A few months ago, we posted about the soil moisture sensor Brandon has been working on with the Philadelphia Water Department. This device can measure the amount of water moisture when placed in dirt. Earlier this week, we placed a version of this sensor out into the garden.
Before going outside, a few wires needed soldering in the lab, and openings around wires needed corking in order to be waterproof.
The current design has a battery that is charged by a solar panel glued on top of a box. Inside the box are parts capable of transferring data over 2G networks. It even has a SIM card, like a cell phone. A wire extends out of the box to the piece actually measuring the moisture. We buried the sensor in the bed that had kale last year, and placed the box on top of nearby soil in the corner of the bed. The data then goes into a website where we can see the current soil moisture and the battery percentage. The goal is to be able see if the garden is dry enough to need watering without having to go into the garden to touch the soil.
With this device, we hope to make the summer watering much easier and less stressful to do. We believe that this moisture sensor will not only help us with our watering, but also make the plants healthier.
Written by Miriam Sachs and Brandon Miranda