How it started.
I finally moved from an apartment to a house. That also meant, I suddenly had a garden to take care of. The first year was spend with cleaning up the ground. There was plenty of construction material leftovers from the construction company. And a lot of weed. Every evening I cleaned up a small area of the ground with a sieve sifting out stones and weeds up to 30 cm deep. I ended up with at least 600 kilo’s of stones and too many bags of weeds to count.
Cleaning up my ground gave me plenty of time what I wanted to do with my garden. One thing was sure, I did not want grass (unexpectedly, that turned out to be a very wise idea since my neighbors don’t succeed to keep their grass alive). So I decided to start experimenting. The street facing part of the garden would be used for flowers. While the back garden would be used to see if I could grow vegetables.
By coincidence, the start of my gardening adventures was also the start of more extreme summers with very few rain. And although my underground rainwater storage tank has a capacity of 10.000 liters, with periods of several weeks of no rain it’s very easy to empty it rapidly. You can keep an eye on what’s left in the tank but that meant always lifting the lid and measuring how much water was left. Given that laziness is the father of inventions, there should be an easier way I thought. So I came up with this:
The amount of water left in the tank is measured by an ultrasonic parking distance meter and send wirelessly to an attractive (I hope) head unit that displays the amount of water left. How I did this will be discussed in the next few blog posts. As a nice extra, I also measure the temperature in the rainwater tank, the temperature and humidity where the display is located. A small InfraRed remote control allows switching between the different measurements.
Don’t expect detailed instructions, code or schematics. This set of blogposts merely serve as an inspiration source how you could make something similar, tailored to your tastes.
This setup has now survived 2 hot summers which means that I must have done something right to protect the electronics, that are in the storage tank, from the elements.
It has proven its usefulness as well during the hot summers, helping me to ration the amount of water each time I watered the garden. I hope these pictures help to prove it.