What does Demeter do?
Demeter is an online resource that helps gardeners make better decisions based on their microclimates. With Demeter, gardeners can easily choose the right species and cultivars to grow at the right times. In the near future, I hope to add notifications that will alert gardeners that something they’re growing is in danger from forecasted weather conditions.
The short term goal of Demeter is to inform people about what to plant in their gardens and when to plant it. In addition, I want Demeter to allow people to automate many gardening tasks such as checking weather reports for frost or high temperatures, and getting notifications when these events are forecast.
Longer term, I’d like Demeter to be able to help computers understand the science of growing food. Much of the knowledge needed to garden well is in the hands of people or available only in books. Computers have the potential to automate drudgery and improve yields, all with less human effort or know-how.
Each of the services that Demeter uses is available in a public API that allows computer programs to learn about what makes plants grow well, and to access the same climate-based recommendations that the site makes available. This makes it simpler for people who are already building gardening technology to improve the user-friendliness or effectiveness of their projects.
All of this sums up to making the job of the gardener and farmer just a little bit easier.
Making gardening easier will lower the bar that prevents many people from giving it a try, which will in turn bring the benefits of growing food to more people.
I haven’t ironed out all the details, but I’d like Demeter to provide many of the following:
- A garden planner and monitor
- A step by step growing-guide for each species
- Market value information
- Nutritional / food value information
- Species and pest information
As a gardener myself, I get a kick out of building tools that allow me to get more out of my backyard garden. I experiment frequently with hydroponic systems, and have built a range of devices that automate or control parts of the growing cycle. I’m planning on posting more about my own gardening efforts shortly. In the meantime enjoy Demeter, and let me know about how I can improve it.
It’s just me working on this project at the moment, and I want to know how to make Demeter as useful a gardening tool as your trowel.