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My greenhouse etc... the first of a series of postings...

This is a discussion on My greenhouse etc... the first of a series of postings... within the OrchidTalk Members Grow Area - Photos forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; ...

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  1. #11
    Dorsetman's Avatar
    Dorsetman is offline Senior Member
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    Default And the end point of the automatic watering...

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    So each line feeds a row of pots, with a dripper - or two dripper nozzles for each pot. I am using nominally ˝ litre per hour droppers, so that each will deliver 250ml per watering operation - this is a guess as to needs, but it looks to be working out well. Of course time will tell - I am watching for spikes, but I may have to change tack when they start, since not all of them will try and grow up to where I can see them.
    More techie, in next posts, another day.

  2. #12
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    What a setup in the tech stuff Geoff!

  3. #13
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    The setup is impressive but the results ( quality and health of the plants) are amazing ! No spots or damaged leaves only green healthy plump PB. Geoff my admiration to your skills !
    Posted via Mobile Device

  4. #14
    Dorsetman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ana Danaya View Post
    The setup is impressive but the results ( quality and health of the plants) are amazing ! No spots or damaged leaves only green healthy plump PB. Geoff my admiration to your skills !
    Posted via Mobile Device
    Thank you for your kind remarks. My "trick" for clean healthy plants is that I do NOT spray with pesticides or fungicides etc..as a routine operation, or indeed at all - they are all poisons, calculated to be at a dilution rate which will kill the pests without killing the plant, or the operative (!) but they all must leave residues in the air. I have to breathe that air, that's why I don't use them ( this was taught me by Diane at a great nursery, not a million miles from Antwerp) . But also because I don't need them.
    For greenhouse and plant hygiene, I add a disinfectant to all my water, and I mean all. For that stored, or used for spraying, or watering, or just washing pots. . Physan is the gold standard, but not sold in Eunrope (now). But it is only a quaternary ammonium spec' very similar to that used to disinfect swimming pools, or professional kitchen food preparation surfaces, and there are dozens of products with that kind of formula on sale. Dilution rate anywhere between 1: 5000 ( a 5ml spoonful in 25 litres ) and 1 in 500 if I spot what might be the start of a problem. I also have sulphur fume generators which are run regularly - which I will show and explain in a later post.
    Of course I do get pests, picked up at shows, meetings, or just flying in through the door. They get spot treatment with a soft artists paint brush and soapy water to remove them . Just removing them is probably enough to kill them, but in case not, I use my fingers. Did I say I always wear disposable latex gloves in the greenhouse ? I do, and at pennies a pair, that keeps my hands good, and I am not squeamish about squashing a slug if one has the impertinence to graze on my plants.
    All this saves me a fortune - on average, if I want to spray all my plants with one of the usual garden centre available things, it will take 2 full bottles for just a single spraying.

  5. #15
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    This is amazing, Geoff! Thanks for the photos and details. I look forward for your next postings!!

    cheers,
    BD

  6. #16
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    Default Water, humidity and all that.

    I collect rain water from the greenhouse in gutters actually located at ground level - the floor inside the greenhouse is 3 feet lower than that. The water is automatically pumped into the greenhouse ( immersed pumps with float valves ) and delivered to a 250 litre main store .

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    I also collect rainwater from my house roof - I have four 250 litre tubs,which will fill with about 15-20mm rain, That is not too pure, as we have a lot of birds around ( deliberately putting out feed) apart from the local seagulls - we are a mile from the harbour and English Channel. The average EC of the rain water is about 75 uS, whereas my RO plant - seen above the collecting tank, produces water as pure as 12 uS. But the rain is free, and the mains tap water - especially when I run the RO machine non-stop and we are talking about hundreds of litres ,is not.
    All water is disinfected ; Physan is the best, but not sold in Europe, so I use a similar disinfectant as used for swimming pools or cleaning food preparation surfaces in professional kitchens - a quaternary ammonium compound. Dilution rate typically 1:2000 but if all RO water, as weak as 1:5000 ( one teaspoon in 25 litres) , or if all rain water and I suspect dirty rain - or for example a lot of tree pollen or autumn leaf fall , then down to 1:500.

    Otherwise, I do not do any routine spraying with pesticides or fungicides. I do however run sulfume generators ( sulphur evaporated ) for 12 hours at a time, on two nights a week. All this is sufficient to prevent sooty mould, rots etc etc. The appearance of my leaves will confirm this. The sulfume generators - well, one of them - there is another at the other end. The size of my greenhouse necessitates some doubling up.:-

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    Air movement is also important to plant health. Some experiments were done at the UK vegetable research station some years ago, involving growing salads in polytunnels, and 22mph was the optimum speed for the air movement - surprisingly high. I can't match that ! But I do have a series of sweep fans 1.2 meters diameter, running night and day, 24/7 :-

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    This last picture also shows the grow lights ; after a lot of trial and error, I end up with 5 of these. They are mounted on light tracks so as to be moved back and florth across the benches. Four of them are metal ballast 600 watt dual spectrum incandescent bulbs, and the fifth is a 240 watt LED unit. LEDs use less power - 240 watt compared to 600 , but are more expensive. On the other hands they are suposed to last 10 years, whereas the 600 watt bulbs need replacing after say 18 months use.If it all works out, the LEDs win hands down . If and when I know that, I guess I will replace them all. The lights are run 10 hours per day from about the end of August to the beginning of May. They are necessary ( in my mind) largely because the greenhouse lies between a 3 metre hedge on the east side which is our privacy screen for the garden from the nearest neighbours , and a 2.5m wall of plants on the west side which is to hide the greenhouse from the dwelling house. Also my garden wall - a brick wall 2 m high at the north end. So without lights it would be too gloomy for much growth in the winter ; with them, my plants get 10 hours pseudo-sunshine every day they are on.

  7. #17
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    I am continually marveled at your orchids and greenhouse!

  8. #18
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    Default Humidity, heating and watering.

    The greenhouse is heated by hot water radiators from a mains gas boiler - this was the ( now slightly old-fashioned) standard heating system for houses in UK. Temperatures are controlled by a smart-stat, wi-fi linked to my iPad, so that I can in fact check and adjust temperatures from anywhere in the world - as long as I have a wi-fi connection. I also have sensors, bluetooth linked to read-out devices in the house, so that if I wake in the middle of the night, I can check the temperature both in the greenhouse, and in all my cold frames, and in the open garden, without getting out of bed.

    Humidity requires some additional water input, although the below ground level floor helps here - moisture comes in through the (untanked) brickwork. The floor is not concrete, just a few inches of gravel on top of the natural soil, which here is an amazingly well drained fine black ( and incidentally very fertile ) soil - silt left from the river - now 200 meters away, and 30 meters wide, but at the end of the last ice age, 6000 years ago, was 6 kilometers wide as the glaciers melted. We are about 7 meters above the high water mark of the river nowadays, but no risk of flooding since as the river rises, it widens - and since we are so near the sea, it drains away.
    The additional humidity comes from a pair of humidifiers, each capable of turning about 4 litres of water per hour into vapour. The water has to be very pure - hence the RO rather than relying on tap water when the rain water runs out.

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    So each humidifer is fed from its own reservoir - 100 litre tanks on the benches in corners of the greenhouse. These are fed from that main tank where rain is delivered, or RO water is fed, with a lot of pumps in that tank to feed the humidifier reservoirs, and also the spray tank.

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    Spraying is done from a 45 litre tank in another corner of the greenhouse which is convenient for adding nutrients :-

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    and delivered by a ˝ HP pump ( shows how long I have had that pump - that it is rated in horse power rather than todays units ! ) via 1 inch pipes to various points around the greenhouse from which hoses and sprays are connected. This gives a powerful fine spray- which is the main method of watering all the hanging plants, although everything is taken down, inspected, repotted, tied up, or whatever necessary and then dunked in a bucket before being hung up again -0 usually about every 2 or 3 weeks.

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    I think I have got to the end !

    ---------- Post Merged at 01:36 PM ----------

    Maybe I should add that pretty well everything is home made or D-I-Y adapted, and that there are so many electrical connections - getting water in them is a perennial risk. So I have the greenhouse electrical supply islolated from the domestic arrangements, but also a warning light which shows me if there is a short-out. It doesn't happen very often , but is another reason for being wary of having "help".

  9. #19
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    I wouldn't put too much stock in the 22 mph "optimal" wind speed.

    For salad greens - typically grown outdoors - being grown in a poly tunnel, that may be necessary, but for orchids, a gently tumbling, "wafting" breeze is actually better. Back when I first started growing, large greenhouses tended to have more "turbulators" than air movers - they were fans with blades that caused more turbulence than flow. Those suckers were noisy, though!


  10. #20
    ksriramkumar is offline Senior Member
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    Wow!!. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and setup Geoff. Lots of ideas!!.

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