“Smart” greenhouses are not very common, so many believe that the average gardener cannot build something like this in his backyard. But in reality, this is not at all true..
The benefits of smart greenhouses are clear. This is not just a place where plants are protected from frost and can bear fruit all year round. “Smart greenhouse” is a real assistant to the gardener. Due to the fact that routine processes are automated, a person does not need to waste his time on everyday tasks.
Of course, even smart greenhouses cannot grow plants without human intervention. But they can do a lot.
Here is a list of the main functions of such buildings:
- Maintain a comfortable temperature inside. The ventilation mode is automatically activated in the room, so on hot days vegetables, fruits and berries will not wither under such conditions.
- Water the plants at the specified time. The drip irrigation system is automated and extremely easy to operate. Even a novice summer resident can easily cope with setting it up..
- Restore the soil and make it suitable for growing the selected plant variety.
It turns out that some simple routine duties can really be entrusted to the system. But pinching, replanting and other complex processes remain the task of the gardener. But dealing with them is already much easier..
Despite the fact that such designs at first glance seem very complicated, it is quite possible to reproduce them. First you need to decide which type of greenhouse will be chosen. They are conventionally divided into two categories: autonomous and volatile..
The first option is very profitable and modern. An autonomous greenhouse, as the name implies, does not depend on the power grid. As a rule, it runs on solar or thermal energy. Both options are good, but it will take a long time to work on the equipment of such a greenhouse..
The second option is simpler. The volatile system operates from the mains. And there are two disadvantages at once. First, a lot of electricity is wasted, so you have to pay a lot for utilities. In addition, if the light is suddenly turned off, then such a “smart” greenhouse immediately turns into an ordinary one. But such an automatic design is cheaper than an autonomous one..
In addition, greenhouses, both modern without electricity and traditional greenhouses, differ in their size. Here you already need to look at the circumstances: the larger the plans and the more free space, the larger the greenhouse you can afford. A more compact option is a simple greenhouse with an opening lid. It can also be supplemented with various technical innovations..
Each gardener determines for himself what functions of the “smart” greenhouse are important for him. Here are the main ones:
- Ventilation. To maintain the desired temperature in the greenhouse, you need to equip the room with windows that open automatically. The window is opened either at a certain period or after the temperature rises. Temperature control and temperature maintenance allows you to grow healthy plants and get rich yields.
- Automated irrigation system. A good “smart” greenhouse should be equipped not only with an air temperature sensor, but also with an automatic irrigation system. Drip irrigation of plants can solve the problem of regular watering.
- Soil restoration. Automatic mulching is another useful feature that many smart greenhouses are renowned for. This allows gardeners to forget about replacing the soil, even if a person grows plants all year round, while planting different crops..
This, of course, is not all. Many greenhouses are literally crammed with various systems. But for a start, a simple climate control system is enough..
How to make?
Since ready-made greenhouses are expensive, many gardeners prefer to do everything with their own hands. Here is a simple instruction that allows you to cope with this task in a short time..
Choosing a location
First, you need to decide where the “smart” greenhouse will be installed. A fairly large part of the site needs to be allocated under it..
Another important point is that the greenhouse must be protected from strong gusts of wind.. This is especially true if the structure itself is not very strong. So it is best to locate the greenhouse in an area protected from the wind. Optionally, you can put a fence.
At the same time, the rays of the sun must enter it through the windows of the greenhouse so that the plants grow normally. Otherwise, they will need additional lighting, which will cost a lot of money to maintain..
After choosing a suitable place, you need to consider such an important point as the choice of the ideal material for the construction of a greenhouse. To make the plants comfortable even in the cold season, the walls need to be made warm. After all, if they are thin, then no heating system will help maintain the desired temperature – all the heat will go outside. The best material option is polycarbonate. Walls up to 8 millimeters thick are suitable for greenhouses used from spring to early autumn. If vegetables, fruits and berries will grow there in winter, then you should opt for walls 16 millimeters thick..
Additionally, you need to very carefully seal the joints. You should not save on doors and double-glazed windows – windows and doors should close very tightly.
Another way to keep your room warm all year round is to use an insulating foundation. Due to this, the roots of all plants will be constantly warm, which means that they will grow very quickly..
The next important point is design automation. If it is completely homemade, then at this stage the most difficulties will arise. First you need to choose the equipment that is suitable for the price. There are different options and schemes that suit gardeners with different budgets..
First of all, all the necessary sensors are installed. The best option for the price is sensors in the version of the module on the Arduino. They are sold with a diagram and clear instructions. The standard set, as a rule, includes a closure with a temperature sensor, electrical circuits, a photoresistor and a soil moisture sensor.
At the same stage, you need to take care of heating the room.. There are two options. The first is electrical heating. The scheme includes the connection of underfloor heating, infrared devices and convectors. Another option is to connect hot water heating. The center of the scheme here is a boiler of any type. Unfortunately, for safety reasons, it is by no means possible to automate the operation of heating devices, so you will have to manually control the operation of the boilers.
If you want the system to be fully automatic, it is better to choose electric heating..
For heating the air, it is worth choosing electric heaters. It is recommended to place them higher. The best option is to attach them to the greenhouse frame along with sensors and wiring diagrams. With this arrangement, the sensors automatically measure the air temperature, and if it is below the required level, they begin to heat it up.
As a rule, in a “smart” greenhouse, it is enough to install an automatic lifter on the windows. But if you wish, you can also install a forced ventilation system. In this case, the electric fans are also attached to the arches of the greenhouse frame. They are connected to the mains and put into automatic mode. The system works very simply: as soon as the sun heats up the greenhouse roof too much, the fans automatically turn on. But it is possible to do without fans – to supplement the vents with an automatic drive. As the temperature rises, they will open and then close just as easily. And all this without the intervention of the gardener.
To ensure that the soil is always suitable for growing plants, experienced gardeners use mulch. This is a loose organic matter that does not allow the earth to dry out. It turns out that the soil is constantly loose and well warmed up. Mulching, among other things, also saves plants from weeds. This is true at any time of the year. True, in spring and autumn, experts recommend additionally covering the mulch with dark polyethylene. Due to this, the soil warms up even better and the plants begin to develop much more actively.
For the summer, this dense material is, of course, removed. But it is still not recommended to leave the soil uncovered. The thick film can be replaced with either straw or fresh sawdust. Both materials allow heat to be evenly distributed throughout the greenhouse..
In addition to these highlights, there are a number of additional enhancements that will make the smart greenhouse better and more functional..
First, you can pay attention to such a function as soil heating.. This can be done in three ways. The first is natural. But this is a method that is only suitable for summer, because the soil is heated by the direct rays of the sun. The second option is biological. Material is buried in the soil, which gradually decomposes and generates heat. Due to this, the earth constantly remains well warmed up. But there is also a drawback – it is impossible to regulate the temperature..
The most interesting way for connoisseurs of modern technology is the technical one. Pipes are laid underground, which provide heat. This is convenient, because at any time you can set the desired temperature or completely turn off the heating system..
You can increase the amount of harvest by installing lamps in the room. Backlighting is especially important during the cold season – from late autumn to early spring. Any type of lamp will do, because each has its own advantages. So, for example, sodium give light, similar to the sun. Luminescent ones are economical, and LED ones are as safe as possible, so a greenhouse, supplemented with such lamps, can be safely left unattended for a week or two. By the way, the lighting should also ideally be automatic. The light should turn on in the dark, and fade out with the onset of the day.
Finally, here are some more interesting recommendations from those who have already equipped a “smart” greenhouse on their site.
Firstly, in order for the harvest to always be excellent, you need to take care of the choice of high-quality fertilizers. Another fun way to increase your yield is by using California worms. They loosen the soil and actively restore the upper layers of the soil. By adding these assistants to your greenhouse, you can forget about the problem with a lack of fertilizers.
The second important tip is that the temperature inside the greenhouse should never be much higher than outside.. Of course, greenhouses are always built so that you can grow plants in more comfortable conditions and get a larger harvest. But large temperature drops can harm both seedlings and already full-fledged plants. In addition, in such conditions, pathogens can develop more actively, which is also very bad for the harvest..
If we talk about ventilation of the room, it is worth clarifying that the vents that open automatically are best placed on the roof. This is done because on hot days the heat goes upstairs. And if there is a window at the top, it will be easier to ventilate the room..
There is one more important point – the structure must certainly be airtight. Many people forget about this, and streams of warm air constantly leave the room. But it’s enough just to correctly calculate the ventilation and make the room airtight.
It is also impossible for the greenhouse to stand in the sun.. Too intense sun rays harm plants. To prevent this from happening, you can put a hedge next to the greenhouse. It is both functional and looks beautiful. You can also use hanging materials, hiding the desired part of the greenhouse and hiding there those plants that like shade..
A smart greenhouse is a great option for both busy summer residents and those who just want to grow more plants per season. Such designs are perfect for those gardeners who do not have the opportunity to visit there regularly: it is enough just to automate all the main processes, and the plants will develop and bear fruit perfectly without the participation of the owners, literally on the machine.
For information on how to automate the cultivation of vegetables in a “smart” greenhouse, see the next video..