The Western View: Farmbot

Taylor HillmanFeatures, Western View


A gentlemen from San Louis Obispo wants to change how people garden, and may change how you farm. He’s built a machine that takes the work out of gardening and puts the precision in. It’s a farm bot and I need one.

I used to love having a home garden. Growing really good peppers and tomatoes gave me a lot of joy, and the simple act of going outside and picking my lunch was very satisfying. But over the years this simple joy gave way to other things that take less effort, especially in the heat. Come summer, the last thing I want to do is weed and water a home garden, especially since there’s a farm stand down the road with great produce at great prices, and all I have to do is go pick it up.

Well, Rory Aronson may be changing all that. He’s taking the work out of growing things, with a device that knows when and how to plant, when and where to water, and hunts down and eradicates weeds without a single chemical – and without the gardener lifting a finger.

Rory is the CEO of Farmbot. He says his invention is a “giant 3-D printer, but instead of a plastic extruder, its tools are seed injectors, watering nozzles, plows, sensors and more.”

This giant printer sits on two rails. Below it is the prepared soil. The home Farmbot is about 6 feet wide by 10 feet long, but these distances are scalable. His machine could farm an acre, and in theory could farm a level section of land.

It performs nearly the entire gardening process prior to harvesting. To use it, you set up the controlling software on your computer or cell phone. It works a lot like the old Facebook game Farmville – you determine where and what you want to plant. With the interface you plan out your garden, trying different configurations and plant arrangements, then purchase the seeds and set up your Farmbot. It takes over, and the Farmbot plants your seeds then waters each plant precisely on a set schedule. It monitors the weather conditions, and regularly goes out to pulverize any weeds that spring up. It finds the weeds by evaluating photos of the farm, and recognizing any plants that are growing in the wrong places.

You can order your farmbot off their website at <>.

I’m Len Wilcox and that’s the Western View from AgNet West.