Make your house plants and home garden thrive with a connected, smart irrigation systemLindsay Souers
Lindsay Souers
Published on Thu May 21 2020

When it comes to home gardening, there are some common problems that can arise. From under watering to pH imbalance, these conditions can be difficult to self diagnose. If your plants’ leaves are turning yellow, are you over watering or under-watering? Or is it because your soil has a pH imbalance? There are some products currently on the market that try to address the water issue, but they lack the ability to measure other important factors such as humidity and pH levels. We are currently working on a smart sensor called the Leaf. The Leaf sensor will be able to detect everything from humidity to temperature, and pH to moisture levels. The Leaf will then collect this data to create a large, world-wide database that contains the optimal conditions for different species of plants. By using Artificial Intelligence (AI), it will then be able to provide the proper information for your type of plant and give you all the information you need to make sure your plant can thrive!

Common Problems With Home Gardens and House Plants

One of the most common problems is that you can’t tell if your plants are getting enough water. When you over water your plants, the roots begin to drown and your plant will start to rot. This becomes the perfect environment for mold and other bacteria to grow, causing problems for both your plant and your family. When you under-water your plants, the plant starts to dry out. The leaves will yellow and eventually turn brown and crunchy, the plant may start dropping leaves and flowers if it has any.

Another problem is temperature and humidity. Many plants have a range of both temperature and humidity and if both of those conditions are not satisfied, the plant will not thrive. Plants that have a waxy coating on their leaves help them retain moisture and prevent bacteria from entering. These same types of plants are also more susceptible to freezing because they contain ample amounts of water in their leaves. The last common problem is pH. This is measured on a scale of 0 to 14, with 0 being highly acidic and 14 being highly alkaline. A pH of 7.0 is considered to be neutral. Different plants require different pH levels in order to grow and thrive. Though there are soil tests that you can do at home, they only give an estimate and won’t tell you what the optimum levels are for your plant.

Existing Solutions To The Problem

There are currently a few solutions on the market to try and help this problem. One of them is a product allows for water to be stored in a glass orb. The water will flow down through a glass straw into the soil when the soil gets dry. The problem with this is that it holds a limited amount of water, the straw portion gets clogged with soil, and it is only capable of possibly solving the water problem for plants. It has no way of detecting humidity or pH levels.

Another product currently on the market is terracotta watering spikes. They are hollow terracotta spikes that you stick in the soil and place an upside-down, long necked bottle in. The terracotta absorbs the water and slowly releases it into the soil when it starts to dry out. The problem with this product is that the terracotta starts to dissolve and then cracks, which can flood your plants. As with the glass orb, the terracotta spikes cannot measure pH, temperature, and have a generic design that is supposed to cater to all plants.

Our Smart Solution To The Problem : LEAF

We are working on a smart solution to this common problem, called the Leaf. Leaf is an AI driven sensor that you place in the soil with your plant and will monitor the moisture, humidity, pH, and temperature levels. By collecting data from each and every Leaf sensor, we will create a large database of information that will then train the AI on what the optimal conditions are for each type of plant. The Leaf can be connected to a water pump or to a solenoid valve on a water line, which will allow for it to adjust the level of water according to what the sensors are saying.

Our plan is to give out many of these sensors when we do the initial kick-off of this product! That way we can start collecting the data from each sensor and creating the database of optimal plant conditions.