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Tony

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I lost my entire collection last year when the greenhouse heat went out on a 19° night. After I spent some time being mad I decided it was time to get started again. I'm trying out a new mix of rockwool and perlite in place of the traditional bark mix which has been a struggle to water correctly here in SC, and I've started using the full range of magic juices from Ray. In a way it is nice to start from scratch without nonsense plants like grocery store Phals that the other half was too attached to toss taking up space, looking forward to building up a greenhouse full of goodies.

 

Tony

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I can't believe the multis and parvis look as good as they do after being grown in nasty potting soil, but the roots looked pretty miserable. Hopefully they like my culture better.

 

Tony

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That delenatii had a rough summer, I forgot it under the bench in my cactus greenhouse for a few months lol
 

mrhappyrotter

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I see a few tags with "Pisgah" clones and a few other tags that look similar to what Looking Glass Orchids (formerly Owen's) uses. Is that where you got them? I had one of the Pisgah Fanaticum clones, but it was in rough shape when I got it (he wouldn't even accept money for it) and it ultimately passed on to orchid heaven. Looking Glass is a fun place to visit. It's relatively unknown, but he's got bench after bench after bench of wonderful Paphs and Phrags.

I've visited and gotten some stuff from Looking Glass and I think some of the plants were/are in promix. Many/most slippers will do just fine in promix. It's peat or coconout based, and a little different from traditional houseplant potting mix. It's more popular with commercial growers, because it's relatively inexpensive, readily available, and helps reduce watering needs (i.e. labor costs). I've seen commercial growers successfully using promix or similar soilless mixes for Phals, various intergeneric Oncidiums, even things like Dendrobiums.

That aside, I've found it hard to water correctly in promix, so I'd also repot ASAP whenever I get plants potted in it. I've used a rockwool based mix for my paphs and phrags with lots of success for many years. I've only recently started moving stuff into orchiata, though I still grow lots of things in rockwool. My reasons for switching were that it seemed harder to keep things properly fertilized in a completely inorganic mix, and I ended up getting what I can only assume was a bad batch of rockwool that nothing seemed to want to grow in. I always wash and soak before use, and make sure to check both TDS and pH with rockwool. While those parameters tested normal before using the stuff, I think there was something I didn't test for that was off about it.
 

Tony

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Good eye, I took a trip up to Looking Glass to get them. Lots of hidden gems tucked away there, but I'm not a fan of that mix at all. Do you know how long he has been using it? Most of the Paphs I bought had one or two good roots, and their Phrags looked so burned up and miserable that I passed on them. I asked about orchiata and he said he won't even try to sell it, much less use it, due to costs. I was considering it but with no local source (Carter and Holmes won't order it in either) I was looking at $90 per bag for it.

I'll se how everything does through the summer in rockwool. I had trouble with fir bark mixes in the heat here, they are either too dry or turn to mush so I'm hoping inorganics will let me water frequently without killing roots. If it doesn't work out the way I'm hoping then on to the next experiment.
 

mrhappyrotter

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Looking Glass is definitely full of hidden gems. He's one of only a small number of vendors that seems to be able to reliably bloom those roth x parvi crosses like Delrosi, Dollgoldi, and Harold Koopowitz. I'm sad to hear that stuff wasn't looking so hot when you were there. I didn't make it for a visit to Looking Glass last year, though I did see Russ (IIRC) selling at the Asheville Orchid festival and he had some nice things.

Speaking of that festival, there was a vendor there selling large bags of orchiata for maybe $50 or $60 last year, so perhaps they'll be there again this year? I'm lucky that there's a hydroponic shop and several "high end" nurseries within driving distance from me, so leca, rockwool, and all that good stuff is readily available these days.
 

Tony

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I already scheduled vacation for that weekend, and we have a smaller show coming up here in February. I'm sure I'll find my way up to Looking Glass again before the festival too lol
 

Wendy

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Sorry to hear you lost your collection....these ones look so healthy and happy. Good choices to start again!
 

Guldal

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I shudder by the thought of what you must have gone through by loosing your collection in such a horrible way! (well, that was a bit superflous: loosing ones collection in which ever way must be horrible!)

It's good to see, that you've 'gotten on the horse again' (a litteral translation of a danish saying - I wonder whether the expression exists in english/american?). And wish you all the best with your new start!

Kind regards,
Jens
 

Tony

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It's good to see, that you've 'gotten on the horse again' (a litteral translation of a danish saying - I wonder whether the expression exists in english/american?).
Yes, that is a common saying and thank you. I think I'm off to a good start building a bigger, better collection. I plan to put up two new greenhouses this year and I will be sure to have backup systems and alarms built in.


 

Ray

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Tony, if watering is an issue, you might think about semi-hydroponics and some automation. I grow all of my paphs and phrags that way.

In my greenhouse in PA, I had the overhead "rain" system hooked to a remote control with a timer, so with a single click from my house, standing there with my coffee, I watered for 30 minutes. Most summers, and definitely when I traveled, I just plugged the solenoid valve into a lawn sprinkler controller, and it would water every 3rd day at 5 am.
 

Tony

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It wasn't the watering itself so much as what the heat did to organic mixes when they were watered sufficiently. Summer will be the real test but I'm liking what I see so far with the rockwool mix and your protocol of ferts and supplements.

I will definitely be going higher tech when I build new greenhouses this year. The one I have now started life as my Sarracenia seedling house so I didn't bother doing anything fancy with it. The arid plants will have a house of their own and the orchid house will definitely incorporate cooling, powered vents, gas heat, and I will look into a rain system as well, it sounds like the perfect "easy button" for when I have to travel for work and leave them in my fiancé's care.
 

Ray

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Over the course of decades of observation and adjustment of potting/mounting, I got to where everything in the greenhouse could be watered at the same time and as often as I wanted, no matter the type of plant, making care a great deal easier.

It was particularly nice when I was up at 5, showered and dressed by 5:30, and out the door for a 50-mile commute by 6.
 

Tony

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Got the greenhouse cleaned up and shaded today, about a week ago my evap cooler came in and I got it running as well. Headed out on a trip for work tomorrow, when I get back I'll start working on new, bigger greenhouses.

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Tony

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Looks like they are happy with me, I came home to a spike peeking out of my big PEoY.

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