Some pictures and some small improvements

A project log for Soil moisture monitoring in a flower garden

When do your flowers have enough water, and how do you know?

joseph-eoffJoseph Eoff 07/19/2021 at 21:350 Comments

The soil moisture data collection is still running.  I haven't been looking at the data much, though.

We've had a lot of rain in the last weeks.  Not every day, but often enough that I don't have to worry about the flower garden at all.  It rains on and off for a couple of days,  then we get some sunshine, then the whole thing repeats.

The control nodes have been driving me bonkers.  They've gotten to where they hang up.  I check the raw data a couple of times a day.  Sometimes, I'll find that the one control or the other (or both) haven't been sending data.  I have to go out and cycle power on the misbehaving ones, and then things are OK for a couple of days.

I've been meaning to see if I could improve the error handling, but never got around to it - until today.

Someone on the Earth Sciences stackexchange asked about ways to measure the rain intensity without measuring rain fall volume, so I mentioned the way the rain interferes with reading my soil moisture sensors.  We chatted a bit, and I realized that I really ought to be collecting the received signal strength indications (RSSI) from the sensors' Bluetooth communications and from the control node WiFi communications.

That gave me the needed boost to sit down and dig out the MudPy code and have at it.

Implementing the RSSI functions was pretty straight forward, as was updating the two control nodes.  The hard part was getting the server to actually use the new code.  I had forgotten how the webserver and the mqtt client worked.  It took me a while to realize that I needed to restart the uWSGI server and the mudpy-MQTT client demon as well as the nginx webserver.

The server is updated now, and I've got RSSI data showing up for the sensors and the control nodes.

I was going to put a plot with RSSI data in here, but it looks like it's going to take another one hour poll cycle to get all 16 sensors in a single data set.  I'm not going to wait that long - it is time to shut things down and catch some shuteye.


In case any of y'all are interested, here's what the garden currently looks like:

The tulips are long gone and the lavender is starting to fade.
In trade, the dahlias are blooming as well as the little teacup roses. The summer lilac is also starting to blossom. 

The shrubs along the front edge have little pink blossoms as well.  We planted some climbing flowery things at the foot of the posts holding the control nodes.  You can't see them yet, but we hope they'll eventually grow up the posts and make them look less like sore, industrial thumbs.

The garden has a mixture of things that blossom at different times so that we get a changing mix of colors and blossoms.  It keeps things from getting too boring.

When we set things out last year, it looked kind of bare.  The folks we bought the plants from told us that it was fine, though.  The plants would spread and look better in the second year.  They've done that.  The lavender and the little rose bushes are spreading like mad.