automate the watering so that it will provide the soil with the optimal conditions? What exactly is going on inside your composting box? Let’s find out. Nobody says it can’t be done post oil even if all our technology comes crushing down. Give me your old C64, I don’t care. Who says it’s going to be fancy million dollar systems. I’m talking low scale, for you, me, and our neighbors. And it’s going to be affordable. More better food in a smaller area in a sustainable way that you control.
So my first project is a small system, that makes graphs of my raised bed temperatures and moisture, plus the air temperature, with graphs for a year, a month, a week and a day. With this information available on a web page I’ll know exactly when to plant and when to go out and water my beds. The goal is still to grow the most food I can, but I’ll do it in my own wicked way. Later I’ll talk about automatic watering and where to get the electricity from, but it’s also still about farming. I hope I can convey this wisdom in an understandable way and please let me know if you want your own system and what problems you face installing one.
Imagine receiving an email from your garden telling you when to plant or add material to your compost based on the current temperature. Add some Rudolf Steiner theory to the system and I’ll bet you it’s going to produce food in abundance with no need to involve money hungry corporations.
But that’s all hot air coming from me now, I know, so I’m going back to work now to materialize this 😉