Helping our Office Plant with an Arduino (Part 1)

I always search for new ideas of nice and simple M2M or Internet of Things (IoT) examples. Last month I came up with a great idea: I came to our office and saw the plant next to my desk, and it had only a few leaves. I thought that maybe we did not water this plant often enough? I wanted to change it. Would it not be nice if the plant waters itself or at least sends a message?

How can I measure the soil moisture?

I thought about this idea and my first question was, how I can measure the soil moisture with simple tools. Luckily the answer was only one google search away. I just had to stick two nails or some kind of long and thin metal sticks into the soil and connect it with an Arduino, just like this:

However, I did not have any nails in my office and I decided to use two paper clips instead. My colleagues looked a little bit confused after I connected the Arduino with our dying plant. This was my first try:

And with a few lines of code, I got my first readings.
void setup()

void loop()
  Serial.print("Soil moisture: ");

Until now, it is nothing new. There are already some Arduino gardening examples on the internet with a light and a temperature sensor or with a pump which starts automatically when the soil is dry, but we do need something more for an M2M solution. I have to connect it somehow with a network.

Next Steps

In our office, we have some GBoards and those are Arduino based boards with a built-in GSM modem. This will help to connect it to the M2M Developer Platform, which is a cloud-based M2M application platform. Have a look at the M2M Developer Community which is a part of Developer Garden. Here you can find the GBoard, the Developer Platform and some other interesting things about M2M and the Internet of Things.