Here is a computer controlled growing tool called the FarmBot Genesis. It is a computer controlled farming robot which can be used to get the most out of each plot by controlling exactly where each seed is put, how much water it gets and it even can seek and destroy weeds. All using magnetic heads that the system can change itself.
Although it is a tad expensive, *cough*, at just under £3K, it does show what technology can do to help us. As it is opensource the plans and software are available for free so those with a DIY bent can build their own.
It’s limitation from what I can see is that the frame needs to encompass the area it is covering which is fine for small areas and as you can see FarmBot Genesis covers up to 1.5M x 3M as designed. This is going to be OK for us with our backgarden requirements but for the future I have no doubt that they are already working on bigger versions for those with bigger gardens, smallholdings and larger bits of land. I suspect we will have free ranging robots doing the dirty work when we come to large farms but the principle will be the same with computer controlled growing. Silent Running is getting closer. All we need to do is put the right seeds in the dispenser. This is where it will go wrong.
The whole thing is controlled by a Raspberry Pi and they even have plans that will allow you to wire the whole thing up to solar panels so that it will even work offgrid. They are currently working on making additions to it in areas such as new heads and as it is opensource you can design your own changes so more will be available as some bright sparks get involved.
Expensive but anything that will take a bit of tedious work off us must be worth a look. Who is good at building their own equipment? I’m thinking of building my own as a project.