Smart Garden: This is how the FarmBot performs in practice

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On the table next to the raised bed there are little plants and a notebook that has been pounded in with clay fingers. The hardware stores have just opened and mother and daughter are taking the opportunity to plant the vegetable patch as early as possible. The FarmBot diligently but slowly pokes holes in the ground into which we plant the salads that have been brought out.

But then the sky darkens and a shower pours over the garden. We save ourselves and the notebook in the dry – the robot continues to work patiently. When the shower subsided after half an hour, it still only pressed holes up to the middle of the bed. It is designed to have 24 hours a day – it is not intended for brisk work. So we catch up quickly and slouch: A lump of wet earth falls onto the aluminum rail. The X-axis runs over him promptly and blocks. The encoder on the right X motor reports the step loss and the sequence aborts. We pull the mud out of the rails, clean the belts and rollers, restart the sequence and ask ourselves whether everything would not have been faster without a robot.

After we built a FarmBot, we wanted to know how much work the machine can do for us when growing vegetables. For example, can we go on vacation for a few weeks without the weeds growing rampant or the kohlrabi drying out? How well does the machine survive hail, frost, heavy rain and wind? When does the mechanics jam and how often does the software fail?

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