Gravity fed drip irrigation, with the intent of complete, hands free automation.[edit | edit source]

Welcome, you've arrived at the Global Goals clubs challenge WIKI. We ask you to see this as a possible starting point to a new beginning. We hope to prove to the world, that if we use the SDGs as a guideline, a starting point in the search for simple solutions to impossible problems like poverty and hunger. If each of you reading this works toward even one small answer, the millions of small steps when combined into big steps, could be enough to change the world. We view Appropedia as a playground for people who love to try new things. We beg you to look around, find something which would make life simpler for those in need and make it better. We know there are better ways to do almost anything, maybe you'll find some of them.

What follows is an example of a simple yet effective way to create an abundance of fresh vegetables in a small space with minimal resources. See it as an example for the challenge. We ask you to create a wiki about your project and keep the world informed of your status.

Our wiki is free to to copy and improve upon! We used off the shelf products at a normal prices, but are searching for ways to replace them with home made versions, preferably from recycled plastic. We challenge you to prove that the world can still be saved, we simply need to begin. Find a way to mix cheap modern technology into the SDGs to answer as many of them as you can.

The project below attempts to answer problems within a multitude of SDGs simultaneously. At the end is the begin of an outline of possible improvements which could be created to enhance our garden or go off on a new tangeant.

Goal: To prove that by mixing fresh vegetables with science, recycled plastic, computers, computer networking and social skills, the poor starving people of the world can be fed at a minor cost, weighed against the benefit to mankind. The garden and ideas demonstrated here are in the public domain, free for anyone, anywhere to use. In exchange we simply ask that you find a way to help in reaching the Global Goals and especially Zero Hunger by 2030!

This goes to the global goals!

Intro[edit | edit source]

Welcome to our garden! What began as an experiment, has turned into a working garden which can run alone for several weeks at a time using rain water. The garden presented is small scale, approx. 30 plants, but can easily be expanded simply by adding more branches from the above ground tank and filling it more often. It's main purpose was to eliminate the carrying of water, eliminate guess work and wasted water, while ensuring that the harvest is never at risk due to lack of water. The main benefit was that the automation worked so well that a 4 week vacation could be taken in the middle of the growing season. Only 3 things limit its effectiveness; drought, pump outage and overly dirty water.

Our greenhouse drip system[edit | edit source]

20 Square meters, 4 x 5 Not heated, so does freeze at night in the winter.

Simple representation of the system
[edit | edit source]

Parts List[edit | edit source]

Since we have no more water pressure than gravity gives us, it only needs to be watertight. Here's a list of the parts we used, but we've begun to create 3D printed alternatives to reduce cost.

Replacements[edit | edit source]

The following files are on a slow server. Have patience!

An impression of our garden[edit | edit source]

[edit | edit source]

Drippers running, one slow, so it gets cleaned

The drippers are adjusted to provide approx 100ml of water per hour when the tank is full and will gradually decrease during the day as the tank empties. I estimate that each plant receives 2l water over a 24 hour period. At this time the tank is refilled, bringing the drip speed back to 100ml per hour. With time, dirt and/or algae collect on the dripper, decreasing output and must be cleaned away. We use an old toothbrush to clean and open the dripper to full open to flush dirt out of the tubing and dripper.

Grass cuttings are spread at the base of each plant as a mulch to reduce evaporation.

Drip adjustment[edit | edit source]

To begin the season, a glass was placed under a dripper and left to run for 1 hour and adjusted until 100ml dripped per hour. All plants were set to a similar drip rate and allowed to run. During the summer we experimented with more or less water per plant and although we found it difficult to always have the same drop rates, but no records were kept since it was mainly to ensure that the system would work as expected. In hot, sunny times more water was released, but without sensors in the earth it's difficult to know what amount is correct. The system was never turned off, meaning it dripped 24 hours per day, but very slowly.

Plants[edit | edit source]

16 Tomato 10 Paprika Various others including Eggplant, Cucumber, Green Beans, salad, herbs and spices.

Big garden[edit | edit source]

Multiple basic gardens share the same water source for an economical way to feed entire villages.

Multiple gardens share water

Problems to solve[edit | edit source]

The manual cleaning of drippers must be eliminated. It's the main drawback to this system. After 3 weeks they begin clogging and cleaning helps, but it's difficult to leave the system alone for more than a few days. Homemade replacement parts to reduce cost! Moisture sensors in the ground would give a more accurate measure of whether each plant gets enough water.

We'd like to solve this by putting a tiny motor on top of a spike at each plant and let the drip fall onto the ends of 2 wires, the computer could read the short circuit as a drop, thus enable real automation by adjusting the pressure on the hose to regulate the drop count.

Conclusion[edit | edit source]

This system runs well with little supervision, but the beginning takes time since too much or too little water can be bad. Automation would allow a hands free garden and is the prefered solution, if it can be done cheaply enough to feed the masses with little attention.

Our challenge to you![edit | edit source]

This project is simple to recreate inexpensively, do it with recycled plastic and we'll have provided a relief of malnutrition.

  • Here are a few examples
    • eliminate the 4 corners!
    • replace the 30 reducers and drippers with 3d printed from recycled plastic or find your own solution.
    • find a way to recycle plastic, PET is the most obvious choice
    • improve or make a better filter to eliminate clogging of drippers
    • change the mechanical dripper which easily clogs with a simple, inexpensive alternative
    • how do you collect and store enough water to best get through the dry season in various climates?
    • make a manual pump which could be reproduced anywhere
    • use your imagination, the answers lie within you

Most importantly of all! It must be so simple, any child could run it. There must be at least 1000 ways, please help us find them.

You're welcome to take our simple, yet expensive version and put it to shame, by[edit | edit source]

  • simply find a solution that works better:
    • cheaply mass producible
    • automate it, make the dripper clog free
    • eliminate or improve the filter
    • bring the price per plant to below $1.00
    • keep it simple enough that even a child can use it

Where would we begin?[edit | edit source]

  • Recycled plastic, we must find a way to use what's choking our waterways and killing our oceans.
  • 3d printed parts to eliminate cost
  • An electrified dripper, could be a stepper motor or anything else. How about man made muscle?
    • Stepper motors could be taken from outdated CD/DVD drives
  • Networking, cables or IoT
  • Computer, I'd begin with Rasp Pi, but cost and power must be considered.
    • Linux because it's free and open
  • Produce parts where jobs are needed most to allow multiple benefits from a single solution.
    • If we can give the poor work and a way to feed their families we can reduce migration, stop them from leaving home.

Future plans[edit | edit source]

See Gravity fed drip irrigation, semi-automated/Future plans.

External links[edit | edit source]

Discussion[View | Edit]

My article will continue to develop as the growing season begins. I went public to get the info out for others to use this year, in the hopes that someone would ask questions or express interest. I'm still waiting! Big O (talk) 13:42, 12 February 2016 (PST)

Can someone tell me how to go public please?

Hi! It looks like you're off to a good start. I'm not sure what you mean by "go public"? If you want, this page can be moved to something like Semi-automated gravity fed drip irrigation. I see it's a work in progress, though, so maybe you want to leave it here for awhile? I like that you have included information on trial and error and thought out a lot of questions. One recommendation, since you state that low cost is important, is to list the cost for parts; for example. If you need anything, please message me. --Ethan (talk) 20:21, 21 February 2016 (PST)
Thank you for the kind words, at least I know now that I'm on the right track. I don't want to include costs, because I used parts meant for a pressurized system, this makes them overly expensive. I'm searching for 3D printed alternatives and will continue to update. :-)

Please feel free to comment, I'd love to know you're out there.

looking good[edit source]


I will be suggesting this to students next semester to test, iterate and implement! --Lonny (talk) 12:58, 24 May 2016 (PDT)

OMG, thank you Lonny! That is my only real purpose in creating it. Please have them look at my web site also. It contains my ideas to change the world by combining simple tech with homesteading to create automated solutions. :-)

Are there any other professors who'd like to join us? There are so many simple answers to impossible questions, they're only waiting to be found.

Now that I know I've reached someone I'll continue adding to it! If you could only see the grin on my face atm.

I am so glad to hear that. I am also interested in seeing if there is a design that can be implemented for Swale (early article, recent HuffPost video).
You might also be interested in requesting parts made at Requests for 3-D printable open source appropriate technology.
Enjoy! --Lonny (talk) 14:35, 29 August 2016 (PDT)

Thank you Lonny[edit source]

I appreciate your kind words, but I'd like a follow up please! If no one took my idea for their project, I can accept that. What I'd like you to know though is that I'm willing to work with any group. Anything they'd like to try, I'd be willing to create it (as long as they explain how) to see the project through to it's usefulness. It specifically needs computer people such as Networking, Linux server and programming with DB, Rasp Pi and Ubunbtu Phone skills, app or site to follow individual plants real time, home (or garden) automation, 3d printing and drawing, robotics, artificial intelligence maybe. Sensors to report things like drip frequency, ground moisture levels (possibly at various levels), and more (I'll add to this as I think of more.It has many many intricate problems, but each is relatively simple, but not thought out yet. With WLAN and location it would be possible to have roving cameras (possibly actual robots.

What I want to show with this is that many people could answer small pieces little by little, each individual addition is only somewhat linked with other ideas. which allows people in various parts of the world to each do their part and so perfect for a WIKI. I believe it would be a homesteaders dream to be able to plant a vegetable garden and then let it manage its self, even tells you when things are ripe.

As an example: If I put a step motor (or equivalent) at the plant, along with sensors, what's the most inexpensive way to get the info to and from the server? Maybe IoT? Simply drip automation is the one step which could, for almost no money, be regulated and monitored without people.

Most importantly, this could, if designed properly, be done for under $1.00 per plant.

Please tell me how to make my project more interesting? I'd be happy to answer any questions, with video if that helps!

Solving this problem would, in my opinion, do a great deal toward making homesteading efficient, while putting a big dent in the Zero Hunger timetable. PLEASE contact me!

—The preceding unsigned comment was added by Big O, 06:28, 23 November 2016

Hi Big O,
My Engr305 class starts in January. You can see some of the projects here - Engr305 Appropriate Technology Projects. That class does not usually do IoT work, but I will suggest it to class. I will also show them this page and offer this project up as a possible project. I added your page to the potential project list at Engr305 Appropriate Technology potential projects. Feel free to add more context.
Thanks! --Lonny (talk) 17:13, 23 November 2016 (PST)
Thank you Lonny, I couldn't ask for more!
I want to make one point before January, the IoT part is only an option. I originally saw this as a building block project to begin simply as a dripper which is computer controlled, but can be expanded with sensors and controllers of various types when time and requirements call for them. The first and utmost priority is that a low budget version be created which could be deployed in great number to feed entire villages at low cost. All the rest is fluff which can be added to enhance automation at a reasonable price. As IoT comes down in price it will eventually become the way to go, but the beginning should be modest.
:-) Big O --Big O (talk) 16:00, 14 December 2016 (CET)

A Challenge[edit source]

Dear students,
If you're reading this, consider yourself challenged!
[1] Follow this link to find out more!
The #GlobalGoalsClub challenge is looking for people interested in bringing about change in the world and it begins here. Please accept my garden idea and make it awesome. I'd be happy to work with you
in any way I can, I have a small Greenhouse and am retired, so have time. What I don't have is your intelligence or your ingenuity.
:-) Big O --Big O (talk) 15:27, 02 January 2017 (CET)
Hi again, whoever is reading this.
I thought it might be good to explain my motivation in creating this article, my challenge. For years I've carried water to the plants in my garden and considered how I could eliminate steps, reduce repetitive work and simplify the production of veggies to the point where I could plant them the let my garden take care of them until ripe. Oh, what a wonderful dream, but I believe I've found the way to do it relatively inexpensively using todays low cost technology and the old fashioned plant in the ground. I know that Aquaponics or Hydroponics may or may not be better, but until we've tried we won't know, hence my idea.
I ask you to try my idea and simplify it, prove that a garden can be run without human intervention at a small price. If the parts can be created from recycled plastic and the cost of automation held to a bare minimum that these gardens could be created anywhere where water can be collected.
I believe you will prove that it's possible to make hundreds of these gardens in villages where help is needed, to provide a source of vitamin rich food to the poorest of the poor. If we combined this project with modern water gathering and storage along with 3d printing and all the other things possible today, that we will change the world. If these people can be fed, they'll not only be able to survive, but to send their children to school and bring home food for them. We can stop their need to try to find a better life somewhere else, because there's no place like home, when home can provide enough food and money, enough to educate my children, the world will find peace.
And you were a part of it!
:-) Big O --Big O (talk) 17:30, 15 January 2017 (CET)
I assume the class didn't like my idea and left it. Don't give up on the idea, my next improvement is on it's way. I'd love to hear some feedback to help improve my chance of being accepted in the future.
:-) Big O --Big O (talk) 11:50, 07 February 2017 (CET)

A call to Lonny[edit source]

Hi Lonny, I don't know if you're still monitoring this, but I want to contact you! It's time the world start talking about the SDGs and the progress our youth is making in reaching them. I'd like to have your students do a demonstration or presentation or even a live interview. The idea is being tossed around and I'd like to do a piece about Appropedia and as many projects as we can find demos for. Would you be interested?

I don't have more specific info now, just in the planning phase and searching for stories.

:-) Big O --Big O (talk) 11:20, 03 October 2017 (CET)

Another try![edit source]

I asked the mayor to let me make a Walipini with Syrian refugees, his advisor didn't like it, sooo I went to school! In 2016 I made a garden in a grade school near me and go there every Wednesday morning to give kids the chance to be in the garden. They come out screaming with joy, I believe they enjoy it. The problem is it's 1-4 grade and we have limited time and resources, worst yet, no teacher interest. I tried another school named Martin Luther King, I thought I was in the perfect place, here they'll understand the importance of the SDGs. Wrong, I believe the kids would have no problem, but getting the teaching staff to see the point or to believe in the necessity was beyond me. Their white privilege has them putting blinders on the kids, teaching them to ignore the truth around them and keeping the status quo. They teach kids to make money, not search for answers.

I'm asking you again Lonny Grafman, to get your students into the search. With simple answers such as Appropedia creates we could create world peace. If we give the poor work (plastic collection, sorting, cleaning, grinding and reforming) give them the by-product (3d printer ribbons and printers and much more), we allow them to rise into a better existence. One where they can feed and dress their children, allow them to go to school and become productive. It would stop the need for migration, or worse yet, child labor, fathers going off to war, over population and soooo many other things the SDGs are meant to stamp out. All we need to do is begin! The question is where?

I decided in 2015 when I heard about the SDGs that I wan't going to wait for somebody else to begin, I was going to be that somebody. I created this wiki in the hopes of it spreading to kids, to give them food for thought, then began the hunt for a school willing to take a chance. I tried going to the youth center, but again there are adults blocking the way, making the change seemingly impossible. I believe you and I are on a similar wavelength, we both want to see to it that the future of mankind has a reference to keep itself going when the going gets tough, and we both know it's coming. Please Lonny, read through my wiki, give it to your students and ask them to fill holes. To use their minds in ways which may never make money, but could easily be the missing link in our search for peace on earth.

2030 is now only 10 years away and we've missed 5 years of chances for change. I beg you to hear me!

Thank you for your time, I only hope this reaches you desktop. Kind regards Big O

:-) Big O --Big O (talk) 12:35, 05 January 2020 (CET)
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