Wine Cooler Conversion

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Koka_Khola

Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2023
Messages
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Location
Seattle
Hi all,

I did some searching on the forums and noticed a couple of mentions by folks about converting a wine/beverage cooler into a terrarium for cool growing orchids. I was wondering if anyone could share their experience with the process?

In particular, how do y’all do the wiring? Is it possible to drill a small hole somewhere on the cooler to run the wires through?

Also if anyone could share how they mounted their lighting?

Thank you all for any advice!
 
Why use a wine cooler? Unless of course you are only going to use it for growing cool growing orchids only!? Otherwise using a wine cooler would be unnecessary. Just build a "Wardian Case" from scratch. I know that plans exist on the web for those.
Your case could be made larger then a typical wine cooler and maybe allow for more orchids.
 
Why use a wine cooler? Unless of course you are only going to use it for growing cool growing orchids only!? Otherwise using a wine cooler would be unnecessary. Just build a "Wardian Case" from scratch. I know that plans exist on the web for those.
Your case could be made larger then a typical wine cooler and maybe allow for more orchids.
I am specifically looking to use a wine cooler for cool growing orchids such as some pleurothalids. I grow plenty of intermediate-warm growers throughout my apartment but for about a month the temperature in the apartment will average 85-95 even with an AC unit so I would need a wine cooler or something similar for cooler growers.
 
I am thinking about completing this conversion myself for to improve my intermediate to cool winter growers. There is an AOS article from a few years ago. I will try to find it for a reference.

@Koka_Khola are you a member of the AOS?
 
@Djthomp28 i would greatly appreciate any resource you can share!

I have not joined the AOS yet. I did consider it for a time but realized their was no judging center anywhere near me and I wasn’t sure there was anything else I would use the membership for.
 
Joining the AOS has nothing to do with judging. You DO NOT have to be a member to have something judged.
You join AOS for it overall benefits. A magazine, on line or in print, attend on line webinars etc.
You should also be joining a local Orchid Society or two.
 
If you build a Wardian Case, you good build it out of plywood. Finish it. Build in fans, install lights, ad ledges and shelves, install a wonderful piece of driftwood to grow orchids on, etc., etc.
 
@Koka_Khola I am not a judge and the nearest judging center is almost 4 hours away. I joined the AOS when I was about a year or so into the hobby and have gotten a ton of benefit out of it. There is a monthly magazine and access to all past magazine issues. The magazine covers beginning to advance cultural techniques, in-dept species reviews, and taxonomy "stuff" and more. You also get access to the awards data base which is a great research resource. Plus, AOS hosts multiple webinars a month. There are other member benefits too but these are my favorites. I would recommend researching membership to see if you would get some benefit also.

@big923cattleya Depending on the environment (inside and outside) it can be difficult to cool a wardian case enough to grow cool growers or intermediate growers on the cooler side of the spectrum. I have a split level home in Northeast and do not have access to a basement, which would be cooler by nature. I would still need to add cooling equipment to the wardian case to bring the temperatures down. I have tried and measured my temps, especially those very important night time temps. It was too difficult to get the drop needed for my Sophronitis to thrive. It was easier for me to grow the close to my poor insulated windows in the winter. However, I would like to have additional cooling space. Therefore converting a wine fridge is an option that makes sense to investigate. You might find the AOS article about converting the wine cooler into a Wardian case an interesting read as well.
 
@big923cattleya & @Djthomp28 thank you both for sharing your advice with joining the AOS. I will certainly look into membership - the magazine database sounds very enticing.

For the time being, I already have a beverage fridge on hand hence my interest. I also do not believe I could effectively cool a wardian case in my environment. I’m on the 3rd floor of an old apartment building atop a hill with a West facing window. The indoor temps even with AC are much too hot for just fans.
 
You know your in home conditions better then me or anyone else. So do what you think is best.
I look at this old world as an adaptable place. I just thought that a wine cooler could be a more limiting environment limited by the size of the cooler. I just thought that in making a home for cooler orchids, the case could provide more micro environments.
When I lived on Long Island, we had people in NYC apartments growing orchids in a reclaimed deli meat case!! But you need room for a case such as that.
I knew a few growers growing high altitude Andean Orchids in extra refrigerators. But of course, do what you think is best. I am just trying to present options.

This September marks 50 years for me and the AOS!!! It has been a great partnership!!
 
You know your in home conditions better then me or anyone else. So do what you think is best.
I look at this old world as an adaptable place. I just thought that a wine cooler could be a more limiting environment limited by the size of the cooler. I just thought that in making a home for cooler orchids, the case could provide more micro environments.
When I lived on Long Island, we had people in NYC apartments growing orchids in a reclaimed deli meat case!! But you need room for a case such as that.
I knew a few growers growing high altitude Andean Orchids in extra refrigerators. But of course, do what you think is best. I am just trying to present options.

This September marks 50 years for me and the AOS!!! It has been a great partnership!!
Thank you for the advice. I appreciate you presenting the wardian case as an option as it was not something I looked greatly into. I do wish I had the space for a deli fridge as I did see a used one for sale for pretty cheap!

Also congratulations on your AOS membership anniversary!
 
I just stumbled on this post.

Yes indeed I do have a wine cooler conversion to grow cooler/cold growing species like cuthbertsoniis, coccineas and Lepanthes.

Here’s a post of the tank:



I will take some time to write the steps soon! Keep an eye for it!
 
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