share your hoyas under lights setup ideas!
I posted to the "Growing under Lights" forum yesterday (http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/lights/msg0415562015139.html), but the light setup is largely and increasingly for hoyas, so I thought you guys here would surely have useful ideas and things in mind I haven't thought of.
So, check that post out, please, reply if you would, and here's some follow-up to it.
Do you prefer trays or individual saucers under your plants? If trays, what kinds of trays? I think Perma Nest trays are overpriced at ~$8 a pop. Anybody use these $2.30 trays: http://www.amazon.com/Plant-Growing-Trays-Drain-Holes/dp/B0058PTK6M ? Just how bad are they? Black color sort of makes me depressed, although it may show less dirt. Any other ideas for trays? They need to have deep ridges on the bottom, so that the effluent stays under the pot and provides extra humidity.
I am kind of proud of my own solution to the problem of "too many small pots", pictured below. That metal pot is conveniently about as deep as the shelf and fits 9 hoya cups inside. The space inside the big pot in-between the 9 cups is also filled with the mix, to provide some extra local humidity, to not allow the cups to dry out too fast and to hold them in place more reliably. The cups are all doubled, so that each inner cup can be lifted out, roots examined and the plant either placed back, or repotted into a bigger disposable clear cup - and into a similar communal pot with larger cups as placeholders for larger root systems.
I find it very convenient. There is no knocking over small top-heavy pots - this is very stable and not top-heavy at all. Watering is easier than on saucers or maybe even a tray - just a continuous flow of water side to side in the whole communal pot - everything needs to get wet, not just the mix inside the cups but also the mix in-between the hoyas. It's very space-saving because the cups are all held closely together and reliably in place. Access is easy - I water in place, actually, but when I want to examine the plants, pulling the pot out is easier than putzing around with individual pots in trays or on saucers. Another advantage is trellising: in small individual pots both ends of the loop need to end up in the same small pot, which creates sharp bends in the vines, but here I can bend the trellis wire and insert it into the opposite end of the metal pot - then that particular plant can sort of roam by all of its roommates there. This is very space-efficient.
The one thing I have not quite figured out yet what to do about is drainage: the metal pot has a drainage hole on one side of it, and the water simply flows down into the rooting/ICU container underneath. :-) Not horrible because my mix does not get water-logged, but not optimal either in case plants underneath need to be dryer for some reason.
Anyway... What are your ideas for indoors under lights setups?
A related question is how to make watering faster, easier and more efficient with indoor shelving setups like these. I try to avoid watering in the sink as much as I can these days. It's REALLY time consuming: the sink is small, and the carrying back and forth, the watering twice (that's how I do it, for better mix penetration) with a wait in-between, the waiting for it to drain - I just have no patience for this.
So, I water in place instead. Some shallow saucers overflowing is inevitable, and at those times these vertically organized wire shelves are great - the overflow may hit a plant underneath (great!), and if not, there are those rooting containers again to the rescue! Even if it goes on the tile floor, I am not making a mess under every window, but rather in one very localized place easy to mop up. (I rarely do though - it's not that bad and just dries up.)
So... How do you water indoor setups to save time, to do it well and to enjoy it?
Finally (yeah, this message needs more writing! lol), misting! I just got a pressure sprayer and have been experimenting with it, and I really like it. Do you guys spray water indoors for humidity? I always find it makes a dripping mess everywhere. If I do it say once or twice every day during the heating season, how damaging is it to things like windows, sills, wooden floors, sheetrock walls, paint, molding etc.?