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  • 5 Post By raybark

Basement Incubator

This is a discussion on Basement Incubator within the Semi Hydro / Lights / Greenhouses / Accessories forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; ...

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  1. #1
    raybark's Avatar
    raybark is online now Senior Member
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    Default Basement Incubator

    A guy in our local OS did a presentation on basement tank growing chambers. His demonstrator was a wood and plastic box with a glass front - probably equivalent to a 30-gallon fish tank - lit with my LEDs. With no additional heating, he is able to grow lovely little cool-growers - the kind I find impossible to grow. That inspired me to try, but then it occurred to me that a warm "incubator" would be better for the plants I currently have, so…


    I started with a hydroponics flood tray - 3' x 6'
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    I have a false bottom in it (two layers of red EcoWeb, shipped to me by mistake), with an overflow drain in the side.


    Then using 1/2" thick, foil-faced foam sheathing, I created an enclosure 2' tall over it, making the floor-to-ceiling distance about 30". I spray painted the interior side of the foam panels white to disperse light better than the foil would, then assembled the thing with duct tape. The front has sliding glass doors to allow access. Without the glass, the whole thing weighs about 20#.


    There are eye-bolts through the roof that support two 48" Philips GreenPower "Production Module" LEDs, I have some muffin fans for air circulation, and there is a Mist-King system, with three double nozzles suspended through the roof as well. Additionally, there is a 2' x 4' heating mat controlled by a thermostat and tied to the same timer as the lights, so I get a bit of overnight cooling.


    It's been operational for about a month, and there are a bunch of phal seedlings in sphagnum, a phrag flask , now in S/H, and a bunch of mini's from the SEPOS show. All are doing great.


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    Maybe the cool-growing chamber will follow - but likely on a smaller scale.

  2. #2
    Wade's Orchids's Avatar
    Wade's Orchids is offline Senior Member
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    Looks like a fantastic setup, Ray. I want to eventually develop a seedling area in my basement and this looks like a terrific system! I took a look at the Mist King system and it looks like probably the best misting system going.

  3. #3
    Missanna is offline Cattleya lover
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    I have been building a similar "hot" box for some hot growing cattleyas and my frame is wood as well. Your set up is far superior to mine but I have a question for you:

    What do you treat the wood with? I've got the frame built out of 1x2 pine and was thinking of peg board for the back (also waterproofed) to be able to hang a bunch of seedlings under the t5 lights as well as a shelf bracket drilled into the middle support from which I will hang a large mounted eldorado (it's been hanging from the wall in this manner for a while now). A set of drain trays will fit the bottom more than a foot away from the tips of the roots to prevent water from splashing back up onto the roots.

    I assume that I will eventually have to replace the wood bits, but I needed something fast and cheap to keep these orchids warmer than the rest in my growing room. I do want to keep it in good condition as long as possible though, but I have no clue what to waterproof it with.

  4. #4
    Wade's Orchids's Avatar
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    Peg board, if made of masonite, is not waterproof. You can get very good longevity if you give non-waterproof materials a good coat of paint. In the case of your pegboard I'd spray paint it so you get into all the holes. If you want waterproof you can use marine grade plywood or an inert material like foam board. The foam isn't very strong structurally but can be backed wtih something and can also be painted with a paint that is not oil based. It does a great job for insulation too. Hope this has helped.

  5. #5
    Carolla's Avatar
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    Default

    Thanks for the info. I have a 55 gallon aquarium I want to convert to growing orchids when the last fish finally dies of old age. I'm gathering ideas at this point and your description is full of them!

  6. #6
    raybark's Avatar
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    Default

    I started that way, but gaining access through the top is a PITA.

  7. #7
    Carolla's Avatar
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    True, but there it is and will just be sitting empty once that last fish is done... The fish thing was my daughter's and she moved 2000 miles away. Makes it a bit hard to give her the aquarium, now that she has room for it! I'm hoping to set it up so that it doesn't need a lot of messing with, or is that a vain hope? It would be fun to have some minis and little species with a decent environment for them in our dry climate!

  8. #8
    78Terp's Avatar
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    I use fish tanks and I don't mind accessing from the top.

    I open the top and water without removing the plants. The run-off becomes the humidity.

  9. #9
    JJJessee is offline Junior Member
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    Default

    Very nice set-up. I like the hydo pan/mister idea.

    Have you used the LED on plants with high light requirements?
    I did some testing with a homemade fixture on pepper and tomato seedlings last winter but my fixture lacked something. The plants languished for a few weeks before I returned them to my T8 6400K shelves.
    Over the summer, I've salvaged more LED modules since then and may give it another go this winter using a higher density module spacing for orchid seedlings.

    I'm new to the whole orchid venture and can't wait to get my feet wet in propagation.

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