While I wait for the pump to be delivered to start testing the water flow through the Gutters, I’m starting the design of the Arduino code.

What to Monitor and Automate

For this prototype, I’m keeping automation and monitoring to a minimum.  I’m monitoring temperature, humidity, and CO2 level.  The only auto adjustment will be the CO2 level.


There are many things that can be monitored.  The trade off I am attempting to make is monitoring the elements in the environment that have the most affect on the health and happiness of leafy plants.  Based on my current knowledge, I am focusing on monitoring

Given the work/learnings I have done on pH and EC circuits, I surprised myself by not monitoring pH and EC values.  As I evolved my hydroponics practice over the last year, I’ve decided to change the nutes every one or two weeks.  So far I have not had an issue with unhealthy plants due to an unadjusted nute bath.  However, I am still experimenting.  Please let me know if you have had different results that require constant pH and EC measuring.  I have been advised to check the pH and EC level daily.  I don’t follow this direction because the advice was given as if I am a professional grower.  Since I am not growing professionally, I am opting in this round for simplicity over optimization.
I do use a pH and EC meter when I am mixing up the nutes.  I really like the one recommended to me by one of my professors – the Hanna HI9813-6:



When there is something I don’t know much of, I enjoy getting into the weeds to better understand.  However, this is not my goal for the Leaf Spa prototype project.  One of my goals is to get the Leaf Spa prototype working as soon as possible.  I decided for the prototype hardware to use an Arduino Uno as the micro controller.  I added a Sparkfun ESP8266 WiFi Shield and Seeed’s Base Shield.  I liked the idea of the Grove connectors to make it easy to plug in a Grove CO2 sensor and Grove temperature/humidity sensor.



I haven’t used a CO2 canister before.  I got excited and bought a filled 5 lb. canister from a local place called Central Welding Supply.  This is probably a more expensive way to get CO2 – at least initially.  I ended up buying this canister because I could easily go back to Central Welding Supply to get a refill at a reasonable price.

I also got a CO2 Regulator with Solenoid Valve and a relay (data sheet).  I found some tubing in the garage that should work.

Arduino Sketch

I spent some time on this.  I’ll say more tomorrow.

Update on Pump

A YIPPEE MOMENT!  The pump arrived early PM and I hooked it up.  

Simpson DOHUnfortunately, I had not glued the Gutter’s lower end caps and I also hadn’t put on the 2nd spigot.  So while the water was pumped through the Gutters, the majority ended up on the floor.  Doh dee doh…