Curious about growers with 100+ plants

xmpraedicta(3b Saskatoon)October 4, 2009

I've always been curious about growers who have over 100 plants and don't live in areas where plants can fend for themselves outside. How on earth do you manage the watering? Dunking everything must take hours and hours, not to mention gallons and gallons of water. Also, with your orchids in a greenhouse outside, do you really make the trek in the dead of winter to water everything? Or do you have some sort of automatic watering system going on? An army of volunteers?

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highjack(z6 KY)

When I grew inside I had around 250 plants. I carried each one to the sink and flushed watered them, then fertilized and drained each one, then carried them back. I never dunked or shared water between containers for fear of possibly sreading virus. I also spread out the watering through the entire week.

Yes, in the dead of winter, any weather, multiple times a day, you go to the g/h to do whatever needs to be done. It might be 10 degrees and sunny outside but the g/h is delightful - why wouldn't you walk through the 10 degrees to play in a warm, buoyant g/h? I have an alarm system that will call me plus a thermometer in the house for quick reference, but a trip to the g/h is better reassurance that everything is running properly.


    Bookmark   October 5, 2009 at 5:56AM
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ifraser25(z11 Brazil)

I am so glad I live in Brazil, Calvin, and don't have to go to all the faff I used to when I lived in UK. There I used to water with a high power pump/spray so I could get the job done in about 10 minutes. I used to heat with an old tea urn that filled the greenhouse with hot steam! The plants loved it but it was a hell of a job cleaning off the algae that grew on the glass in the very damp conditions and of course controlling the pests. Plus my fans were always breaking down because moisture and electricity are not good friends.The cost and the effort was horrrendous. You really have to love orchids! - Ian.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2009 at 11:01AM
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xmpraedicta(3b Saskatoon)

Doh...posted to the wrong forum

Brooke - so how long do you typically devote to watering? I agree - a greenhouse in the winter is absolute paradise!

Ian - I can only imagine! I have issues with that in my little 90 gallon tank and I complain about cleaning it.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2009 at 11:17AM
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bcfromfl(z8a NW FL)

Hi Calvin --

I have about 150 plants right now. I have an automatic watering system controlled by a digital Orbit valve. During the winter, if I don't want a thorough soaking (maintaining some plants drier), I turn the valve off, fill my two-gallon pump sprayer, and water those in need by hand.

I used to water the entire collection by hand with the pump sprayer...took about 10 minutes.


    Bookmark   October 5, 2009 at 2:21PM
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xmpraedicta(3b Saskatoon)

That's so crazy since it takes me about 45 minutes to dunk everything (changing water of course)...I have discovered that with my mounted plants, I just squirt with a spray bottle a jet of water onto the moss and onto the wooden planks, and everything gets nice and wet...I guess that's similar to what you guys do with the pump sprayer. It kinda brushes me the wrong way though, after all the conditioning I've received to NEVER spray, or mist, or get the leaves wet. When I use my bottle, water gets into the crown and all sorts of bad places...but so far, no rot or problems and it's been about 6 months now.

I do have two fans running, and everything is dry within 2 hours. Maybe the good air movement makes it okay. I'm thinking of installing an automatic spray-nozzle system.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2009 at 11:14PM
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highjack(z6 KY)

I water everything in the g/h by hand with a hose from our rain storage tanks. To give you an idea of time involved, it takes me 45 minutes to water just the mounted 'chids plus all vanda types. I fertilize with a pump hand sprayer and can do that in much less time.

The potted 'chids are on a "kinda" schedule but during the winter, watering is never on a schedule because I don't water unless the sun is shining. KY can have days of no sun in the winter.

Calvin if your plants are dry in two hours, don't be afraid of getting water on the leaves. Dirty dusty leaves won't operate as efficiently as clean leaves. You only need to worry about wet if it is cold for long periods of time.


    Bookmark   October 6, 2009 at 6:49AM
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Ian, can you tell us how you heated your greenhouse with a tea urn? When you mention a tea urn, I'm just thinking of a tall, metal, cylindrical thing that holds hot water -- is that what you mean?


    Bookmark   October 6, 2009 at 9:55AM
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cjwatson(Z8 FL)

My plants have to be inside the greenhouse for about half of the year, with a few plants excepted that can stay out until it drops below freezing. About half of the 600 +/- are miniature to small plants which stay in the GH all year. The bigger plants -- Vandaceous and Cattleya Alliance types -- are outdoors from late spring to early fall. Almost all, indoor and outdoor, are watered with a garden hose, takes me about five to ten minutes to do. I do have to take down the trays of plants on the light shelf and do them by hand -- another five minutes. I am fortunate to have very good tap water.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2009 at 10:25AM
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xmpraedicta(3b Saskatoon)

I have great tap water but it goes through a softener so I'm totally stuck. I really hate that softener but it's not my house and I have no say. Must move out.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2009 at 12:33AM
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