Protect your veggies from hail with a Raspberry Pi Zero W

Tired of losing vegetable crops to frequent summertime hail storms, Nick Rogness decided to build something to protect them. And the result is brilliant!

“I live in a part of the country where hail and severe weather are commonplace during the summer months,” Nick explains in his Hackster tutorial. “I was getting frustrated every year when my wife’s garden was get demolished by the nightly hail storms losing our entire haul of vegetable goodies!”

Nick drew up plans for a solution to his hail problem, incorporating liner actuators bolted to a 12ft × 12ft frame that surrounds the vegetable patch. When a storm is on the horizon, the actuators pull a heavy-duty tarp over the garden.

Nick connected two motor controllers to a Raspberry Pi Zero W. The Raspberry Pi then controls the actuators to pull the tarp, either when a manual rocker switch is flipped or when it’s told to do so via weather-controlled software.

“Software control of the garden was accomplished by using a Raspberry Pi and MQTT to communicate via Adafruit IO to reach the mobile app on my phone,” Nick explains. The whole build is powered by a 12V Marine deep-cycle battery that’s charged using a solar panel.

You can view the full tutorial on Hackster, including the code for the project.


Colin Tinker avatar

I want one :-)

Knah htims avatar


Anders avatar

It might also be able to defend against ravenous birds, though the slugs will not be too troubled.

I’m interested to know why an up and over design was chosen like a car convertible roof, rather than unrolling the sheet horizontally off a roller like a swimming pool cover? I’m guesting some plants might grow a bit higher than the cover?

Shin avatar

Looks so good

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