Open-Source Projects to Monitor/Water Plants - (not MARSfarm)

This list will likely grow but for now, I just want to share one specific example. I will continue to add to this list so please post links to any other projects that you are aware of and let me know what you think!

Moisture sensor with peristaltic pump by Balena.

For context, Balena maintains a number of GitHub repositories for IoT hardware, mostly related to the Particle platform. The most popular library they’ve published is Etcher, for loading operating systems onto SD cards using .img files. The MARSfarm V1 is able to receive information about your wi-fi network and password using an open-source software library also published by Balena. Bottom line - they’re a cool company.

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One of the most well-known open-source projects in agriculture was the Open Agriculture Initiative (OpenAg). The OpenAg team, led by Caleb Harper, was based out of the MIT Media Lab in Boston. They released the “Personal Food Computer (PFC)” in 2017 as an open-source plant research platform. The PFC (V2) was a ~$7,500 plant growth chamber that had all the bells and whistles.

I was fortunate enough to receive the materials (for free) from MIT to build two of these. Rather than build them alone, I began weekly “build nights” at a makerspace called TechShop. At the very first build night, an instructor from TechShop came to check out what I was working on - his name was Drew Thomas and together we founded MARSfarm.

More information about about OpenAg and Food Computers

Wikipedia article overviewing the rise and fall of the Open Agriculture Initiative.

9-page whitepaper which provides an excellent technical overview of the Personal Food Computer V2.

Documentary featuring MARSfarm and schools we began working with through OpenAg.

Sold by SparkFun:

I found a link to that product on the Red Hat website, when I was posting this in another thread:

I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to list them but FarmBot is a great example of another open-source company that has an entire ecosystem for supporting its products. I’ve seen dozens of installations of FarmBots across the United States and admire their commitment to open-source morals.

Here’s a few links to posts on the FarmBot forums (they also use a Forum software called “Discourse” - so it should look familiar) about how educators are using their products:


Knowledge and tools to grow fresh food should be accessible to everyone. That’s why we have developed an open-source vertical farming system. All blueprints are available online for free, for anyone to download, build and grow.

Link to website:

Here’s a link to the complete 39-page assembly guide with instructions to build your own rack according to their specficiations:

Link to the CAD (engineering design) files for this project:

Link to the complete parts list and the “Bill of Materials” - which provides links for where to purchase all parts: Hectar V0.9 Open source development package - Google Sheets

I love how Wisconsin Fast Plants® used very common plastic materials (deli containers, plastic bottles) to enable you to grow hundreds of plants. Their main focus is on helping teachers explain genetics using hands-on observations and data analysis - super cool!

@ben @Drew @hmw this DIY growth chamber gives “The $50 Classroom Greenhouse” project a run for it’s money - clearly we identified similar requirements from teachers!:

@nathaliemarsfarm Check out this open-source lesson plan about brassica breeding. Lesson Plan - Investigating Brassicas Around the World with Wisconsin Fast Plants - Open Source Lesson - Google Docs

Lots of “cultivars” have been developed as foods we eat, which are all part of the species of Brassica Rapa, which has half a dozen commonly eaten vegetables. In addition to that, the sister species from the same family/genus is Brassica Oleracea - which contains cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli too! @Jamira

Brassica Species 382x386