We call our project RUFS, for Robotic Urban Farm System
- A vertical hydroponic garden
- Allowing for high density yields and shorter growth cycles
- Reducing resource consumption – water, fertilizer and space
- Labor saving – no weeds or soil to till
- Higher consistency of crops with great tasting results
- Maintained by micro-controllers (Raspberry Pi & Arduino)
- Watering cycles – monitor and auto refill levels
- Plant nutrients and pH – monitor and correct
- Temperature monitoring
- Air Circulation & Lighting controls (for indoor operation)
- Smart and Connected
- Farm Controller App for smartphone, tablet and pc
- Get notified when the system needs a refill
- Alerts when something isn’t running as expected
- Year round growing – fresh produce every month of the year
- Perfect for Urban setting with limited space
- Reduced operational time and maintenance with automation
- Eliminate the guesswork of nutrients and watering cycles
Hydroponics is a subset of hydroculture and is a method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions, in water, without soil.
The word hydroponics technically means working water, stemming from the Latin words “hydro” meaning water, and “ponos” meaning labor. Many different civilizations from the beginning of time have relied on hydroponics for growing plants, such as the early Mexican and Egyptian civilizations. However, recently growing hydroponically has grown in popularity and use across many different markets.
(from Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydroponics)
Green and Efficient
Water is recirculated which allows for great efficiency, often more than 90% efficiently on water consumption.
Our vertical design allows for a higher density of plants in a much smaller footprint. With a space less than 5′ x 5′ we are growing 160 plants.
The system is maintained with a series of Arduino controllers. Watering cycles, pH levels, nutrient levels, lighting cycles and ventilation fans are all maintained via the Arduino’s.
The Arduino’s can be networked to a Raspberry Pi using I2C to allow all system parameters to be monitored and updated in real time. The Raspberry Pi is further used to maintain a historical log of all the systems running data and make it available via a set if web services.
A companion smartphone/tablet app interfaces with the Raspberry Pi allowing for configuring and monitoring your entire system from anywhere in the world. The Raspberry Pi communicates with app via a JSON web service.
The steps are outlined here, additional project information including plant suggestions and updates are available on our website at
What are we growing?
Vertical hydroponics lends itself very well to leafy green vegetables.I am currently growing successfully lettuces (romaine, boston bib, spring mix) , cabbages (red and green), herbs (basil, cilantro, mint, dill, chives), spinach, kale (dwarf curly variety), broccoli and petunias.
Parts and Pieces (What to buy)
(5) 10′ – 2″ PVC pipe
(1) 10′ – 3″ PVC pipe
(4) 2″ PVC 90° elbow
(8) 2″ PVC tee
For more detail: Vertical Hydroponic Farm