Greenhouses forum: Creating an intelligent greenhouse

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Mar 3, 2018 6:39 AM CST
Hello, I am studying engineering and my group, and I is doing a project with the main theme "Intelligent Greenhouse" this semester. The greenhouse being intelligent would require it to be equipped with some sensors to collect information about plants, temperature, nutrients, humidity, etc. However, none of us know anything about greenhouses or gardening so I would like to ask the users of this forum which functions they would find necessary or unnecessary in a greenhouse. Please reply with your opinion regarding the functions of an "intelligent greenhouse" and if you have any questions regarding what the project is about feel free to ask.
Name: Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
Orchid Nut!
Region: United States of America Echinacea Hostas Clematis Region: Michigan Adeniums
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Mar 3, 2018 12:43 PM CST
They already are intelligent greenhouses. You can check on line to see those.
What qualities are needed in each greenhouse will dependent upon where it is and what will be growing inside of it.

"Our children are the messages we send to a time that we will never see."
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
Mar 4, 2018 7:39 AM CST
Besides what you mentioned, etc would be πŸ€”??? Water, lites, hours of lite, intensity and colors of lites, and HUMM ???

You said to ask. So I'll bite, not hard ! Rolling on the floor laughing
What's the project about ?
Inquisitive minded questions, can lead to more inquisitive, responsives !?!? I would think πŸ‘πŸ˜€

Ttfn πŸ•Ί's @πŸ’ƒ's
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Mar 4, 2018 10:01 AM CST
The project is not commercial and we are just doing it as a mini-project for an university course and must base the functions of the greenhouse on feedback from gardening clubs, forums or similar. The project is about making a prototype of an intelligent greenhouse, but as a way to make sure the functions are actually useful and wanted by people we would like to ask the users of this forum which functions they would like an intelligent greenhouse to have. I wrote etc because I am simply not sure which functions to include. The functions could be anything such as a smart display that would tell the owner the wavelengths of light inside the greenhouse but would the people who do gardening use such a function? Sorry for asking like this just needed to make some function up as an example. I am studying to become an engineer in robotics and have almost no knowledge about gardening so I am seeking to learn from the best.

Maybe I should have asked if there is anything that could be improved in current greenhouses, anything that you feel is missing or just some smart feature that would be nice to have.
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
Mar 4, 2018 11:02 AM CST
Ok, great πŸ‘!!! Now, I understand πŸ‘.
I hope you get lots of responses now.

With so many people being so hi-tech these days, I was grabbing any straw I could think of. Shrug!

As for me, I'll have to give your question a new go over, now that I can see it clearly.
See, I don't have a greenhouse, as yet, but I can dream πŸ€”???

If you don't get many responses, within a few days. There is a forum hear, on greenhouses, that you can move your question to, and maybe get more responses. Shrug!

Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Name: Jim
Stroudsburg, PA (Zone 6b)
Greenhouse Region: Pennsylvania
Mar 7, 2018 4:56 AM CST
Sounds like a fun project.

I would imagine the first thing you would need is some form of "weather station" both outside and inside the greenhouse. You would need to know what conditions are present on the outside, and what may be coming in the next few hours, especially by way of lighting (sun, clouds, etc.), wind, temperature trends and humidity. Likewise, you would need to be able to measure the conditions inside the greenhouse. A program would be necessary to correlate all of this information and make "adjustments" to the greenhouse "systems" based on what is necessary to maintain the ideal environment in the greenhouse depending on the stage of development for what you are growing.

In other words, each plant has an ideal growing environment that may or may not change during it's life-cycle. You would have to know what that ideal environment is so you could maintain that ideal for optimum growth and production by use of greenhouse systems (more in a moment). Now, a greenhouse is greatly affected by the outside environment; so, you would have to know the outside environment and how that IS affecting and WILL affect the greenhouse environment now and in the immediate future. You could then "adjust" each of your greenhouse systems so they counteract any negative influence from the outside environment.

To maintain the exact ideal has been the goal of greenhouse growers since the dawn of greenhouses. MAYBE we have become more successful in maintaining a close ideal greenhouse environment through technology, but successful greenhouse growing is as much an art as it is a science; don't forget that. People tend to think of a "smart" greenhouse as one that is run on technology based on science, but I would say the science with the art....someone with years of experience, both successes and observe subtleties and nuances...and make further adjustments is what a true smart greenhouse is all about. So you need a "HAL" to monitor, compute and adjust and you need a "Dr Dave Bowman" to tweak what a computer can't "observe".

OK...the systems that you would need to maintain the ideal environment and counteract any negative outside influence would include (from an article in Novedades AgrΓ­colas entitled "What is an intelligent greenhouse?":

Climate control. Two weather stations, one inside to control the climatic parameters of the cultivation, and another one on the outside to control the external environment in order to make the necessary operations such as closing ventilation in case of rain or strong winds.

Irrigation and nutrient application control. Controls the frequency of irrigation and the application of nutrients through a schedule imposed by the farmer or the farm technician, or from external signals using probes soil water status and / or plant through probes of a climate station. The programming of the application of nutrients is from the irrigation scheduling, scheduling a particular nutritional balance for each physiological stage of the crop.

Temperature control. The temperature control is performed by temperature probes in a weather station installed inside the greenhouse. From the temperature measurement a number of actuators depending on the program herself. Thus we can find between automatism opening and closing mechanisms of zenith and side windows and fans for causing the drop in temperature inside the greenhouse and heating systems to increase the temperature.

Humidity control. The relative humidity is monitored in the weather station inside the greenhouse and acts on the functioning of misting systems (fog system) or cooling system to increase moisture or forced ventilation systems to evacuate the air too humid greenhouse.

Lighting control. The lighting is controlled by the drive mechanisms that extend shade screens normally installed inside the greenhouse to reduce radiation incident on the crop when it is too high, which prevents thermal injury in the leaves of plants. You can also increase radiation in certain periods connecting artificial lighting systems installed in the greenhouse in order to provide a greater number of hours of light acting on the photoperiod of the plants causing changes in physiological stages and increases in production due to increased in photosynthetic rate.

Application Control CO2. Controls the application of CO2 systems, based on measurements of the content inside the greenhouse.

Hope some of this is of help.
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Name: Mary
Lake Stevens, WA (Zone 8a)
Near Seattle
Bookworm Garden Photography Plant and/or Seed Trader Plays in the sandbox Region: Pacific Northwest Seed Starter
Winter Sowing
Mar 8, 2018 3:28 PM CST
Hello njens-
One problem that is difficult is keeping the greenhouse cool!
All that sunlight really heats it up.
Many greenhouses have a "window" in the roof, and an automatic opener so it will open and vent in warm weather.
Here is something you could do "for real" and not just as a project: the openers currently available to the home gardener open and close automatically, they have some kind of liquid in them It must not freeze so the gardener must dismantle it every fall and reinstall it in the spring, and be absolutely perfect-if it freezes it is ruined. So of course they freeze. They are expensive.
Big commercial greenhouses have electric vents on a thermostat, but the average home greenhouse owner does not have electricity.
I have a little "cold frame", which is a sort of mini greenhouse, that I bought about 25 years ago. It has a different (better) opener device. I wanted to find another a few years ago, could not find anything on the internet that was at all like it. It is a "bimetallic" opener, with NO fluids or batteries or anything. The way it was described it is two kinds of metal, fused into a bar so one side is one metal, the other side a different metal. Each bends at different temperatures, so below about 75 degrees Fahrenheit it is straight, above that temperature it bends, which opens the plastic cover and vents the heat. It still works perfectly after all these years. There is nothing to break. If you could reinvent this it would be great!
Also, standard greenhouses sold to the hobbyest, usually have vents on the top. This is not enough, for proper airflow and venting an opening at the bottom is also required, so as not to cook your plants.
Good luck I would like to see your finished project!

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