I just found out about this kickstarter project that was successfully funded: Horto Domi
It is very similar to FarmBot but it is not as automated… BUT! They have done a lot of work on sensors that I think you will find interesting. So maybe it’s a good idea to connect to them to share knowledge and ideas and maybe even join forces.
If you like I can try to connect to them for you
Hey, thanks for dropping in! I’ve actually already connected with the Horto Domi team a few times. While we have lots of things in common, we’re each working on different problems right now and benefiting from maintaining our separate paths. Perhaps they will cross in the future!
Both your ideas can work together. Since healthy soil requires earth worms, see if they could condense their farm to a bit smaller and make it to grow earth worms, to help with mulch. The veggies and stuff planted in the area always have to be rotated no matter what, like corn, you can only plant a filed every 3 years for healthy soil. Their device has designed would be able to work in an area that is otherwise not enough sun area to plant crops. At which point worms like it that way and it promotes soil health overall, reduces food waist to a recycle area that is used only for fruits and veggies, the meats have to go in a different pile. But it is all stuff that adds to the quality of the soil you are using in your own design, and addresses the issue of having or needing soil to replace the soil due to weathering. See if they could condense their device to grow the soil and worms. A bag of wood chippings, dirt, and moist environment, keeps the weeds out. Excellent source of good soil. But it is only a thought, and maybe something to consider.
There is a problem here.
Most people think worms are worms. You have two major types of worms in ground. Composting worms and earthworms.
Aquaponics system it does not matter having population of composting worms mixed up with plant root systems. Lets point out something simple here that is a difference don’t you notice that composting worms will eat green plant material when you give it to them. Composting worms will also eat small roots. The true earthworm is the one that airrates and digs over the soil would consuming sections of plant as payment. Also composting worms normally don’t like being in normal soil.
Healthy soil can be made by have Composting worms contained with weed tea and their waste dug into bed and earthworm in the bed.
You find places that sell worms in different places sell the true earthworms if you order them. Like this group where you can order the Cod worms for us in Australia. Yes due to true earthworms loving to dig deep and known to escape you are normal restricted to what ever the natives are to your country. Also take note that most of your good earthworms for in soil are also very slow breeders.
One of the problems Horto Domi could suffer from is if the composting worms get hungry them going and snacking on the crop plants.
Glenn I am not exactly sure with my understanding of worms if Horto Domi has done the right thing or the wrong thing. Having true earthworms and composting worms living isolated from each other is a good thing as well. One major issue is composting worms will out breed true earthworms so at times reducing true earthworm population if you are mixing their territory.
Running gardens are complex shades of grey. Worm tea from composting worms is great but composting worms living with your plants not so great. Attempting to get worm tea out of true earthworms is going to happen and they are not going to like eating down your waste materials either. So good operation gardens are going to have at least two different populations of worms both doing two very different jobs.
But that is what I am talking about, you set their idea up with the worms on a compost pile that you can use for the farm as fresh natural fertilize where both complement each other. the worms will have a good time there, because there is so much for them to eat, and if kept at the right temp it will always produce soil at a given rate. and it should match how much is lost and replace the natural minerals after correctly being broken down by the worms. Unless I am looking at this all wrong, because with the compost pile, you can always add the needed scraps to alter what is added to the soil. And it is a bit more of a micro management thing where you do not require having to go out to keep getting soil, and sometimes it is unknown as to how it was processed, vs a pile where you know exactly what is in it. And as for keeping them near the crops not a good idea, have the compost pile at least 10 to 20 feet away from the planting ground, it kind of keeps the worms in one area, kind of like a fence on a farm, it sometimes does and sometimes does not work. but they will almost always stay where there is more food. then not.