Seed/plant starter FarmBot

Has the idea for a small & scalable FarmBot been discussed for the purpose of seed/plant starting ?

Here’s my thought, a scaled down version made for “In the Home” or “In the Greenhouse” use, specifically made for seed starting in late winter/early spring.

My wife and I love to garden and raise our own fruits and vegetables, but find it financially cost prohibitive to buy a full scale FarmBot for the size of garden we wish to have.

On the other hand, if a smaller, cheaper version were available for the purpose of starting plants, we would definitely be interested.

While we do plant seeds for growing many of the items we plant, we also spend a lot of money on pre-started plants like tomatoes and peppers.

The thought occurred to me that a small, scaled down version could be made for this purpose. Many of the features and tools wouldn’t be needed for this application as most started plants are grown in the home or small greenhouse where tilling, weed control, and other options wouldn’t be needed.

Plant starting can be done in a much smaller footprint, especially if it can be expanded in the vertical Z-axis for multi-layer plant starting that can be transplanted to the garden when conditions allow.

I could also see this as an attractive option for spurring small, local businesses for selling/supplying started plants.

I think this is a good idea as well, I haven’t given it much thought, but to be able (just before the growing season) to get a punnet of seedlings ready to plant out sounds like a good idea, rather than waiting and buying them from a nursery.
A small farm-bot that looks after the seeds and raises them indoors in punnets. You could sterilize the soil used in the punnets, so that you wouldn’t need to worry about weeding, just water them in a warm environment.

Pretty much my thought as well. Using potting soil and/or compost would prevent (or minimize) weeds.
Additionally, other controls and monitoring for things like grow light timing, moisture and fertilization need parameter monitoring, air & soil temps and controls for heaters, etc.
Given the purpose would be only for things like plant starting and/or small, indoor herb gardens, the physical size would be small.
I was also thinking that some sort of elevator system could facilitate multi-layer planting platforms as expansion accessories.

I actually own a full-size Genesis XL 1.5 and have thought about building a smaller version for exactly this purpose. It would really only need to water and I would have a the camera still to make time lapses of the seedlings growing. It’s been on my list to build for a while, but time is never on my side with a 3 little ones running around.

We do have some customers who are already using FarmBot for these sort of small-scale pick-and-place operations, though I can’t say much beyond that since the projects are commercial in nature. As far as scaling it down, it is possible and I own such a device for testing software at the office:

It’s hard to see in the photo, but I was actually starting some romaine lettuce in seed trays in this particular photo.

Rick, thanks for the reply. I do have a couple questions about your software testing device.
1 - Is it a custom built device or a cut-down version of one of the available kits ?
2 - Does it use the same software as the full sized kits or was it modified to work with your test device ?

For a commercial operation, I could easily see the justification of the expense to buy a full scale FarmBot, the expense can be written off for the business.
Has there been any discussion to offer a kit form similar to the testing device you use ?

@jpigg55 It is a standard v1.2 bot running the same software as a regular Farmbot. We just trimmed the rails down. It is entirely possible to build something of this size using standard parts. With that being said, adding new product lines is not a small task and the demand for tiny units such as the “FarmBot Jr.” shown in the photo has not been large enough to justify a new product, at least not yet. Our current focus remains on improving existing product lines.

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