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Automatic Grow Boxes and Why Some Do Not Live up to Expectations

Updated on May 1, 2019
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Eco Enthusiast, Avid Gardener, Product Developer, Ex Computer Hardware/Software Engineer and Website Developer.

Fully Automated Grow Boxes can be useful and do have their place in the world but if you're looking to grow fruits or flowers they aren't quite there yet.

If you're looking for something to use at home, Semi Automated or User Controlled Grow Boxes are still holding their game.

User Friendly Grow Box

A Semi Automated Grow Box
A Semi Automated Grow Box | Source

"We are now in the age of automation. Everything from appliances in your home to even something as basic as making your bed in the morning can now be fully automated."

"Humans I believe will always trump machines. We have the same ability to reason but we also have instinct and flexibility in our views and perceptions."

Automatic Grow Boxes and why some don't live up to expectations.

We are now in the age of automation. Everything from appliances in your home to even something as basic as making your bed in the morning can now be fully automated.

Although this sounds ideal for gardening these systems are still in development and not quite yet up to the task.

Fully Automated Gardening Systems have existed and been tested by farmers and commercial growers for some time now. This technology was quickly ported to end user systems such as Grow Boxes or Indoor Gardens.

As food prices have risen and the quality of fresh produce has gone down, more and more people are turning to growing their own. However, not everyone has experience in gardening and despite the wealth of information available out there, there is a temptation to pay out and go for a ‘fully automated system’.

These systems were developed initally with farming in mind but the type of plants or produce grown on commercial farms are not necessarily those grown by end users and I’m not just talking about exotic plants here. Growing lettuce, herbs or other produce is far easier than trying to grow a citrus plant for example. Lettuce will be far easier for an automated system to monitor and be adjusted for. Whereas a citrus tree will need different conditions and different nutrients. It doesn’t stop there though. If your lettuce has a deficiency it would be easy to spot it and adjust your feed. At the other end of the scale a deficiency on a exotic plant will be exceptionally hard for a system to diagnose and adjust for.

Another issue end users will have is when they want to grow different plants in one setup. Even a different variation of certain plants could have very different requirements or be susceptible to very different diseases. This is compounded when you have different plants in each setup as the system can only view things as one and not account for the different plants within it.

Humans I believe will always trump machines. We have the same ability to reason but we also have instinct and flexibility in our views and perceptions.

Furthermore, most automated systems can be imitated without the need for a complicated computer to run things. Lights can be put on a simple timer; fans can be bought with temperature sensors and a good Grow Box or Indoor Gardening System will leave you with the ability to add these or other items if needed. You can also buy very compact and complete hydroponic systems which require no electronics other than a pump. Automated CO2 dispensers can also be added for a small sum. There really is no need to spend obscene amounts of money on something that effectively just feeds and waters your plants.


"Automated systems to me are a lot like buying the latest phone. It will have interesting features but at the end of the day you are just paying for gimmicks"

Take advantage of natural light where you can to cut down on energy costs
Take advantage of natural light where you can to cut down on energy costs | Source

Automated systems to me are a lot like buying the latest phone. It will have lots of new and interesting features but at the end of the day you are just paying for gimmicks and it will work no better than your existing phone.

Alternatively, by using the current systems available you can create something that is not only semi- automated, but it will allow you to still have input and control over what you are growing. In doing so you will learn more and if something is wrong you will be able to spot it quicker.

In conclusion, automated systems still need a lot more development. As things stand you can have more success and do far more with far less by opting for a more basic system that allows human input.

Comments

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  • profile imageAUTHOR

    Purgamentum 

    11 months ago

    There are a number of small Grow Boxes on the Market. One of the pictures shown on this article is for a 'Modular Grow Box' which can be made to most sizes and shapes. I would say that would be worth looking at but it depends on whether you wish to use traditional methods or a Hydroponics System for example.

    You're main issue indoors will be noise and keeping bugs out of your setup. So look for something that covers both.

  • geek_princess profile image

    Laura 

    11 months ago from West Sussex

    What grow box would you recommend for a small flat? I am interested in purchasing one.

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