Majors Represented: Civil/Structural, Computer Science, Electrical, Environmental, Mechanical, Other
Years Represented: 1st Year Undergrad, 2nd Year Undergrad, 3rd Year Undergrad, 4th Year Undergrad
Estimated Project Cost: 2000
Funding Source: Project Grant
Community Partners: PSU Student farm
Project Description & Impact:
The goal of the hydroponic vertical farm project is to create an automated vertical garden system that relies on the use of water to grow plant roots. The structure of the vertical farm will be constructed as an A-frame structure with pressure-treated wood. The structure will hold 5 foot long PVC pipes with holes drilled every 3 inches for the plants to sit in. There will be 4 layers of PVC on each side of the A-frame, holding 80 plants in total.
A raspberry pi will be used to automate the system by controlling solenoid valves which allow the flow of water into and out of the system. One solenoid per layer, per end of PVC, will be used. The raspberry pi will also be used to control the water pump. Water will be pumped into the system and held in the PVC pipes for 10 minutes at a time. The plants will be able to consume water in that time span, then the valves on the other side will open to allow the water to return back to the reservoir. The pump will be connected using a garden hose and “Y” splitters used to accommodate each layer of PVC.
There are many aspects of the plants that will be monitored, most importantly the pH. The pH will be read using a pH monitor and then adjusted using a food-grade pH adjuster intended for plant use. Base fertilizer increases pH, while acid-base decreases pH. The temperature of the water will be occasionally measured, however, we are not expecting the temperature to have a large variation because we will be growing in a greenhouse. We intend to keep a record of these measured aspects of the plants.
Our original intention was to power the system using solar panels. However, after inspection of the greenhouse space we have provided to us, this will not be the case. When we are finished with the project, we intend on giving the system to a local family. At that point, we will incorporate the solar panels so the family can have an energy-efficient hydroponic garden.