For the past week, Mia and I have been working on a new project involving a pepper plant named Pete, the SPARKvue software, and PASCO’s new Greenhouse Sense and Control Kit. Pete is a Ring of Fire pepper plant which thrives in temperatures between 26-29 degrees Celsius and a relative humidity of around 70%. We knew that we had to set up Pete’s optimal conditions if we wanted him to grow and produce any peppers, so Mia and I immediately got to work on it. We started by setting up the greenhouse itself, including the fan and grow light accessories, followed by the greenhouse sensor which includes a soil moisture probe and the temperature, humidity, and light sensing pc board. Once we connected the //control.Node to our laptop we were able to begin the programming process. Using the information available on the PASCO website, we were able to create simple code designed to regulate the temperature and relative humidity by activating the fan accessory anytime the relative humidity level went over 75% and deactivating the fan accessory once the level drops back down to 70%. This would keep the relative humidity within the desired 70-75% window. We also found that this would keep the temperature of the greenhouse between 25-26 degrees Celsius, ensuring that ideal conditions for the Ring of Fire pepper were met.
The Greenhouse Sense and Control kit contained a wide variety of equipment which allowed us to monitor the temperature and relative humidity inside the Eco Chamber. The values collected during this process helped us to create the code we needed on SPARKvue to regulate Pete’s environment easily. This code was uploaded to the //control.Node so that it would run throughout the off-hours without any constant monitoring, which was very convenient for Mia and myself, and ensured that Pete would be well taken care of in our absence.
Pete was watered manually about 3 times throughout the work week to keep him hydrated and to regulate the moisture levels of the soil, and we made sure to give him multiple hours under the grow light each day, and before long we noticed that small flower bulbs began to appear. This week, we will be focusing on maintaining the optimal environment for Pete’s success so that he continues to grow and flower. We also want to experiment more with the USB water pump, and aim to create a watering or drip irrigation system within the greenhouse!
As a future environmental engineer, I’ve truly enjoyed working with the Greenhouse Sense and Control Kit. Being able to grow a plant right here in the office has been a really great opportunity, and it’s allowed me to apply the experience gathered from my studies of soil and water to a really interesting project, as well as expand my knowledge!