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Upgradable Automated/Connected Indoor Garden

Hello guys, I have been around for more than two years now, I learned a lot from you and this is my turn to give back to the community and to share my project. As this is my first instructables ever, I call on your mercy :).
A little bit of presentation about myself, I am a 21 years old student in last year of electronical engineering in France. My whole life I have seen my family being passionated about the garden, taking care of plants and spending several hours a week cleaning, planting and doing some other stuffs inside of it. As a kid I did not really have any interests ofr the gardening at all, it felt so boring as if it was missing something. But nowadays with my experience of technologies, I found the missing part and I changed my mind.
I find incredible, to “improve life” like this, and along with some technology behind it, it’s the perfect playground for me. The main motivation is to create an affordable automated/connected Indoor Garden that is able to adjust the light and autonomously water the plants, when they need it. Coming from my scientific background, I wanted to be able to record the data, analyse and process it, in order to optimize the parameters and boost the production as well as avoid issues such as illnesses.
This will be done by collecting data coming from sensors then use some actuators to autonomously act on the plants environment. As I am travelling a lot from home for my studies, I wanted to make a connected Garden so I could access the current data from wherever I am in the world, and interact with the system using my computer or my smartphone.
In this instructables I will present two differents systems, both based on the idea of a connected/autonomous Indoor Garden and using almost the same hardware setup. It will start from an “easy” version connected to an application already developped (Blynk app) to access your data directly on your phone, to a more complete project where we will get rid of the blynk app and create our own server and dashboard using node red, raspberry pi and the IoT protocol MQTT. As a third part of the instructables we will make upgrades and optimisation of our system, from pure esthetic to higher levels of security.
This project might seems complicated as well as a bit scary at first because of the number of steps presented and the diverse languages / components /technologies that we wil use. But the making process is cut into small steps, that are understandable and will give you a fully working project with high comprehension of what you just made and further links if in each steps with more informations on how to act.
Don’t hesitate to ask detailed questions, I will try my best to answer each day.
I will try my best to explain the principles used in this instructables, in order to make the project as easy as possible for beginners and as rich as possible for more experienced makers.
Let’s get started!”

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