Fresh, organic food is important! Grow your own in unused space and take care of it remotely. Plants and smarts are powered by the sun!
However you feel about GMOs, organics, etc. – it is a pretty universal desire to have fresh food that doesn’t have anything harmful contained within. We had a strip of gravel/dirt that wasn’t being used for anything except collecting weeds when it rained.
We decided to fix that and use some cool technology along the way to help us manage our new mini-farm while we were away!
A few of our goals were:
- We wanted to run our garden with no grid power so that it could manage itself indefinitely (even when the power goes out).
- We wanted to be able to water the garden either using a timer or by pushing a button.
- We wanted a raised bed since this garden was going to be in a desert with terrible ‘soil’.
We got started by clearing the existing rock in preparation of the raised bed.
We put in some pipe for two trees on either side of what was going to be the raised bed. You can see the pipe sticking up in the middle. This is the primary means of watering the raised bed.
We next ran both of those pipes to a junction box that is semi-buried.
Those pipes are fed from a single inlet pipe with the 12v valves controlling the flow to each. (The third, middle pipe just goes to an unrelated faucet.)
(Note: the blue shut-off valve had to be replaced a few months after… get a metal valve!)
Once the pipe was in, we covered everything up and took a little break to figure out how to lay out the cinder-blocks for the bed.
We tried a few different layouts. We wanted to maximize the available bed but also wanted to make it easy to plant and pick food from.
The layout below was the first try.
We ended up removing the back row of blocks and staggered the width so that we were able to reach all parts without having to step up.
Once we had the blocks in and level, we had some soil delivered. We made sure to get enough to fill the pockets of the blocks. They require more than you would initially think but also grow a lot more than you would imagine!
Next, we added a water valve to help us monitor the amount of water we put into the bed vs. plat growth.