Gardening

Backyard Gardening #11: 2019 August Week 2 | Eggplants Party

Highlight

It is becoming a harvest season. We had good hot days and a little colder days. Time to pick up vegetables !!!

2019 August Week 2

Harvest

So many eggplants grew and time to pick them up. The eggplants were heavy…

With eggplants. tomato, peppers, and beans, made a vegetable face ๐Ÿ˜›

Eggplants, Tomato, and Beans
Measure eggplant dimension for fun

Cooking

Eggplants, Ground Pork, Onions, and Tofu. Backyard garden to kitchen is very fresh.

Gardening

Backyard Gardening #10: 2019 August Week 1

Outside Backyard Garden for Summer

Eggplants became too big in tight space now (stretching their shoulders ๐Ÿ™‚ ). The middle plant below started to look stressed out by the side plants. So, it was time to move the middle one out of this area.

Now, this one has more space to grow horizontally and vertically. The leaves showed a little disease. So, I did a little bit of leaf cut.

Harvest

Made Japanese “tsukemono” out of eggplants and cucumbers.

Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsukemono

This is organic tsukemono, so we can only keep them fresh for a couple of days.

Engineering, Gardening

Backyard Gardening #9: 2019 July Week #4 | #Harvest

Progress

Made a video of the backyard garden for the first time as a story.

SmartGarden Progress

Just out of curiosity, measured the resistance of eggplants and tomato plants. When it is between the edge of a egg plant leaf and stem, the resistance value is about 2MOhm.

Old leaf doesn’t have moisture and it looks like the equivalent resistance of the old leaf is very high (i.e. open circuit). Small and young leaf have less resistance. Depending on the nutrition of the plant, the resistance seems to change.

I can use the tomato as a current limiting resistor to turn on a LED.

Engineering, Gardening

Backyard Gardening #8: 2019 July Week #3 | #SmartGarden #Recycle

Weekly Progress

Tomato started growing more as the temperature in Oregon started going up.

There are six eggplants and each plant now has a bunch of flowers. At the same time, they attract snails ๐Ÿ˜›


New Crops

Green onions. Bought green onions at a grocery store and kept them in a glass of water. Changed water every morning for two weeks and each has enough roots now. So, it was time to plant them outside.


Harvest

Eggplants

Eggplants

SmartGarden Progress

SmartGarden device now is equipped with GPS sensor (Amazon Link) to keep track of real time information – GPS coordinates can be recorded as well. As the device has an USB charger block to power the Arduino microcontroller (Amazon Link) and other sensors, this became a portable device to check out brightness from the light sensor (Amazon Link).

The picture below shows the Analog Three-way meter and my own SmartGarden device.

LCD display shows Time and converted voltage by Light Sensor
SmartGarden Device with bell peppers
Engineering, Gardening

Backyard Gardening #7: Light Sensor | #DIY and #Arduino

Introduction

Previously, the smart gardening device was built as an alternative method to the analog three-way meter (amazon link) shown in the picture below.

Programming

Using Arduino Software on Windows OS.

The arduino module used in this project is Arduino Micro (Amazon Link).

The data of light sensor output to Arduino are voltage values. In general, when it is brighter, the resistance value of the light sensor becomes smaller. As an example, about 100 Ohm in the sun light and ~ 10M Ohm in darkness.

Arduino microcontroller is programmed so that the log from Arduino produces the voltage value at a node of the light sensor every second. This indicates the brightness captured by the sensor. The data will be shown on the Arduino console and 4-line LCD.

Testing

With LED Desk Lamp, Arduino and Light Sensor (Amazon Link).

LED Desk Lamp has 4 light brightness levels

Video

As the desk lamp gets brighter, the voltage value goes down. This means that the resistance of the light sensor goes down.

Next

Test this prototype outside and compare the results with the analog meter.

Gardening

Backyard Gardening #6: 2019 July Week 2 | #eggplants

Introduction

What’s new?

Eggplants started growing faster.

Watermelon is still very slow as its roots need to expand more.

We’ve installed a tomato cage as it is growing big now. The tomato cage also helps grow upwards rather than left and right side.

Eggplant attracted a couple of snails ๐Ÿ™‚

Any harvest this week?

Eggplants and blueberries.

Coming up

Start cooking straight from garden.

Engineering, Gardening

Smart Gardening #5: LCD Display

Now, it is time to program a LCD display with Arduino Micro. This can be used to monitor sensor data (Sensor information), date and weather.

LCD Display.png

Components used in this post

LCD device and programming reference: Sunfounder Wikipage

This LCD has 4 lines (rows) and 20 characters (columns).

Each character position is set by lcd.setCursor(row, column)

We can use a lcd.print(“”) function to print out a message.

If we want to print out a mixture of characters and variables (ex: numbers), lcd.println(variable, DEC) can be called.

Live Demo of LCD Display showing elapsed time

For time and date information, a real time clock (RTC) or GPS module can be used.

Next, start programming a sensor module.

Engineering, Gardening

Smart Gardening #4: Power on 1st prototype board

Prototype Highlight:

Powered on prototype board successfully from USB power. LCD display was powered on at 5V. The light sensor has LED indicators showing power GOOD. Using a multimeter, measured 5V power pins on the prototype board and everything is okay so far.

Next step is start programming with Arduino!

smart_gardening_prototype_ver1.png

Recap from last time:

Detailed Progress:

Arduino micro has operating voltage at 5V. I like this because most LCD displays need 5V not 3.3V. Te DC current per IO pin is 20mA at 5V and 50mA at 3.3V, which is adequate for most sensors. Reference: https://store.arduino.cc/usa/arduino-micro

arduino_micro_spec
Arduino Micro Specification

Today, I just powered on the prototype board ver 1 by a microUSB cable connected to a Desktop PC. The multimeter showed 4.96V on one of the sensor power supply pin.  This is because there is a on-board voltage regulator on Arduino micro board and the 5V pin may not be exactly 5V due to dropout voltage. If the dropout voltage was too big, this may cause the Arudino and other sensors unstable. So far, it doesn’t seem to be a problem.

Next Steps:

  • Start using Arudino IDE on Windows PC
  • Programming Arduino for LCD Display first
Engineering, Gardening

Smart Gardening #3: Wiring with microcontroller on Prototype Board

Now is time to connect all sensors. Let’s get hands dirty and start soldering on prototype board.

Recap from last time:

Smart Gardening #2: Concept Design by drawing Block Diagram

Components:

uC_and_sensors.png

  1. Define Arduino Micro Pinout

arduino_micro_pinout_ver1.PNG

2. LCD Display to microcontroller

3. Light Sensor Module

4. Moisture Sensor

5. Pressure, Temp + Humidity Sensor

6. Prototype Board

Soldering:

Soldering Tips

  • I like using un-used resistors to run wires on prototype board because I can hold it with the resistor while soldering – wire gets hot!!!
  • When soldering male headers, use 2-pin jumpers to hold it to avoid heat.

img_4668
Running 5V Power Rail horizontally through Arduino pins

img_4669
Wiring and Soldering completed

img_4670
Back side of Prototype Board – took about 1 hour of soldering

Next steps

  • Time to hook up with PC and power on
  • Start Programming and test the sensors individually