So, how do moisture sensors work and why does the soil’s moisture level matter? These days, more and more people are finding themselves growing heavily reliant on technology. Even in gardening, the invention of moisture sensors has become a helpful tool for farmers and home gardeners in determining their soil’s level of moisture.
Water plays a vital role in the growth and survival of many plants and when your plants receive less of it, plant stress can result and if left unaddressed, this could immediately lead to reduced yield and eventually, plant death. If you’re gardening for profit, this is the worst that can happen to you. To make sure that your plants receive the right water it needs at the right time, it may be better to consider using a moisture sensor.
What are the 3 Types of Motion Sensors and How Do They Work?
Moisture content is important especially in the agriculture sector as farmers keep a close eye on the management of their irrigation system which ensures that their crops are getting the right amount of water every day. Soil moisture sensors, as the name implies, detects the level of moisture or water content of the soil. It uses either the electrical resistance, dielectric constant, or the interaction of neutrons in the soil as the basis of the soil’s moisture content.
The three most common types of moisture sensors are volumetric, tensiometric, and solid-state sensors. Here’s how they work:
Volumetric moisture sensors
Volumetric sensors work by measuring the soil’s water content directly. It’s most commonly used in agricultural research or in farms that cultivate high-value crops where there is a need for an accurate report of soil moisture level. Volumetric sensors have a lot of different types of moisture sensors including neutron moisture probes, heat dissipation sensors, and dielectric sensors.
Among those, the most common type of volumetric moisture sensors used in the field is the di-electric sensors. These sensors measure the soil’s water content by using the dielectric constant, or the soil bulk permittivity, of the soil. When the water volume of the soil increases, the dielectric constant would also increase and when the constant decreases, it would translate to lesser water levels in the soil.
Tensiometric moisture sensors
Since soil retains water either through tension or adhesion, tensiometers offer an accurate way for gardeners to measure the soil moisture level of their soil as it measures the tension between water and soil particles. With tensiometers, the higher the reading that is reflected on the gauge, the drier the soil is.
Tensiometric moisture sensors have a tube that is filled with water. When the probe is inserted in the soil near the plant’s roots, the water will leave the tube and into the soil through the probe’s porous ceramic tip. Once the moisture inside and outside the tube soil matches, it will create a reading which will reflect the level of your soil’s moisture.
When the soil is dry, the plants will have to exert more effort to absorb what little water is left in the soil and this will be reflected on your tensiometer’s gauge.
Solid-state sensors primarily work by measuring the soil’s electrical resistance through electrical probes that are inserted in the soil. Solid-state moisture sensors consist of two probes that create an electrical interaction within the soil. Essentially, when there is more water, there would be less electrical resistance since the current can easily pass through it; when there is less water, the electrical resistance will be higher.
Solid-state sensors are the most inexpensive type of moisture sensors available in the market. However, when used in arid areas, the solid-state moisture sensors won’t be able to provide an accurate reading. Certain factors such as high salinity levels and elevated salt concentration in the soil could disrupt the workings of the electrical sensors of the probes which can lead to inaccurate soil moisture readings.
Benefits of Growing Plants Inside a Greenhouse
Greenhouses are one of the best places to grow plants because of the plethora of benefits it offers. Most plants grown in a greenhouse are often more productive than those that are grown in a garden.
Here are the other benefits of growing plants inside a greenhouse:
Increased crop yield
With greenhouses, you’ll have full control of the internal environment. This means that you will be able to tweak the temperature, humidity, and light according to the needs of your plant. As a result, plants grown in an optimal environment would develop and grow better leading to more crop yield.
Better protection for your crops
Greenhouses are usually with a plastic film or fiberglass which protects the plants from the extreme heat or strong winds. This minimizes the risk of your plants dying from any climatic factors. Aside from that, the enclosure can also protect your plants from the dangers brought about by pests and disease infestations.
Extended growing season
Since greenhouses offer people with full control of the internal environment, another bonus is that they can extend the growing period of their crops. You can extend the growing season of a warm-season plant throughout winter by putting it in your greenhouse and controlling the environment so it would generate enough warmth for your plant to continue producing flowers or fruits.
Conclusion: How do Moisture Sensors Work?
Moisture sensors come in a lot of varieties and the answer to the question, “how do moisture sensors work?” really depends on the type of sensor. Some measure the soil tension while others use the soil’s electrical resistance. No matter what type you choose, a moisture sensor can be a great tool you can use to determine your soil’s moisture level to make sure that your plants will receive the right level of hydration that they need.