farmee.OS public alpha released (for free!)

Things have been super quiet in our blog recently, but for the best of reasons: we have been busy preparing our first ever download package of farmee.OS! And here it is, available for free. Use it, hack it, do what you want with it. But please: tell us about it! We‘re dying to know what kinds of farms will be built using farmee.OS. You can drop us a line anytime, maybe with a pretty picture of you and your own farm? Don’t be shy, you look fabulous! Please send it to – we‘d deeply appreciate it!

What is it and what can I do with it?

farmee.OS is a software platform controlling vertical farms – or any other farm or garden using software and sensors. You might even water your kitchen herbs using farmee.OS. It is super easy to install and requires nothing but a decently new Raspberry Pi running Debian 9 (because our installer uses docker).

This is how the GUI actually looks like

What kind of vertical farm are we talking about here?

Any kind. It can already be useful if all you wanna do is water a single plant with nothing but a small water pump, but a truly useful application would include a couple of sensors and actuators.You might have seen our blog post about our grow racks, which are successfully running farmee.OS for quite some time now.

How do I install it? I know nothing about computers!

The installer does everything for you, it installs the application itself, a webserver for the user interface, a mysql database and a php server. One might say that is overkill for a lot of applications, but it makes things a little more future proof for us. Everything is installed on your rapsberry pi, so you won’t even need a working internet connection for anything else then the installation process. You can read more about the installation process in the readme file of the download package.


Which sensors are supported?

We‘ve included drivers for everything we use at the moment, specifically:

  • Adafruit DHT22 (temperature and humidity)
  • AtlasScientificPH
  • AtlasScientificEC
  • PowermeterImpulse
  • TSL2561 (Ambient Light)
  • WaterLevel

Again, nothing too fancy, a lot of them might be swapped to higher quality sensors at a later point in time, but for the moment, they just work.

What kind of actuators are supported?

At the moment, all actuating is done using the GPIO class. It is a very simple switch, turning an actuator either on or off. The only question is: when and for how long? This is why we implemented two types of timers: one is called TimerInterval and turns on an actuator for a given time every couple of minutes/hours/days, for example it might activate a water pump for 15 seconds every hour. The other is called TimerSwitch and turns an actuator on and off once a day, for example a light which is activated at 6am and switched off at 10pm. Every actuator can have multiple timers, of course.

Where is the intelligence? I want my control loops!

Sure, so do we. And you can have them, just not now. They will be among the next things we’ll introduce to farmee.OS in the next release. Until then, a lot of testing will be necessary as well as finding a proper GUI-representation for all use cases. Control loops are both straightforward as well as pretty complicated, so we decided to skip them for this release.

Why did you write it for the raspberry? This is a shitty device!

You‘re probably right, but it is affordable for a lot of people. And at this stage, we‘d rather help a lot of people with not so much money than writing another software for rich kids with flashy farms. All joking aside: farmee.OS is meant to facilitate small-scale urban farms, operated by ordinary people. Expensive hardware helps, but shouldn‘t be an obstacle for people trying to enter the world of vertical farming. In the long run, farmee.OS is meant to be hardware-independent, offering you the highest degree of flexiblity and the same ease of use. Get shit growing!

For now, all we can add is: we hope farmee.OS makes your life a little easier and if your plants die: please don’t blame us!