‘Alexa, Water My Plants’: How I Automated My Garden

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could say ‘Alexa, please water my plants’ and it happens automatically from wherever you are – your office, a holiday or mid-transit?

With new technologies, you can actually do that. Many of us love gardening and during lockdown, the number of terrace and balcony hobby gardeners has probably quadrupled. I’ve always been fond of plants and 2020 gave me the time to delve into organic farming. I began to grow vegetables and fruits on my terrace. Within months, I started seeing results and it made me really happy.

But as the numbers grew, watering the plants became a time consuming activity. Additionally, I could not travel out of the town because there was no one there to take care of the plants.

One morning, an idea came to me – why not automate this whole watering process and control it via the internet from any part of the world? I started a DIY project and purchased a 100-plant-drip irrigation kit, a solenoid valve (DC operated), a wifi plug and a wireless camera from Amazon. The cost of all of it came to Rs 3,900.

With all these items, I started building my own automated plant watering system. It was not rocket science – trust me, anyone can do this without calling the experts. There are many advantages of automating plant watering beyond being able to do it remotely – it saves water, prevents over watering, and is time saving.

Also read: Confessions of a Balcony Gardener During a Pandemic

Here are the steps I followed:

Step 1 – Lay down your drip irrigation kit

Step 2 – Attach your solenoid valve to your water supply pipe

Step 3 – Connect the solenoid adapter to the wifi plug

Step 4 – Install a wireless camera to monitor whether your plants are receiving water or not

Once the setup is complete, it’s time to test.

Connect your wifi with Alexa and attach a command to it which will turn the plug on and off as per your command. When the plug is on, the solenoid releases water to the drip irrigation system. The water then flows through the whole system and all the plants receive equal amounts of water. Switch off the plug once every plant is watered.

Use your wireless camera to monitor whether the water is being supplied to the plants or not. Also, if the soil is wet, then over watering may damage the roots. Hence, the camera plays an important role in deciding whether you need to water your plants or not.

Ashutosh Jaiswal lives in Delhi NCR. He is a software engineer by profession, a biker by heart, and a plant lover by soul.

All images used have been provided by the author