I’m considering either the Express 1.0 or Genesis 1.5 to build a herb garden on our balcony. Unfortunately we just don’t have space for a full scale device, and we don’t have a garden either.
We have an unused long thin balcony that is south-facing so plenty of sun. I have a ready water and electricity supply.
I was looking at the Onshape cad files for the Farmbot Express and it seems like the internal width of the bed is 1.03m. It also looks like making it half that width might cause interference on various parts. That said, I suppose the articulated cable guide could be shortened as well as the horizontal gantry.
I wonder if anyone has tried making a 0.4m or 0.5m bed?
Also, I had a quick search on the forum for growing a herb garden, but I couldn’t find an answer. I wonder if anyone else has tried this?
In general you can make the FarmBot kits service smaller areas but not larger areas than the design maximum. To make the FarmBot service smaller areas you simply cut the extruded aluminum tracks and manage the cords with zip-ties. Here are a few examples of FarmBot kits that have been adjusted to service smaller garden areas.
I have some further questions please about drainage. Reading some of the other posts here, it’s clear that drainage is necessary to avoid waterlogging of the bed, and rotting of the roots. This is a challenge because I can’t dump excess water ‘over the edge’ of the balcony as it will soil (sorry for the pun) the balconies below. So that would mean installing some kind of drainage water receptacle below the bed.
I wondered if anyone had come up with a way to take water from the drainage receptacle and pump it into some kind of tank that the watering supply could come from. I presume this is a good idea, because none of the nutrients would get leeched out of the soil?
However, I also presume that the watering head requires positive pressure? I didn’t see a watering pump included in the BOM…
I noticed that the Genesis comes with a moisture probe, so presumably it takes a more advanced decision about watering over the express, based on current moisture levels?
On YouTube there is a wealth of information on garden drainage.
Here is a video on Fixed Raised Bed Gardens:
Also here is one by Scott M:
To reply to your specific points:
It is difficult to recycle drainage water because there may be sediment in the water. This sediment can damage your regular pump. However there are pumps available that are able to process water with sediment in them.
Yes - watering using the FarmBot does require positive pressure to the FarmBot water inlet tubing. We expect most people to use their garden hose with it hooked up to their house and that will have positive pressure.
We have instructions to show how to set up a FarmBot using collected rain water and a pump.
Yes - the Genesis can be programmed to test and measure soil moisture content levels prior to executing a watering sequence.
To be honest, these moisture probes did not work for me at all. I don’t know how exactly the newest implementation works out but you’re better of leaving one or more moisture sensors in the soil all times and reading them out with another device