There are three main considerations when choosing what to plant with FarmBot:
The most optimal crops for FarmBot are small to medium in size and grow in a relatively predictable shape. For example: Kale, Spinach, Lettuce, Arugula, Chard, Beets, and Bok Choy.
Tall crops such as Corn or Sunflowers that exceed the gantry height of approximately 0.5m cannot currently be grown in a FarmBot’s bed. However, they may be grown nearby and tended to by FarmBot through peripherals. Extra solenoid valves could be added and controlled similar to the ideas shown in Mods and Add-Ons.
Crops that grow in an indeterminate fashion such as Watermelon may cause interference with FarmBot’s movements because the plant may grow in an unexpected direction or location. Indeterminate crops may also cause issues with weed detection, with the potential to significantly hinder performance or create false detections. Vining plants such as Tomatoes may grow to interfere with FarmBot’s tracks and gantry system, causing a hardware jam.
You will need to choose crops that are well suited for your geographic location, FarmBot location, soil conditions, and the time of year. Specific things to consider include:
- Sun requirements (full sun, partial sun, etc)
- Optimal soil properties (well draining, high carrying capacity, etc)
- Minimum and maximum temperatures
- Threat of frost, high winds, birds, harmful insects, etc
- Planting depth
- Recommended planting season
- Transplanting/thinning needs
We recommend visiting your local nursery or hardware store and talking to an expert for your area. They will be able to recommend crops based on your conditions. If there are no experts available, use the information on the back of the seed packets and get ready to experiment!
The seeder uses a luer lock implement design, so different needle diameters can be used for various sizes of seeds. Lettuces, kale, chard seeds will all work fine. Extremely small seeds have the possibility of being sucked into the vacuum system, while very large/heavy seeds may be difficult to pick up. Remember that FarmBot can only plant seeds, so starter plants and bulbs cannot currently be used unless planted manually.
If a seed won’t work with any size of luer lock seeder needle, you can still grow it with FarmBot. Examples include tubers, bulbs, or very small seeds like those of an orchid.
You can program FarmBot to move to each location and either point or poke a hole in the ground where the next plant should be. Then, you can either drop some seeds in the hole, or dig and plant a bulb.