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Robot Garden Message Board › Gardens and Aquaponics

Gardens and Aquaponics

Daniel C.
DanielCasner
Livermore, CA
Post #: 3
I'm starting off a message forum thread on gardening and robotic gardening. To start here are some links I've collected.



A former member
Post #: 2
Hi Gardeners and Makers!

Well, today's preliminary planning session went pretty well. We talked with Clayton about the space, we came up with a slew of new ideas, and decided upon the first steps we'd like to take (if we get certain permissions).

So, our new idea is to create an urban park/garden space with a bike rack and a shade structure with a solar panel on top. Clayton is going to check and see if we can take over two parking spaces in the front, and if that's a go we can move on from there. Things we need to figure out are:
- can someone donate a solar panel (Regina is going to mention it to the company that provided her school with a demo solar panel, and I think Clayton is also going to check on that too). Ideally the panel should be big enough to power an automated irrigation system for the small garden
- materials for the bike rack, shade structure, garden box(es), irrigation system, etc (can we get donations or used equipment and materials from local businesses, the school district, the city, etc, can we put an ad in the Independent?)
- whether we can tap into the existing sprinkler line for our irrigation, or if we need to get a 55-gallon water drum as a reservoir
- what do we want to plant (we've discussed native plants, herbs, veggies, etc.)
- for the use of technology, if we were to monitor soil moisture, pH, etc and were able to post that online somewhere, Regina's students could monitor the data, tying our project in with education, in which case we might be able to apply for some grant money to help fund the project
- how are we going to monitor the garden and set-up an automated irrigation system (but this step comes a little later)
I think that covers the most basic next steps. As soon as we know if we can use the parking spaces we can schedule another planning session to take measurements, assign these tasks to the best people and so on.

Some of the other ideas we had are:
- put garden boxes on top of the shed (we figured the roof might be too much of a liability issue)
- set up a garden display in a planter box/large pot near the front door
- build a vertical garden along the wall at the front (or just around the corner from the front door since it'll get more sunlight)
- a hydroponic display with an interactive/educational component for the front room at i-GATE

That's where we are so far. Let me know if you have any other ideas or suggestions!
Cheers,
Meredith
A former member
Post #: 4
Went to a book giveaway in Palo Alto picked up some gardening books as well as other topics hopefully start a little library. Some are a bit dated but may have some ideas. I'll bring all that stuff at the next meeting.
Daniel C.
DanielCasner
Livermore, CA
Post #: 4
if the solar panel only has to power the monitoring and irrigation equipment, then it shouldn't need to be too big. One or Two square feet charging a 12 SLA battery should be just about perfect.


In addition to monitoring the soil properties, it also be interesting to add a weather station. The students could then look at things like how rain and sun affect the moisture etc.
A former member
Post #: 3
I agree, it would be great to build a weather monitoring station, and it'll add a great educational/interactive component. I'll look into that a little more too.

Here are a couple more quick links about some garden project ideas:

http://parkingday.org...­
Parking Day is an annual event (that started in SF) where artists, designers, etc take over metered parking spaces and make them into little parks!

and

http://www.urbanperma...­
Permaculture is all about sustainability and maximizing the benefit of each element in a system for the betterment of the system as a whole. You can also wiki it for more information.

and

http://www.pps.org/...­
The project for public spaces is about designing and sustaining public spaces that improve communities.

Now, some of this seem like it's getting kinda far afield, but I just wanted to throw some resources out there so we can broaden how we're thinking about this parking space urban garden/park project.
A former member
Post #: 4
Hello All!

So, last Sunday I took some measurements of the spaces, two photos of the spaces and a 360 from the center of them. And lo and behold, I discovered that there is a bike rack kitty corner to our location. So, I'm proposing that we hold off on building a bike rack until we build a more permanent installation. What do you think?

I came up with an initial sketch, in which I swapped a covered bike rack with a covered table and chairs. I also propose we add an informational display, preferably something techy and interactive, if possible.

I also have a donation of 4 4x8 garden boxes which we can take apart and reconfigure if we want, we just need a truck to pick them up, anybody have a truck?

For the contents of the garden, I propose we go with drought resistant, native plants. One, so they'll require less water, and two, because it adds yet another educational and interactive component. It can also show how beautiful drought resistant landscaping can be. Thoughts?

I'm also starting a blog for this project. I'll make sure it's accessible through the meetup and Robot Garden pages (somehow), but I think it would be really good to have a central place where all the information is easily accessible. Especially since we'd like to make the monitoring data available to anyone, and I'd like to see what other community engagement we can get for this project. I know that this is maybe beyond the scope of a weekend hobby, but sustainability and adaptive reuse are things I'm interested in professionally, so I'd like to be able to point to this project when I'm out looking for work, and also, I think it's good for Robot Garden to get people interested in and noticing the projects we're working on.

Oh, I also have the contact info for someone at Zone 7 to help with irrigation, and someone else who could possibly donate topsoil. So, as soon as we can get the boxes, some woodworking tools (either a table saw or and hand saw and some saw horses, sanders/sandpaper, drill, etc) I think we can get started. If anyone wants to help me coordinate donations and/or help me pick up the boxes that would be awesome!

Let me know what y'all think.
A former member
Post #: 6
Sounds good Meredith you're really taking the idea and running with it!! :)

I would like to see you sketch is it online or is it on paper?? You mention that you would like an informational display any thoughts as to what you would like it to display???

I might be able to get access to a truck or I'll haul it in my little box car it will barely fit!! Do the garden boxes break down to lay flat for transport?? Would I need to bring tools to remove nails or screws? How far away are the donated boxes?? I'll be happy to help if I can let me know and we can try to setup a day and time.

Native plants are cool!! We can even have a couple experimental sections to compare native to non-native or different growing methods etc. depending on the space we have. I do not know much about plants yet what do you think??

A blog is easy to start. I would be nice if the raw monitoring data from the project can be held in a database once we figure out what we want to track. If you get some community engagement I am sure they can tell you some of the things that they would want. It may become more than a weekend project but that is ok I'll be happy to help out when I can. Also what is involved with coordinating donations??


A former member
Post #: 5
My sketch is on paper, but I can try to scan it and upload it, or I'll be out there this afternoon and I can show you what I've got in mind.

For the informational display, I was thinking we could have info about the different plants we have; info about where the materials we used came from, including nods to anyone who donated anything; maybe a link to Park(ing) Day, since that's where some of the inspiration came from; info about any artists who contribute to the overall aesthetic; and about the data monitoring; and maybe even have a way to get feedback from people. Those are just the things that spring to mind. I think all this info should be on the website/blog too, but I thought this would be a nice way to inform people who come to the physical location without any prior knowledge of what we're doing.

I believe that the boxes (there are 4) do come apart, I think they're bolted together. I can get more information about the tools we'll need to disassemble them, thank you so much for volunteering to help!

I like the idea of having experimental sections! I think we should do that!

As for coordinating donations, I think we'll need to decide what we need, and draft some letters of request and/or make some phone calls. I have some of the contact information already but haven't made any calls yet.

Again, thank you so much for your help. Hopefully we can discuss this further this afternoon!
A former member
Post #: 7
I might be able to pickup the boxes later this afternoon.

I also picked up a 275 Gallon tote that we can use for water storage. I will try to clean it and bring it over today.
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