#growlab logo

Grow your own food with the Raspberry Pi for less than 30 dollars

#growlab is what happens when you combine nature and technology with a global community.

Everyone is welcome to join #growlab, whether you're participating in the timelapse contest, or just wanting to connect with others and Grow your own food. You'll be able to get started for under 30 dollars, less if you already own a Raspberry Pi and a camera module.

Food miles
Lab technicians
Open Source

From there, we have three experiments that you can take part in to monitor the environment and because everything's open source, you can extend and enhance any aspect of the growlab that you like and share it back with the community.

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A quick preview

Let's take a look at before and after growlab, and what kind of data you can gather from the environment.

Poor outdoor conditions can cause problems for small seedlings.
The germination rate can be affected if the weather is too cold, or if the soil dries out.
Compared to the uncontrolled conditions, a #growlab is easy to monitor and makes seeds germinate faster.
You can also monitor your environment inside and out, to understand how the weather may affect growth. Here we're using faasd to track humidity, temperature and air pressure.
Using the growlab app, you can share a live-preview every few minutes and access it from anywhere.

Improve your mental wellbeing 🌱

Learn new skills

Connect with others

Be mindful in the present moment

Give to others

We encourage everyone to share using the #growlab hashtag and to encourage one another.

Based upon 5 steps to mental wellbeing from the NHS


"Excited to start the #growlab this weekend! This project by @alexellisuk is so gosh darn awesome!"

Marty Jackson

"Take a look at @alexellisuk talking about #growlab and cool stuff you can try very quickly to Grow your own food set of food"

Florian Clanet

"This weekend I’m going to set this up courtesy of @alexellisuk's #growlab. I’ve always struggled to grow a healthy basil plant so maybe technology will help. Set up the Raspberry Pi and it’s already making me smile."

Martin Woodward

"I should be sleeping, but here we go, I'm starting progress on the frontend for my #growlab."

Felix Pojtinger

"Really liking the idea of #growlab."

Matt Saunders

"I'm not an outdoorsy person, but wow @alexellisuk and @rgee0 may have converted me to a nature lover... that and I do like to jump at any excuse to buy @pimoroni gear."

John Mccabe

"Had fun building my #growlab setup yesterday!"

Sander Vanhove

"We may not be able to smell @alexellisuk's fragrant basil, but he can show you how to build a #growlab so you can Grow your own food. #GIFEEDay "

Equinix Metal

"First stage of #growlab project almost done! I'm doing this to keep my minds positively busy and to help my wife, teacher, to let her show how seeds are growing! A(nother) good idea from @alexellisuk"

Philippe Ensarguet

"Ooooh, it's looking like we've got a runner bean root emerging on the #growlab"

Simon Emms

"Thanks, Alex! I was wrong to discount growlab, this is good fun - what a fantastic idea."

Kyle Brennan

"And we're live! Thanks to @alexellisuk, great to learn new things, also my son loves checking on his "experiment" every day!"

Keith Hubner

"The project #growlab which started by @alexellisuk is really interesting. I would suggest that my followers from Turkey to try the setup. Turkey has one of the greatest farmers and science can bring some really good results"


"Finally my solar #growlab setup! Thanks @alexellisuk for the effort you put into this project."

Sunny Morgan

"Test setup done! Still need to tune auto watering. Can't wait to see my chillies grow :)"

Peter Dongo

"One type of the tomatoes moved out of the #growlab setup to a large grow bag. It is growing really fast now. The other one bloomed yesterday."

Sergei Vasilev

Watch Alex's video introduction

Learn how the project started, what kind of community entries there have been so far, and what impact food miles can have on the environment.

Frequently asked questions

Who should take part?
growlab combines science, technology and nature. It's about community and learning, rather than about being a gardening fanatic or someone with a huge back yard. You just need a few simple components, a windowsill and an Internet connection. The rest is up to you.
What do I need?
You'll need a Raspberry Pi Zero and any compatible camera module to take part in the contest, however you can also try out the data logger without a camera using the Bosch BME280 sensor.
How much does it cost?
It's free to participate, however you may need to buy some basic equipment which should cost you around 30 USD, unless you have it already.
What experiments are available?
We have a timelapse, live-preview website and data-logger available as open-source components. You can also make your own experiments and take things further with moisture sensors and water pumps.
How did growlab start?
You can read more in Alex's blog post: Join the growlab challenge
I love this idea. How can I support it?
Take part and share your updates with the hashtag #growlab. You can also Sponsor Alex's Open Source & Community work via GitHub to say thanks.
When does growlab 2021 finish?
You can use the software whenever you like, for however long you like, but the official contest for 2021 ends Sunday 3rd October for Harvest Festival.
Who is providing prizes?
OpenFaaS Ltd and Pimoroni will provide a number of prizes for the community. If you'd like to become a commercial sponsor, please get in touch.

Get sowing today, so you can reap tomorrow! 👩‍🔬

Keep in touch with us

Subscribe to keep in touch. By providing your email, you agree to receive marketing emails from OpenFaaS Ltd