The urban gardening movement is quickly entering the Information Age. Designed by Mike Alt, HarvestGeek is a program that monitors the condition of your fruits and veggies in order to produce the greatest yield. The self-described “Modern Farmer’s Almanac” utilizes a sensor (affectionately dubbed the “HarvestBot”) placed in the soil to gather data and send it to the cloud. Once configured, the software can send notifications via Twitter, Facebook, SMS, or email. The HarvestGeek software can also be used to program equipment such as fans to set specific temperatures or switch on automated water pumps.
HarvestGeek can also be used as a web platform to share and swap information between green thumbs. Information gathered by the sensors is used to create a database that will help growers experiment with the best farming techniques, and establish a community of local food producers.
The HarvestBot has five base station types, each with a specialized function. Small and inexpensive enough to be used in a window garden but powerful enough for a large greenhouse, the devices are powered by micro USB cables that plug directly into your router. The devices have LCD displays and can communicate directly with other stations with a range of up to 100 feet. The embedded SensorStation is able to gauge light information, soil pH, temperature, moisture, and electrical conductivity converted to PPM.
Originally created for mushroom cultivation, Mike Alt’s HarvestGeek is currently seeking funding through a Kickstarter campaign. Once funded, HarvestGeek hopes to add members to the design team in order to produce a more polished prototype for local manufacture. The hardware will remain open source with a publicly available API for integrating devices. A pledge of $99 will score you one of the first HarvestGeek kits fresh off the assembly line. Let your laptop or smartphone help you hack your harvest!