Considering purchase

Hi,

I’m thinking about getting one of these. I’m curious to understand how big the community is, how much farming is happening already etc… is there a dashboard for this?

Also what is new user feedback? How much work is really needed?

I’m in the NYC area. I am concerned about squirrels and other critters. Weatherization also seems like an issue. Perhaps it’s best in a greenhouse? Thoughts?

Hi @rhl

The forum we are on right now is the best place to get a feel for the community. The forum is not a full representation of the community though, since a sizable portion of our users (> 50%) are using FarmBot for plant research or STEM education at schools. These users typically set up their bots and then hold classes/experiments, but don’t do much in terms of posting things on the forum or social media.

Setting up a full Genesis system can take a few weekends of work, plus the time required to build a sturdy garden bed. Simply put, the assembly of a FarmBot does require a bit of upfront labor.

The three biggest things I would tell a prospective FarmBot owner are:

  • You need a very solid, well-aligned garden bed. If you take shortcuts on this step, you will have motor stalling issues later on.
  • You need a stable WiFi connection. The device can tolerate internet outages, but it was not designed for off-grid operation.
  • For most users, setup is a multi-weekend project (particularly true for Genesis models).

I would not worry too much about weatherization- I live in Chicago and I leave my device outside every year (just make sure you drain the waterline). In the spring, you can reattach the hose and clean out the rails with compressed air or a brush. If you are very concerned about winter damage, you can also remove the gantry and roll it into the garage. Some of our users do this, but I’ve never needed to do that.

With regards to pests, there are many low-tech solutions available that would be cheaper/easier than a greenhouse, most notably a simple wire fence around the garden bed. This will keep out most pests (but not deer) and has worked fine for the sorts of pests we get in the midwest. A greenhouse would definitely extend your growing season and have some benefits beyond keeping pests out, though.

You can get a demo of the app by visiting FarmBot