Open source greenhouse enables smartphone control of a veggie garden
Between potting parsley, curating coriander and tending to tomatoes, a vegetable patch requires a fair amount of work and even more know how. But what if you could call on an online community to keep everything in in working order when you hit the limits of your gardening prowess? The MEG Open Source Greenhouse is an internet-connected indoor microclimate designed to tap into the collective knowledge of green-thumbs around the world.
MEG (Micro Experimental Growing) is the brainchild of a team of Italian engineers looking to demonstrate that just about anything can be grown in any location. The greenhouse is around the size of a vending machine and provides a microclimate which can be managed through a phone or tablet.
Driven by an Arduino controller, the user can control important metrics to create the ideal environment of their plants to prosper. To this end, light cycles, ventilation, temperature, irrigation, soil acidity and alkalinity can all be managed via the app.
MEG also monitors the growth and health of the plants. So if a user happens upon a recipe for success for a particular plant, they can repeat the growing process down to the last drop of water and beam of light. This can then be shared with the MEG online community. By the same token, if the user hits a roadblock or a plant's life is in jeopardy, they can reach out for some gardening tips.
At this stage, if MEG were a plant it would not be much more than a seedling, though the engineers do hold high hopes. They are currently looking to raise funds on crowdfunding platform Eppela to produce a fully functioning prototype. From there, the aim is to install five of the greenhouses in metro stations around Milan next year to demonstrate proof of concept. The machines would then be donated to agrobiological researchers.
You can hear from the team behind MEG in the video below.