Whenever I take a vacation, I try to get the most out of my time off. I undertake projects that I think will benefit me in the long run. One of these projects is having a small garden with automatic irrigation system.
I am always looking for ways to be self sufficient. One of these ways in to eat off of my own garden. I started by planting tomatos, potatos, garlic and water Mellon. I wasn’t planning to water it myself everyday, so I thought of an automatic watering system that would require the minimum intervention. A system that uses solar panel for energy, and water tank that lasts a week.
It is worth mentioning that I have an aquarium at home and do a regular water change each week. I don’t like to throw it down the drain. I use it to water my plants. I learned that fish water is very rich in minerals and good for plants. This way, I hit two birds with one rock.
In addition to this, I decided to have this garden at the roof of my house. This way, I can make sure that the plants gets lots of sun.
For this system, I bought the following items:
- A 50 Watt solar panel
- 12 AH sealed battery
- and wires
- 12v submersible water pump able to push 500L/H
- 10 pots from Ikea.
- Solar Battery box
- charge controller
Its worth mentoring that Ikea pots has a special feature that lets you monitor how much water your pot has left. With this system, you have an orange plastic stick that sticks out of the bottom of the pot if it is still has water.
I started by lining up pots in u shape. Then, I took a hose and passes it through the pots. Each pot has an orange piece of plastic sticking out. I made a home on all of them with a drill. Then used Tie wraps to tie the hose to the orange plastic pieces.
I kept one pot as a water reservoir. Next, I connected the solar panel with with weatherproof wire. This wire goes from the panel to the solar battery box. Inside the box, i connected the wire to a charge controller. It is important to connect the solar panel to a charge controller, and not connect it directly to the battery. This is done as a safety measure and to prevent the battery from getting damaged. The reason for this is because A 12v solar panel does not produce constant voltage of 12v. It does produce more than that. Mine produces 17v when the sun hits it directly.
So the panel is connected to the charge controller, the controller is connected to the battery. the battery is connected to the timer. Last, the pump is connected to the timer.
Next, I configured the timer to run everyday for one minute at 7:25 AM.
It is also important to note that the hose goes from the water pump and passes to each of the pots. I made a knot at the end of the hose. I then punctured the hose above each pot. When the pump is on, the water is pushed through the hose and then stops at the knot that I made at the end of the hose. This makes the water escapes from the holes on the hose that I cut above each pot.
That’s it really. I will see how it goes from now on. I plan to have more pots when time permits.