Plant Box

This project guides you through the construction of a plant box monitored and controlled by an Arduino microcontroller running the ManyLabs PlantBox sketch. The experiment is a simple introduction to using a microcontoller to monitor and affect the plant environment. Here we have used Wisconsin Fast Plants—a plant bred for its quick and easy growth—with good results. The plant box is likely not suitable for many types of fruiting or flowering plants as they have more vigorous growing requirements.

Assembly Instructions

  1. Assemble the corrugated plastic box using wire ties:

  2. Attach the fan using the black plastic screws:

  3. Attach the temperature and humidity sensor inside the box using double-sided tape:

  4. Feed the hose and soil moisture sensor into the box. Place this into your plant pot (not included):

  5. Make loose loops using wire ties around the opening on the side of the box:

  6. Insert the plexiglass sheet and tighten the wire ties:

  7. Place the plastic bolts in the remaining corrugated plastic sheet:

  8. Affix double-sided tape to the lamp:

  9. Attach the lamp to the plastic sheet:

  10. Place this unit on top of the box:

  11. Connect the lamp to the provided timer.

  12. Connect the red jump wires to the positive side of the power connector. Connect the black wire from the fan and from the pump to the negative side. You should have two black wires and two short red wires connected to the power connector. (If you have trouble with the screw terminals, try unscrewing them first to ensure that the wires can go all the way inside.)

  13. Attach the a short cable to the OLED display and attach it to the white plastic base plate using the small screws. Be careful not to break the glass on the OLED. You may not be able to use both screw holes. You may find it easier to place the nut on top so that it can slip under the glass cover:

    Note that your base plate may have the reverse orientation. (We can mail you the new base plate if you'd like.)

  14. Attach the other circuit boards to the base plate:

  15. Place rubber feet on the bottom of the base plate:

  16. Connect the red wire from the fan to one relay. Connect the red wire from the pump to the other relay. Connect the short red jumper wires to each relay. (It doesn't matter which side of the relay has the jump wires.)

  17. Connect the devices to the Grove shield as follows:

    Device Pin
    Button D2
    Pump Relay D4
    Fan Relay D5
    Buzzer D6
    Moisture Sensor A0
    Water Level Sensor A2
    Temperature and Humidity D3
    OLED I2C

  18. The final assembly will look something like this:

Program the Arduino

  1. If you haven't already, install the WireGarden browser plugin. You can follow the instructions in the Using Sensors document.
  2. Connect your Arduino to a USB port on your computer and open the Plant Box sketch in the Arduino Programmer tool.
  3. Select the Arduino Uno in the Microcontroller selection box.
  4. Select the port your Arduino is connected to in the Port selection box. On Windows this will be something like COM2 (The Arduino is usually the highest number), on a Mac or Linux machine this will start with tty and will usually have usb in the name.
  5. Click Send to Arduino and wait for the process to finish. If there are errors, make sure you selected the correct type of Arduino and the correct port and try again. If you're still having trouble e-mail:

You can also download the Plant Box sketch and send it to your Arduino using the Arduino IDE.