Asheboro kid advances to Regional Science Fair for exploring irrigation systems for basil plants – Asheboro Courier Tribune


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Science Fair Tanush Sriram photo

ASHEBORO - South Asheboro Middle School student Tanush Sriram won 1st Place in the school School Science Fair for his project studying irrigation systems for basil plants. He'll be advancing to the Regional Science Fair on February 25th, where he'll be competing in the Technology category for his Arduino-based device.

Tanush discusses his project with the Courier-Tribune:

Q: Describe your project. 

A: My project is an Arduino-based automatic irrigation system. I compared the effects of localized and drip irrigation methods on the growth and development of basil plants. This project is a continuation of my last year’s project, where I compared Arduino-based automatic localized irrigation to manual irrigation. The automatic irrigation system was a success! This year, I wanted to see if I could improve my project by adding Arduino-based automatic drip irrigation to my setup and compare it to the Arduino-based Localized irrigation system to test which method of irrigation is more efficient and better for plant growth. In the localized method, when the soil moisture sensor detects the soil to be dry, the water pump in the setup automatically turns on and supplies the plant with water. In the drip irrigation method, drops of water are constantly supplied to the roots of the plants. After the experimental period, I was able to observe benefits like less water wastage, consistent plant growth, and improved plant health when using Drip irrigation.

Q: What has your experience with the science fair been like?

A: This is my second consecutive year of doing the science fair. Overall, I love it! I would definitely recommend this extracurricular activity to any science enthusiast. The participants are so friendly and welcoming and we are all able to connect over our love for science. Another cool thing is the opportunity to see other participants’ projects and being able to educate ourselves on a variety of topics.

Q:  What inspired you to pursue this project?

A: One main reason for creating an efficient irrigation system is to help my family water the plants and keep them thriving for long periods of time. And those who are blessed with a green thumb can use this when they are going out of town or on vacation. Also, my mom has always wanted a garden and I thought that if I made this, she could benefit from it as she always forgot to water the plants.

Q:  What impact do you hope your project will have?

A: I did this project to help others in their gardening endeavors when they are out of town, or if they are not aware of proper irrigation techniques, or if they are just forgetful, like me. Another advantage is water conservation. When watering the basil plant manually, I was either giving the plant too much or too little water. Too much water causes roots of the plant to rot and too little water will cause the plant to wilt. This Arduino-based system was successful in maintaining the turgor of the plant and if the water wastage is minimal, then it can positively help the environment.

Q: What impact could your project have in Randolph County?

A: I hope to share my project with others to get more feedback and find ways to improve it. Automatic irrigation systems are inexpensive to implement, they help to conserve water, help plants to thrive, and help to control weeds. I would like to see Randolph County become a green and beautiful place to live and become leaders in environmental stewardship.

Read more: Randolph County Schools among few cited in House Bill for in-person learning

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Michelle Shen is an Economic and Data Reporter for The Courier Tribune. Feel free to reach out to her with story tips on Twitter (michelle_shen10), Instagram (pretty_photos_by_michelle OR michelle_shen10), or email ([email protected]).

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