Amies in greenhouse vs amies in warm garage room with lights.

Noni MorrisonDecember 6, 2011

Thought someone else might be interested in this as you hope and plan for expanded growing room....I hoped the greenhouse would give me expanded space for my amaryllis collection, but I am now moving as many as possible back to my workroom in the garage. This is an 11 by 7' room with banks of fluorescent grow lights on two walls...Six shelves total. It also has all windows on south and east sides, but sun is too low in winter to get over the tall firs to the east...Aside from the lights the room is only heated by a small $12 electric heater from the local hardware store, but the walls are insulated. This room is maintaining a pleasant 76-82 degrees. In the greenhouse in our grey mild winter weather, the lights are on from 8 AM to 6 PM right now (Because I am blooming out fancy chrysanthemums who need a specific 10 hours of light a day to set buds. The temperature is maintaining at about 60 degrees with the help of 2 of the little electric heaters, one at each end of the greenhouse.

IN the greenhouse bulbs are rotting like last year, especially the new ones that had some bruises from being mailed. I have now moved 150 of the weakest ones to the nice dry room to recover and my seedlings are looking much better. I may set up a lamp in the back corner to fit in some more through the darkest winter time. The flowers that are actually blooming are in the greenhouse where they seem to bloom forever in the cooler setting.

On other news, I actually have 2 lovely seed pods set on one of the Aussie bulbs crossed with another one! I think the mother plant was Valerie Marie and forget right now who the Papa wa,s but it is looking real hopeful for seeds! the first pod is about an inch in diameter and looking a good healthy green still and well filled out. A second pod is forming also and looking helpful.

Probably about March or april I will start moving Amies back to the greenhouse, (if I have any room with garden seedlings being started). And they summer over in the greenhouse where it is always warm to hot and dry and no NBF. I think things will go much better from here on in, and I have an order from Royal Colors on the way here now. Others in bloom now are Shirley May and Green Dragon and a lovely big red Ferrari.

My Maguires bulbs did not root well this time and most are blooming with little root and the stems are way too short, some almost non-existant. I am sure my Shirley May was bigger the last time, but badly virused so I tossed it once I learned that.This one is failing to impress,lacking the interesting color changes and variations.

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I'm not certain what type of soil mix you're using for your Hippeastrums, but I found out the hard way that they prefer a larger particulate that allows for the least amount of perched water, and the roots like to dry out in a timely manner, and a little more thoroughly than the tags and most other offered growing instructions mention.

Even when the soil feels dry to our human sense of touch, it can still hold a certain amount of moisture in vapor form, especially down toward the middle of the soil ball/root zone... so there's that to consider, as well.

Also, I'm not very convinced that today's hybrids are bred for the desired characteristic of genetic strength... flower size, shape, and color seem more important from an industry perspective, where profit is the main concern. I recall discussing this many years ago with a Mum breeder, as we were lamenting the lost hardiness of several Mum varieties.

Taking into consideration the damp winter environment you grow in, plus other variables like medium type, air circulation in the greenhouse and whatnot, it may be more important than ever for you to manage their root environment in a way that offers faster moisture evaporation and better aeration and soil structure.

That aside, you have at least gained more growing room, and you do have an alternative space to move them to, with your lighted, heated garage. The best my garage offers is storage for dormant container grown stock.

I only wish we could heat our greenhouse for the colder months... it would offer me a lot more opportunity for better plant variety and more growing space. As it is now, I must consider getting another fan or two for next growing season, and maintaining a better regimen of insect control. I had an issue with white fly and spider mites over summer.

It's good to share information about our growing environments... others often have methods and tips we can incorporate to make our own experiences more successful. I learn a lot just from reading how everyone else grows their bulbs!

Happy Growing!

    Bookmark   December 7, 2011 at 7:02AM
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Noni Morrison

Jodi, the rot is happening on the exposed part of the bulb, not in particular the root zone. I take your advice to hert but I think it is the cool moist air and lack of sufficient sunlight that is the problem. Doubt if I would have this problem in a drier environment.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2011 at 10:16AM
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That's kind of my thought, too... cold and moist are a bad combination for many things, including lots of plant and animal species. I wonder if a DE-humidifier would help? Or maybe some warm grow lighting?

    Bookmark   December 9, 2011 at 7:11PM
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Noni Morrison

I'll have to check out a dehumidifier...Might be a good tool. Right now I have 30 fancy chrysanthemums brought in to bloom in the greenhouse...very late because deer got into the greenhouse yard and ate all the buds off while I was on my trip. They are about 3' tall and starting to bloom now....I need to stake them up on bamboo posts in the pots! THey seem quite happy with the humidity, as do the other perennials I put in to keep alive over the winter. My greenhouse is starting to be fun with the summer hanging baskets kicking out mini petunias, sweet allysum, begonias, and petunias, and the chrysanthemums up almost to the roof, and Christmas cactus filling in the odd spaces.

And now a shipment of lovely plump bulbs from Royal Colors to pot up and move into the warm dry space.. A small insulated room with 12 grow lights and s small heater works real well most of the winter for me, as long as the power doesn't go out. I did use the propane heater during a power outage last year but was very careful to hold my breath while I turned it off and let fresh air in from the garage before working in the room at all.


    Bookmark   December 9, 2011 at 10:38PM
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A little warning about furnace or heater exhaust... many years ago, I worked at a commercial greenhouse... and we used large propane furnaces to heat the spaces during winter, when they would be filled with rooting Poinsettia cuttings for sale at Christmas time.

The exhaust pipes for one of the furnaces became blocked by birds or birds nests... I don't really recall exactly how... but the exhaust nearly killed me, AND all the plants!

I was working in the greenhouse at the time, seeding certain perennials for early spring growth, and I began to feel lightheaded, headache-y, kind of sick to my stomach... and I suddenly realized what was happening and crawled out, barely making it!

I was rushed to the hospital, and the ER doctors told me that the ppm of gaseous poison in my blood were so high, they were surprised I was alive. If I hadn't been a smoker, my lungs and body would not have been able to process the poison, and I would have died.

The point, though, is that we lost a lot of the Poinsettia plants to that same exhaust. Within the next few days and following week, the lower leaves began to yellow and die, and drop off. Many didn't make it. So, even though a small heater might not affect your plants, it may be best to find a way to circulate some fresh air somehow... just in case. The exhaust is not good for humans and animals, but it can even affect plant materials!

That being said... I can't wait until next spring so I can re-open our little greenhouse and begin growing again! I really had fun with it last season, and I have a lot of plans for it come next growing season! I really want to move all my plants out to enjoy the warmth and light, though I have to work on my insect control regimen a bit.

I'm planning to use the space for seed starting, cuttings galore, and to get the most out of some of my plants, which are languishing indoors, and though surviving, could be doing so much better in a greenhouse environment!

I do hope you'll show a few pictures of what you do with all those beautiful flowers you grow... your bouquets are always so gorgeous! :-)

    Bookmark   December 11, 2011 at 7:14AM
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I'd love to see pictures of your greenhouse!

    Bookmark   December 11, 2011 at 10:39AM
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Noni Morrison

Interesting about the plants themselves being sickened by the fumes! I use the propane only during winter storm induced power outages, when its a lot better then freezing the plants, but I also am in and out of the greenhouse (Letting in fresh air) several times a day as I check on them. So far no power outages here yet this winter.

I took some pics in the greenhouse yesterday, Joshy, but my camera wouldn't download to the computer! I've been recharging the battery over night to see if that makes the difference but suspect that it is only one of a number of failures that mean a new camera soon. (Really soon if it won't download!) Problem is that I love having a viewfinder and its so hard to find a small camera with one now.

I've been "branching out" a bit and getting into African Violets and other Gesnariads, particularly through "Rob's Violet Barn". My Christmas present this year is wire shelves and LED growlight panels to go in front of my west facing (under a shade tree) front window, in the house where I can monitor them and enjoy them closely. I plan to set it up so I can also display my amaryllis that are in bloom.

I'm starting to get some nice blooms now on the amies. Right now I have Green Dragon (Really like this one!), An older Ferrari that is reblooming nicely and has bloomed for 3 weeks already in my cool greenhouse, and a couple of the Aussie ones ( Still not rooting well, and short stems...all moved into the warmer grow room). I have photographed the current one but didn't look like the soft pink was showing up well in the photo (Previewed on camera). IT will be a pretty thing if it does grow and I dusted it with Greeen Dragon pollen and vise versa, since that is what else was blooming. Have no idea of the ploidy. If it works, great, if not, well, I tried)

Side note to the other half-crippled gardeners here...TRIUMPH! I've been getting cortisone injections in my lower spine both to treat and to diagnose. Last week I think we found the culprit! IT took the Radiologist 20 minutes to find a place he could slide the needle in between the facets on the vertabra on the left side but I have felt immediate improvement! Can now bend down to empty the dishwasher without pain which is huge for me! The hope is that a few cortisone shots spaced over time will let the inflammation heal enough that I can carefully get back to some more rigorous gardening, maybe by spring! ALso planning to raise my ornamental and personal garden beds up about 24" for easier maintainance with this aging body. Gotta keep thinking ahead to keep doing what we love!

    Bookmark   December 13, 2011 at 1:23PM
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At the rate and level you use a propane heater, it may not have the same effect on your plants... it may not be enough to affect anything... it may be that certain plants aren't as adversely affected by the exhaust, either. I'm not really sure.

I just remember very clearly all the poor Poinsettias dropping wrinkled, yellowed leaves... some of the plants wilting and dying... it was quite a loss.

I think if you're circulating a little fresh air into the mix, you will avoid any possibility of bad effects. Good air circulation is important for enclosed growing spaces, so it's something we do commonly, anyway.

I'm so glad to hear you are getting some relief from cortisone shots! That's great news! :-)

My husband went through the cortisone shots decades ago, when they first were trying to treat his damaged spine. They worked on a temporary basis, but the damage is too great, I think. He's been through every treatment there is, except actual surgery... which we refuse to go through. There are no guarantees he would come through any surgery without becoming completely paralyzed, and we're just not willing to take the chance, until he already is paralyzed. At that point, we have nothing to lose by trying.

Of all the people we know who have gone under the knife for back problems... and that includes quite a few people... not one has gotten the results they expected, and a few are worse for having had surgery. We don't like the odds. And we can't afford the best surgeons or the best treatments, so we're kind of stuck.

The last treatments he had were some steroid injections, which seem to have given him more range of motion in his neck, which is a good thing... but his back is about the same. It's trashed. I'm in better shape than he is... but we're both what we call "semi-crippled", or actually semi-disabled. Oh, well... what can you do? We just roll with the punches... life goes on!

Josh, there may be some greenhouse pictures in my 2011 photo album. If you scroll through the pages, I think you'll come across a few pictures. It's nothing spectacular... just a small 10'x12' Harbor Freight special. We got it on sale, and had a carpenter friend put it up for us. It's not heated, so I only use it through 3 seasons, then I empty it out. I linked the album below, if you want to take a peek, though.

African Violets are so pretty, but I haven't had much luck growing them. They always seem to die on me. I'm very lucky to get the few orchids I have to stay alive and limp along! In fact, I freaked myself out earlier... I went to mist the Phal I recently transplanted into a new pot... it was dying in the moss the grower had it in... and I noticed that the tiny little Dendrobium keiki that Chaz sent me several years ago is throwing up its very first buds!!!

It's the first or second picture on the first page of my 2011 photo album. I'm so stoked!! I actually kept it alive, and it's decided to gift me with blooms! I couldn't be happier!

See? This is one of those wonderful moments in life that I would have missed if I hadn't been taking my time, looking carefully at all my plants... it's just amazing! :-)

I hope I didn't jinx it into dropping its buds! ;-)

Oh, anyway... I'm thrilled you are getting a light setup and growing Gesneriads... that's so cool! :-) And you now have a nice spot to enjoy Hippi blooms, too!

Whew! What a day it's been! I'm exhausted, but so happy! :-)

Here is a link that might be useful: 2011 Photo Album

    Bookmark   December 13, 2011 at 6:46PM
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