It is fair to say that there are limits to what can be done with an IoT garden, but I think the best way to start is to ask what the repetitive tasks are, what’s critical to the survival of the garden, then how could we put a system in place that can give us more awareness and control of that environment?
Hypothetically, a space is created, locals are brought in and given responsibility, they’re then given access to a website which allows them to log into a subdomain of their own space. Then the function of the website is to relate the findings of the array of sensors and to allow remote control of electronic devices in the space, for example you could have a temperature notification warning sent to the participants so that a person goes to intervene, or in a more complex set up, you could have a motor listening to the answer from the same temperature sensor and use it to trigger a relay switch, and later a motor, which opens a window to create ventilation. Perhaps a float switch in a water tank can trigger pumps to refill a growing bed. The ambition is to have an early warning system that provokes response to avoid critical failures (eg a really hot day with no windows opened) or ideally a system which then takes a given action itself.
By having multiple sites, you could observe the various spaces, then ‘put out fires’ as you notice that a given community’s space is falling into disarray.
So I see the use as being something that supplements and adds a structure to the workflow in an existing space. Some people need help regimenting the habits of a garden, so the frontend of the website and relationship to it, interactivity and shared responsibility of the users can form a community.
So to go back to the question, I see the workflow as being a group of people which use a communal tool which reminds them of the scheduling of when to plant, when to harvest, forms a space for them to share and delegate the tasks, has the facility for people to join, then all the while can do things to influence the outcome of the produce.
We’re far from the point of being able to automate it all on a budget, but today we could make an affordable system and platform, which, with the right implementation, could then serve as a vehicle which allows people to take inexperienced gardeners, give them an apprenticeship of sorts with a system that’d help them to learn, not to make the bigger of the mistakes gardening wise and hopefully end up closer to self sufficient.