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First attempt at flasking

This is a discussion on First attempt at flasking within the Flasking Equipment & Technique forums, part of the Orchid Propagation category; Nothing took, except molds. Well I'm sure glad I'm not the only person with a ...

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  1. #11
    LJA's Avatar
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    Nothing took, except molds.
    Well I'm sure glad I'm not the only person with a first experience like that! (Actually, I'm willing to bet that most people's first experiences with flasking come out the same way.) Am definitely looking forward to the next round with pics (if possible!)

    Would love to see the glove box as well. Did you just sanitize the inside with bleach or something before using it?

  2. #12
    tropics is offline Junior Member
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    Default Flasking

    I tried flasking a couple of times with household materials, including baby food jars, Clorox, a 10-gallon aquarium, rubber gloves, and a big plastic bag. I even got some orchid seeds to grow one of those times. Basically, the method involved creating a sterile environment in the plastic bag. The plastic bag was modified by having rubber gloves inserted most of the way through holes made in the bag, then sealed to the bag. This allowed me to put my hands into the gloves and work inside the bag. The aquarium was placed in the bag to create a work space where the upper part of the bag wouldn’t drop down. The medium for the seeds was made using Miracle Grow, agar, and water. The medium was poured into the jars and sterilized in a pressure cooker. After cooling, the jars, the orchid seeds, and some tools were put into the bag, which was sealed. A 10% solution of Clorox was sprayed inside the bag to sterilize things. On one occasion the Clorox solution was used to sterilize the seeds, and on the other occasion hydrogen peroxide was used. The jars were opened, seeds placed on the medium, and the jars were closed. Each jar was placed in a baggie, the inside of which was sprayed with the Clorox solution, then sealed. Out of a dozen jars total for the two times, 10 stayed sterile inside, and seeds germinated in two of them. Mold/fungus/bacteria grew inside the other two jars. I’d like to learn about the experiences of others who have tried to flask using readily available materials and get some ideas from them.

  3. #13
    Forrest is offline Senior Member
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    I am getting ready to dive into the world of flasking too. I have a friend that builbs clean rooms for a living and was able to get me a 4 foot fan driven hepa filter. I am hunting for an inexpensive pressure cooker and then ill be ready to give it a shot. I am pretty excited to try. Ill definately keep you all posted as I go.

  4. #14
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    great! good luck!

  5. #15
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    amaximia is offline Evil Genius
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    Default Sucess flasking!!!

    I've had good success flasking in the last few months using Rebecca Northern's technique described in "Home Orchid Growing" sold sometimes on Ebay. I have the 3rd edition from the 70s but there is a newer one.

    I get my media from PhytoTech Labs for about $3 a liter, the cheapest I've been able to find. One liter fills about 33 baby food jars which I use for mother flasks. For replates I use Phyto's plastic round containers which "breathe." So far it's worked great.

    I flask inside an aquarium I bought for $10 at boxstore. I covered the exterior with plastic allowing for two holes to insert my hands. Everything is desinfected with 10% bleach. I prefer to do green pod sowing but I am about to try dry seed -- two of my capsules just opened on me quite suddenly. I'm so excited about these, a cross between a Dialaelia and a Broughtonia never done before. I will disinfect the seed with calcium hypochlorite. Wish me luck.

  6. #16
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    Alex, that's great! I love hearing about successful flasking using inexpensive, easily obtainable materials. So you use no gloves of any kind, just covered the aquarium opening and left holes to fit your hands in? Awesome.

    Let us know how it turns out!

  7. #17
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    amaximia is offline Evil Genius
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    Default Well, it's a little more complicated than that... :-)

    Yes, I do use gloves although I've heard they are not necessary. Some people don't mind the 3rd degree burns from the 10% clorox... just kidding. Gloves are cleaner I think. I use the disposable kind you buy from HD.

    I've read many many different ways of doing it, there are several versions spread across AOS bulletins from the 70s and 80s (and even 90s). There is a book you can buy from PhytoTech.

    The key to success is paranoia. I sterilize the tools in a flame, then I sterilize them again with clorox inside the flasking case. I spray the entire flasking case, wait, spray again, wipe, wait... I use a toothbrush to clean the outside of the capsules.

    The flasks with the media I sterilize in a pressure cooker for 20 minutes with the lids loose. Let cool then immediately close tight. Wait for a few days to make sure the media is good. On mother flasks I put them inside sandwich bags or Zip bags just to make sure nothing gets to the seeds.

    I check every day. One time some mold got in there and I was actually able to take it out and kill it! I still ended up with a good flask. Paranoia, paranoia always and you'll be successful.

  8. #18
    Clark is offline Junior Member
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    Default My homemade Flasking Box

    I've only been at it for a year and believe me it takes a lot of trail and error. Having seen one homemade setup and hearing about people using a cardboard box for flasking I looked around for a better way. One day I found Honeywell Model 1606X HEPA air filter that was small enough to do what I had in mind. I also bought a replacement filter so I would have one for later. Then I found the largest polyethylene storage box I could find. I turned the storage box over and cut a hole that matched the outline of the filter. After inserting the filter upside down in the bottom of the storage box I glued it in place with silicone sealer, both inside and outside the box.

    Then I cut a hole in the side of the box for my hands to reach in and work.
    This photo is what I constructed.


    P1010077.JPG

    I flask in the bathroom, not because it's the cleanest room but after you remove everythings you only have haed surfaces to disinfect. Lysol is the choice for the romm, while 10% bleach is used on the box. The Chlorox wipes are used for the mouth of the jars. I have found that when replating you had better get the mother flask clean before you put it into the flasking box. Although it only used every three months, the flaking box is kept inside of a garbage bag to help keep it clean.

    When I start I usally disinfect the romm and the box, then I leave it running for and hour before I start. Any time new bottles or eqipment go into the box I disinfect again and wait for 30 minutes.

    Last week I plated a green pod of Odcdm. Golden Trident X Brs. Edvah Loo and replated a cross of Asco. miniatum X Ren. monachica (four jars worth). Plants in flask are grown here in the office where I have a two shelf (2 feet by 4 feet) setup with four flouresent lights on each shelf. Plating medium is purchased from Phytotech.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  9. #19
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    Clark, great setup! Does your filter provide enough positive pressure to keep contaminants from entering the hand opening? Sounds like you've had quite a bit of success!

  10. #20
    Clark is offline Junior Member
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    Louis, at the medium setting the filter provides more than sufficient positive pressure. The entire setup cost less than $40.
    Clark

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