Jim Fah - Inventor
How It Got Started
Jim always believed that there must be a simpler way of growing plants in pots. It was with this belief that he invented the AutoPot® technology and evolved the various aspects of growing with AutoPot™ Systems over the last 3 decades. Now, it is one of the most efficient watering and feeding systems available.
AutoPot® Systems first started in 1986, and was awarded the Australian Royal Agriculture Gold Medal in 1988 and 1992, it also holds many other honours from various countries, and multiple patents across the world.
Jim’s idea started when he was growing Gloxinias in pots whilst having to make frequent travels for work. Each time he returned, he found several of his plants were not doing well despite having taught someone to look after them during his absence. Thus led to the key point of Jim's approach to the invention – which is to have each plant determining its own water and feed requirements. If there are 100 pot plants, the watering and feeding system should be designed so that each gets watered according to the individual plant's needs - the "Plant Driven" concept. If each plant is treated in such a way, the frequency of watering will be more uniquely tailored to that plant giving them a better chance to grow well.
Initially, Jim trialled with electronics to automatically water the plants using moisture sensors within the growing medium. The prototype worked, but was not really practical due to both the frequency of battery replacement and high cost. Another problem was that all the plants were receiving the same amount of water. Some plants did really well, most were pretty average and some just would not grow properly. This has a lot to do with delivering the average requirements of plants like conventional irrigation technology rather than their individual needs. Following on from these trials, to scale it up, if every pot plant had to be wired with a sensor, imagine having to cater for a couple of hundred pot plants!...not so practical, therefore the idea took a different direction to implement.
Today, AutoPot® Systems revolves around the mechanical solution of the Smart-valve which has been refined over the last 3 decades to incorporate advancements in reliability and features to offer the Plant Driven concept to growing plants!
"What we have discovered so far with the AutoPot® Systems is only the tip of the iceberg. Its fullest potential is yet to be realised. Through 30 years of research and innovation, we are still learning new applications and refining processes for plant driven watering and feeding systems to ultimately bring the joy of growing and producing yields to feed the world!" ~ Jim Fah