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Heather

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This is one of the areas where I grow my plants. It needs some help. I am not at all happy with the amount of light it gets. This is a S/E facing window (more south) I have another window like this in the other room but I will take a photo of the Paphs in there this afternoon when there is more sunshine.

After I get all the photos up I'd love to discuss some of my other ideas for growing and get some feedback. I just don't think this is going to be the way to go long-term but there are some other obstacles.

Here are the Phrags.

 
J

Jmoney

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is it obstructed? because otherwise I would think SE would be sufficient for most paphs. (although the ones underneath might be missing out on the natural light).
 

Heather

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Okay, first to answer those questions - the view is not obstructed. I am on the second floor. But the sun comes in at an angle, of course. One problem I have noticed though is that where in the old house I had one single bay window, now there is wall space between the three windows (though they are angled like a bay would be) and because of that there is more interuption in the light.

Now, I like this cart very much, but the company is out of them. They say they will get more. It is on casters, so I can move it into the light when the light changes. The lower shelf is basically useless, but if I had four of these carts I could fit all of my plants on top shelves.

SlipperFan - I am sort of reticent to go the low florescent route only because many of these plants get big and send up tall spikes so I would rather have a higher open expanse above them if at all possible.
 

Heather

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Now, here's the living room and my Paphs.


I HATE this shelving unit. It is such a piece of $@%&!! The little plastic screws that tighten the height of the adjustable shelves crack under pressure. I hate it. I want to dump it. ASAP. I didn't even want to move with it, but it was what I had. It is NOT directly in front of the windows, however it gets southern light in the morning from the window to the left and quite a bit of south western light from the window in the front throughout the afternoon. There is a nice fan in here, a ceiling fan, which I actually find very useful.

Problems - it is obstructed now by the air conditioning unit in the window to the left, so lower shelves are no longer getting the light from that window. There isn't enough room for tall plants. Two are on the floor (where they get good sun but they really cannot remain there indefinitely) and two are in windowsills.

Other obstacles (herein lies the big problem with this room).
This is our living space and S.O. HATES the plants. So this is what happened when we had to compromise:


The initial thought was that this room would only temporarily house plants, that we would build something in the dining room (where the Phrags are). A low bench running the width of the windows, with cabinets underneath for storage. However, I don't feel I get enough light in there to justify doing that and if a bench were built, and lights were hung from the ceiling, the plants would be too low to benefit much from the lights. Also, it isn't a large enough space (though that was part of the reasoning in moving my plants to S/H). The lights would likely be my wonderlights because again, this is living space. The problem with the wonderlights is that, though I had good luck with them, I preferred the 300W which the manufacturer and I concluded were defective (through a year of monthly free replacements each time they blew out). So, they'd only be 160s, not enough IMO. I could also conceivably get some sort of flourescent or compact flourescent which we could raise and lower above the plants, but that could be pricey and you-know-who is very anti-heather-spending-on-plants right now. Also, you-know-who is very reticent to hang lots of things from the ceiling.

So, I think there are two options. Get enough of those two shelf units on casters to shelve plants on the top only and move them where the light is, using the CFLs I have currently as supplemental lighting (they aren't great but they do seem to help some).

OR go back to growing all the plants on one huge table in the spare room.
There I could use the MH light I have in the basement. I could probably use the $100 gift certificate I got over a year ago to purchase either a light rail mover OR something from whence to hang the light so that holes in the ceiling would be minimal.

I realize this last idea probably sounds the best, and I am amenable to it but we went from 1700 sq. feet to around 900 sq. feet and this is the only spare room. It houses all of our office stuff (G will say computers = high humidity issues), extra furniture that we use (we have one closet in the whole house!) and the cat box area (yuck!). So, there are some issues with me co-opting a fair portion of it for the plants. I still think it may be the best option though, and if I were to do this, I could continue to use the one good cart for the blooming orchids in the living room and a few in windows and in the kitchen. I really enjoy having the plants in my living area and would like to continue to enjoy that to an extent. There is only western sun in the spare room, but two windows, so there would still be some natural light, though there is a house on this side of the building that would cause more obstruction. This last idea would also mean the least out of pocket expense because I already have most of the equipment. I think this is my bargaining chip w/ S.O.

Finally (I know this is SOO long - is anyone still reading?? ;) Hope so! )
Here are my kitchen windows which this time of the year are getting great sunshine in the afternoon and can take some overflow plants.
That's Mosi, threatening to chomp my tigrinum. :rolleyes:




Thank you (!!) for reading all of this if you still are. I've been gearing up to post this thread for a LONG time (since we moved 4/1) but I have wanted to have a better idea of what exactly was going on with the sun. I imagine all this will change come autumn, and I think I need a better plan than these stop gap measures. I've been a little embarrased to post this also because I just think the whole thing is rather pathetic compared to where I was growing in the old house, but the plants are holding their own.

Good plants! :pity:

Suggestions Welcome!!
 

Marco

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If you have great light in the kitchen (if SO is ok with it of course because basically no light will be coming into the kitchen) I would suggest utilizing your two kitchen windows to capacity. A customized multi-shelved unit thats 5-6" inches deep, or whatever depth you can spare on your kitchen table tops, that covers the perimeter of your window. I don't know how high the window gets but I'm pretty sure you can fit at least 2 shelves in. From the looks of your kitchen table top a 5-6" deep shelving unit on top of your kitchen table top would still give you ample room to work around in the kitchen.

No drilling into the walls necessary and you can always customize to accomodate for clip fans/fans, lights and storage areas for quick and easy access to supplies.
 

SlipperFan

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The problem with tall stands and stands that fill up the windows is that the tend to block your view of the outdoors. The advantage of them is that the plants with benefit from the natural light. I have a couple of tall stands, and when the spikes start forming, i move the plants to stands where they can grow as tall as they want. But I think your solution of getting more short stands would work -- you seem to have lots of windows you could have them cozy up to. Just gotta get that SO to be adaptive...
 

Heather

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I think the short stands is the way to go also, especially since my old growing table just got co-opted for the basement (and I don't know that we'd have been able to get it up here anyway, the legs are not removable).

Even if I decided to, I could still move multiple short stands into the spare room and set up the MH in the winter. That might be another good option, and the stands being low, it would be easy to use a non-mounted device to hang the light from. I would REALLY like to use that light one of these days! :mad:
 

bwester

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Heather, I love the molding around your windows.
 

paphreek

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Hi Heather! I don't have any great suggestions, but one simple thing you could do to increase the effectiveness of the compact flourescents that you are using is to use a reflector to direct more of the light toward the plants. Over half of the light generated by the bulbs is going off in directions where there are no plants.

As far as the Southeast windows not supplying enough light, I've bloomed Paph Cooksonii (druryi x rothschildianum) in a single SE window. This year I stuck one of my Cymbidiums in the same window for the winter and it is now in spike. I'm guessing that the plants on the top shelves should get plenty of light without having to move them around. Good Luck! :)
 
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couscous74

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paphreek said:
... one simple thing you could do to increase the effectiveness of the compact flourescents that you are using is to use a reflector to direct more of the light toward the plants. Over half of the light generated by the bulbs is going off in directions where there are no plants.
What Ross said. I was just too lazy to type all that ;)
Other suggestion was to knock out the wall in between the windows to improve light coming in :evil:
 

Heather

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Lol, marcus!

Hrm...

Maybe it is just all the rain we have had? I just don't feel like the plants are getting the sun they were at the old house. :confused: Then again, I early on got it in my head that my plants would simply not bloom without additional lighting. Perhaps I was mislead?

The issue with the reflectors and why I don't use them is that they don't fit over the base of the bulbs (where they screw into the sockets).
 

kentuckiense

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Can you get the SO to modify the reflectors so they'll work? That was sexist, I'm sorry. I'm sure you could do it too.

Is that even an option? I don't know why they won't fit... Could be un-fixable.
 

Heather

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kentuckiense said:
Can you get the SO to modify the reflectors so they'll work? That was sexist, I'm sorry. I'm sure you could do it too.

Is that even an option? I don't know why they won't fit... Could be un-fixable.
LOL, that was sexist! I don't need no stinkin' SO! Actually, I prefer doing the plant stuff myself. He hates them, and just gets in the way! :mad:

Ummm...[/rant]
The diameter of the reflectors is too small to fit around the ballast of the light bulb. I'm starting to think about reconnecting my wonderlights. Maybe one per shelf. They get so dang hot though. Have to make sure they are far enough away from the plants but close enough to benefit.
 

ScottMcC

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Heather said:
The diameter of the reflectors is too small to fit around the ballast of the light bulb.
sounds like you need a bigger hammer.

or a hacksaw or some metal snips or something.

you can do it, home depot can help. or something like that.
 

Heather

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Hrm. Well, I will have to look at them but I think that if I were to enlarge the opening by grinding it wider, I would lose the ability to screw the reflector onto the socket (the opening is threaded), which might not be so good either.
 

kentuckiense

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Heather said:
Hrm. Well, I will have to look at them but I think that if I were to enlarge the opening by grinding it wider, I would lose the ability to screw the reflector onto the socket (the opening is threaded), which might not be so good either.
I'm sure there'd still be a way to attach it. I couldn't say without seeing it, though, so I can't speculate.
 

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