Sophisticated remote monitoring systems are used widely in commercial greenhouses to help growers maintain the right balance of temperature, humidity, light and soil moisture in order to optimize growing conditions. Affordable remote monitoring systems with similar functionality are also available for amateur gardeners who want to get the most out of their home greenhouses.
In a backyard greenhouse, a remote monitoring system can provide 24/7 monitoring of important variables such as:
- Relative humidity
- CO2 levels
- Power status
- Soil moisture
- Zone water presence
One of the most popular features of a remote monitoring system is the autodialer. Because greenhouse growing requires a lot of care and attention, many gardeners worry about leaving their home greenhouses unattended when they’re away on weekends or vacations. It is during these absences that a remote monitoring system can act as your home greenhouse “babysitter.” If the conditions in the greenhouse fluctuate outside your set points, the remote monitoring system notifies you immediately that there is a problem via a phone call, text message or email (note that the form of notification varies, depending upon the model).
A remote monitoring system can also provide real-time status reports. Anytime you are away and wondering if everything is OK in your home greenhouse, you can call in to the system for an update on conditions.
In choosing the right remote monitoring system for your home greenhouse, you will want to consider these key factors:
- The communications capabilities at your greenhouse site (landline, Internet or cell phone connection)
- The form of alarm delivery you prefer to receive (phone call, text or email)
- Your notification contact list (how many people, phone numbers or computers you want to be contacted when there is a problem)
- The number of conditions you want to monitor (see above list)
- The number conditions you want to control (such as turning a fan on and off)
- Data logging requirements (which is typically more important for commercial operations)
- Need for wireless or hardwired sensors (very large greenhouse generally require wireless sensors, whereas most home greenhouses can use hardwired sensors)
- Your budget (prices start at around $400)
Remote monitoring system equipment is easy to set up and is designed to be customized. You can pick and choose the specific sensors you need for controlling and monitoring the environment in your home greenhouse. Based on the main monitoring unit you chose, there are many accessories you can add later on.
With so many remote monitoring systems to choose from, it’s easy to find one that satisfies your criteria. And because a remote monitoring system is a standalone solution, it will communicate directly with you, eliminating the need for a central service or reliance on an outside computer or server.