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littlefrog

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This may or may not work. If it does work, before you watch it, a few caveats.

1) this growing area is a mess. It gets cleaned occasionally, most of it is just clutter.
2) I am non-scripted and obviously not a videographer. I'm practicing though, I might have to teach entirely online in the fall again, not looking forward to that.
 

Bob in Albany N.Y.

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Thanks for the tour. One question, how do you keep the water from the upper shelf from ruining the lights that are attached to the bottom of that upper shelf?
 

Duck Slipper

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I thought the same thing as Bob in Albany...How do you water the mounted plants. Condensation/Humidity? How is that handled?
 

littlefrog

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Great questions. Depends on the shelf, most of those shelves have wire inserts with either a plywood or poly-iso 'top' (my shelves are usually 30" wide and 8' long - that's how big the tops are), and the water sheds off to the sides or ends. But I still lose the occasional light. This winter I started putting a layer of 6mil plastic over the wire inserts, and then putting the plywood on top of that. So the water sheds off to the ends of the 8' benches. I have only gotten to about half of the benches with the plastic though. It seems to work. I have GFCI breakers on every circuit (in the service panel), just in case.

The mounted plants just get watered with the hose like everything else. I have a Dramm breaker on the end of the hose. I water those every day or every other day in the winter. They are actually a bit behind the plants on the shelves below, so I don't end up watering the potted plants every day.

Humidity is less of a problem than I thought it would be. I don't really measure it, but it isn't oppressive, probably around 80% at at the highest point. I added a reflective vapor barrier to the ceiling (a few years ago), before I did that it would literally rain in the winter (off the roof of the pole barn, onto the plant room ceiling and everything in the unheated half of the barn). It still drips a bit, but is much better. I'm a little concerned about the joists rotting, have to check on that at some point. I've been meaning to install a vent and fan in the 'attic' for 9 years now. But the reflective barrier has minimized the condensation. 3+ inches of insulation in the walls and 6+ in the ceiling helps a lot with the condensation issues.

The floor seems to absorb most of the extra water (and there is a drain). Two corners of the room used to be horse stalls with dirt bottoms (no concrete), I filled those in with gravel and a lot of the extra water goes out that way. The remaining floor is concrete.
 

abax

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Thank you for the tour. I've had my greenhouse for
over 20 years and the one thing I've learned is that
growing in a gh is an evolving process...a tweak here,
a change there.
 

littlefrog

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What do you do for ventilation and air movement?
I have failed 'practice what you preach' - I always tell people to have constant air movement but I don't really have much. I have several small fans running constantly, but it definitely isn't a high air movement environment. It is one of my goals to add more fans, but I just haven't ever gotten around to it. But I see very little (if I say none I'll be doomed by the time I go out tomorrow morning, but effectively zero) fungal problems.

In the summer I leave the doors open pretty much all the time.

One thing I do is aerate the heck out of my water. That big water tank has a small pond sized aerator in it that runs constantly. It is my favorite tool, I've seen a dramatic difference once I started that up. Fred Clarke suggested that, and I'm glad I did it. Kind of loud though.
 

GoodDay

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Nice tour. What type of L.E.D? Color temp? What is max temps in your grow area? Thanks for sharing.
 

Djthomp28

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Thank you for taking us on a tour of your growing space. It is great to see how you grow.
 

littlefrog

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Nice tour. What type of L.E.D? Color temp? What is max temps in your grow area? Thanks for sharing.
A mix of different LEDs and temperatures, I've been moving mostly to 'daylight' white. The 2' led 'tubes' are pretty much off the shelf, I used to order them from China and I've taken to just ordering them off Amazon. I can send you a link if you are interested. The big LED panels that you see near the beginning are Quantum Boards. I have also built a few 'from scratch', maybe that is a different video. One thing I wouldn't recommend are the floodlight style, even though they are sold as waterproof and for outdoor use (people use them for landscape lights) - they really don't hold up. Maybe I just buy the cheap stuff. I've had to remake every one of them, the original LED chips are terrible and the heat sink is undersized. The LED drivers are pretty good...

Max temp... Kind of depends. I don't have cooling. Gets up to a bit above 70F in the winter, maybe 75 if it is a really warm out. In the summer it is cooler than the outside, but that is only because there is no direct sunlight and the concrete is a good thermal sink. Heating is electric baseboards, and they are set to keep it at about 65F minimum in the winter. There are cooler spots near the floor and it gets warmer up high - I take advantage of the microclimates for different plants, besseae on the bottom, phals on top - although I have far more besseae than phals. :)
 

littlefrog

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why do you aerate your rain water?
Because it works? Some people add hydrogen peroxide to their water for the supposed benefit of more oxygen. Pretty sure that doesn't work, at least not in a dose people can afford. But bubbling a lot of air through water does increase the O2 saturation.

I'd say that if I had a smaller reservoir I might not see as much benefit. With 1000 gallons, and me using maybe 50 gallons to water once or twice a week, that water sits for a long time. So one advantage is avoiding stagnation.

I've done a few experiments with hydroponic growing of orchids, and in those cases for sure you need to aerate the water. Growing orchids in pots, the media can stay wet for a while, so a little extra oxygen can't hurt. All I can say is that my plants have improved dramatically. They grew pretty well before, they grow better now.
 

GoodDay

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Thanks for the information.please send a link to LEDs. I am curious, seems like the LED keeps the heat way down. I used to use metal halides and that definately brings the temps up.
 

littlefrog

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Thanks for the information.please send a link to LEDs. I am curious, seems like the LED keeps the heat way down. I used to use metal halides and that definately brings the temps up.
I'll try to do a video highlighting (heh... that is kind of a pun) the LEDs next week sometime. It does keep the heat down, but since most of my lighting season is winter that may or may not be much of a benefit for me.

This is approximately what I use for the tubes: https://www.amazon.com/Hyperikon-Clear-Daylight-Flourescent-Replacement/dp/B00R8SJ7UG/

Those panels are similar to: https://www.amazon.com/Horticulture-Lighting-Group-High-Efficiency-Upgraded/dp/B076QDKVDZ Looks like they may be transitioning to a new model.
 
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littlefrog

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Do you get vandas and catts to bloom regulary?
The first bench in the video (with the light panels) is where I keep that kind of stuff. I don't have any pure vanda, but angraecoids seem to bloom pretty well. I get decent blooming on the cattleyas, but again I don't have many and a lot of mine are fall or summer bloomers (they are outside at that point).

Most (all?) of the big plants on that first bench end up outside in the summer. Winter is kind of a temporary holding pattern. They are really far too crowded under the lights. Need to get rid of some.
 

GoodDay

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Thanks hop-meister. I will look for the next posting. Good day
 

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