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  #21  
Old 03-26-2019, 05:31 PM
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Again - if you're going to do the Garden Solution probiotic thing, it'll take care of all of that concern.
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  #22  
Old 03-26-2019, 06:53 PM
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Again - if you're going to do the Garden Solution probiotic thing, it'll take care of all of that concern.
Yep it’s on the way. Thanks for the tip.
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  #23  
Old 03-28-2019, 12:37 AM
mere_dog mere_dog is offline
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3 tablespoons/gallon, once a month. I just add it to my normal water/fertilizer solution. A periodic spritz from a hand-held sprayer with double that concentration if you see a developing issue. (I recently cured a Phal. parishii of a beginning infection that way.)
Ray - So you recommend this in general, and not just for deflasking? Is it just for mold? I have a Den. anceps that is failing. I wouldn't say it's because of mold, but I don't want to lose it

Thank you,
Carolyn

---------- Post added at 12:37 AM ---------- Previous post was at 12:34 AM ----------

Your underground cave is the coolest environment that I've seen in a long time :-0
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  #24  
Old 03-28-2019, 08:29 AM
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Carolyn - when I was first introduced to the product, I was highly skeptical and really didn't see any great benefits in its use, but it IS a probiotic after all, and it's hard to discern an improved "lack of issues".

Here's an excerpt that I think explains what the "critters" in the stuff do:

Beneficial bacteria primarily protect plants by competing with pathogenic bacteria, and exuding antibiotics into the rhizosphere that kill pathogens and prevent them from harming the plant. Additionally, as the bacteria grow and multiply, they secrete amino acids and plant growth stimulating hormones.

Beneficial fungi also compete with others and secrete antibiotics, but have the additional benefit of parasitizing them, as well. They generally do that through a mechanism of cell wall degradation, which not only kills the pathogens, but converts them into nutrients that can be taken up by the plant. Besides those, the colonization of the roots by the microorganisms offers additional, significant benefits.

As the fungi grow, they extend hyphae throughout the root zone and potting medium, and mycorrhizae directly into the plants' root cells. To fungi, hyphae are analogous to roots on a plant, and become an extensive network capable of absorbing water and nutrients. The mycorrhizae are the pathway that the fungi use to pump nutrients into the plant in exchange for sugars. As plants' roots can only absorb nutrients that are very close to them, the hyphae network plays the significant role of "extending the reach" of the roots, enabling uptake from a larger area of the host tree’s surface. The fungal hyphae absorb water and nutrients, transfers them to the fungi, who in turn, transfer them via their mycorrhizae directly into plants' root cells. Fungal hyphae are apparently particularly good at absorbing and transferring phosphorus, copper, manganese, and zinc, helping complete the plants’ nutrient needs. Additionally, fungal hyphae can absorb and trap excessive levels of dissolved solids, precluding them from stressing the plants.
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  #25  
Old 03-28-2019, 06:44 PM
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So many updates it's hard to know where to begin...I'll try to get photos but here's where we're at:

1) my PAR meter arrived, and it answered definitively how my lights are performing. Paired with my light meter, I can optimize the height and position of the lamps to suit whatever growing conditions I'm trying to mimic.

2) Spent a back breaking hour of sifting, shoveling and consequently washing 10lbs of pea gravel. It doesn't sound like a lot of work but lol wow, the lengths we go to to save a buck. The pea gravel will serve as a false bottom and water reservoir that can provide evaporative cooling with a properly aimed fan in the summer if needed.

3) The ceramic heating element is sealed, I'm just waiting for the solvent in the silicone to gas off. Last thing I'd want is to infect the chamber with silicone that wasn't completely finished gassing off. I'm going on 48 hours and it still hasn't fully cured.

4) I went to Home depot and picked up the Plastolite egg crate panel that I'll use to create the false bottom and wall hang points. I also picked up this galvanized steel pipe hood that I'm going to use encase the heating element in so the mist from the misting system doesn't come in direct contact with the heating element (450F ceramic element + cold water, bad combo)

5) I have to 3d print some connectors for the humidifier so that should be a fun evening

6) My CO2 tank arrived today. I'm going to head to the local beer making shop tomorrow and get it filled up. I have smart switches I'm going to use to plug the 110v solenoid into so I can automate the CO2 injection. Aim will be inject CO2 during the evening respiration period and will be shooting for about 3000pm. I have 2 sets of CO2 sensors I'll be using one of which will eventually be automated and will control the solenoid via a smart switch.

7) On an impulse, and feeling extremely good about where the tank is going, I decided I'd invest into 2 more Taeniophyllum Obtussums which arrived today and to my utter surprise, these little guys were actually about 10 plants secured to oak panels...absolutely stunning specimens - and can't wait to get them into the tank

8) I also picked up a flask of 25 Paph Henryanums, so the plan will be to grow those out and then trade them away for stuff I want later.

9) bought 2 more phrags to replace the ones we killed earlier last year along with some fine orchiata mix...so that should be fun

10) I acquired another phal violacea to replace the one I poisoned into its current state (but is slowly recovering) - I finally saw growth from the root tips after nothing for months when I was killing it slowly with bad guesstimates of concentrations for all kinds of things.

11) My 2 bucket RO system - I don't know how I ever managed without this thing. This little $90 setup has already filled all our home humidifiers twice, and I've pre mixed up about 4 gallons of MSU style fertilizer at about 165PPM. It takes about 4 hours to fill up from empty, so I keep a second bucket filled to buffer consumption and it's been working beautifully.

Not mentioned earlier, but I've been seeing evidence of calcium deficiencies in a few of my orchids, so I've introduce dolomotic lime to the mixes and have slightly increased the cal magic doses...it'll take a few weeks to see if they respond well to the change so stay tuned there.

I can't tell you how liberating it is to see all that precision paying off as ALL the plants have started responding to these culture modifications. I have at least 6 orchids sprouting new roots, several showing green tips and active growth after months of slow decline.

12) The Concentric Ag solution is on order and was supposed to arrive today but I was so excited to water the orchids that I jumped ahead and did just that...so this application will have to wait until next week...thank you so much for posting the above explanation, I remember reading something almost identical to that a long while ago and although I'm no scientist, it sounds perfectly logical the way they explain it. Especially the part about how the good bacteria crowds out the bad bacteria, absolutely brilliant.

More to come soon!!!!

---------- Post added at 06:44 PM ---------- Previous post was at 05:59 PM ----------

Quote:
Your underground cave is the coolest environment that I've seen in a long time :-0
lol - I almost missed this...yes it's charming in a sort of "it's the put the lotion on its skin" sort of way...First thing I did when we moved into this historic district house was to install like a dozen lights in that literal man cave.

I've been good about capturing video of the process, but it's the editing part that's competing with the build time, so going to finish out the build then post out the videos when things settle down.

Last edited by Mochaboy; 03-28-2019 at 06:49 PM..
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  #26  
Old 03-29-2019, 08:45 AM
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While there are variations in the optimal CO2 enrichment needs of plants, I think your target of 3000 ppm is toxic. I believe (an older recollection) that something in the neighborhood of 1000-1500 ppm is far more appropriate.

Tell us more about your evidence of calcium deficiencies and the fertilizing regimen. MSU fertilizers have calcium in them, so you may be misinterpreting the symptoms - a VERY easy thing to do.
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  #27  
Old 03-29-2019, 11:32 AM
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While there are variations in the optimal CO2 enrichment needs of plants, I think your target of 3000 ppm is toxic. I believe (an older recollection) that something in the neighborhood of 1000-1500 ppm is far more appropriate.

Tell us more about your evidence of calcium deficiencies and the fertilizing regimen. MSU fertilizers have calcium in them, so you may be misinterpreting the symptoms - a VERY easy thing to do.
Thanks for the note - I revisited the journals just to double check and not only did I get the levels wrong, I got the timing wrong. Supposed to inject during the day not at night. I'll adjust accordingly.

I'm posting photos of the sick orchids. We keep the orchids in a couple of places, but the grow room is the only one I have any control over temps or humidity. I keep a humidifier running all day and shut it off at night, but for the time the grow lights are on (15 hours daily), it keeps the room at 55-60% humidity. I also have an oscillating fan moving air in the room. That fan took care of a lot of the mold issues I used to see.

For media I use a coarse, medium and fine fir bark depending on the orchid, with varying levels of charcoal, perlite and sphagnum moss. This is because the other growing area is horrifically dry, like 20% humidity + forced air + next to baseboard radiators. My wife is adamant that putting plants next to radiators in a dry environment is a good idea, my experience says otherwise.

The sick orchids you see mostly came orchids my wife purchased and put in that grow area which is in an east facing room sun room with limited south facing window coverage. Usually when they flower, I move them from the grow room to the sun room so we can enjoy the flowers. As an aside, I knew there were problems with that location, but she has her collection and her own routines and I have mine. Let's just say that 8 months later, they all ended up in the grow room due to various issues contributing to their decline and are slowly being nursed back to health.

So my theory is:
* temperature swings between day and night were drastic, we're talking high 50's to low 70's on cold days...that shocked more than one bud into blasting on several occassions

* not enough humidity paired with media that dried out too fast and spent too much time in between waterings

* conversely good humidity plus media that retained water for too long and caused root rot (I saw a little evidence of this in the oncidiums but they're recovering now that I adjust the mix so it's a little less retentive since it has access to good humidity

Long story short - I failed to create optimal conditions for the roots, roots started to die back or cease functioning, plant suffers because it can't take up nutrients, roots start to rot causing further decline, etc...etc...it probably didn't help that that quarter strength solution was actually 4x more concentrated than it needed to be but that was my fault for over complicating things. I fixed that problem with my TDS meter, and coupled with the RO water supply, the plants are doing much better but still not great.

As an aside, since I'm in the northeast, I just opted to keep the entire collection under artificial lighting, and they're all under a collection of shop leds from Home Depot that put out decent levels of light at about 6-8 inches.

Anyway - here's the album with the orchids in question:

Imgur: The magic of the Internet

Last edited by Mochaboy; 03-29-2019 at 12:47 PM..
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  #28  
Old 03-29-2019, 12:33 PM
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I see nothing there that even hints of a calcium deficiency, or any nutrient, formthat matter.

What I see is dehydration, whether that be from a lack of watering, a lack of decent root system, or arid conditions - or a combination thereof - I cannot say.

As far as root rot is concerned, "water", per se , is not the problem; lack of air is. If the voids in your potting medium are too small, water is held in them by surface tension, suffocating the roots. The trick is to find a potting medium that holds moisture long enough to match your preferred watering frequency and growing conditions, while remaining open and airy.
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  #29  
Old 03-30-2019, 03:35 PM
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You won't need the heater. The temps in south Florida in winter range from intermediate to cool to cold. I keep my ghost orchids outside in central Florida except when the temps get below 45 F. Your cooler grow room temps in winter would be beneficial, along with reduced winter watering to simulate the dry season of South Florida.

Also, I must contradict those who say air circulation is a problem. Sometimes the air in the swamps is mostly still. Other times, such as when storms are moving in, there is a lot of air movement. Our home is on a hill with a good amount of constant wind. This has not been a problem for my ghosts.

One major key to success is correct mounting. Imagine laying your mount flat on a table. The plants should be mounted with their new roots "down" toward the mount and older roots "up" into the air. This way, as new roots emerge from the growing center of the plant, they will find the mount surface quickly and attach. Attached roots are much easier to keep happy and growing compared to aerial roots.

---Prem
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  #30  
Old 03-31-2019, 04:36 PM
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Mochaboy Mochaboy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by prem View Post
You won't need the heater. The temps in south Florida in winter range from intermediate to cool to cold. I keep my ghost orchids outside in central Florida except when the temps get below 45 F. Your cooler grow room temps in winter would be beneficial, along with reduced winter watering to simulate the dry season of South Florida.

Also, I must contradict those who say air circulation is a problem. Sometimes the air in the swamps is mostly still. Other times, such as when storms are moving in, there is a lot of air movement. Our home is on a hill with a good amount of constant wind. This has not been a problem for my ghosts.

One major key to success is correct mounting. Imagine laying your mount flat on a table. The plants should be mounted with their new roots "down" toward the mount and older roots "up" into the air. This way, as new roots emerge from the growing center of the plant, they will find the mount surface quickly and attach. Attached roots are much easier to keep happy and growing compared to aerial roots.

---Prem
Hey thanks for popping in. Anyone who's interested in Ghost Orchids would have come across your name and your vast contributions to the knowledge base for this guy. Very honored to see you posting here

On the temps - I have to ask, do you think there's any value in in providing consistently optimal conditions for growth at least early on? My sense is, if I could supercharge the early part of its growth cycle by providing it with optimal temps, optimal humidity, a pathogen resistant environment, and elevated levels of CO2, I could at least get it to the point where it's robust enough to shrug off the odd stress or two.

Or do you think there's some genetic programming there that makes it expect to see seasonal fluctuations, not quite like how a deciduous plants over winter but maybe something like that? I don't know.

On the air flow, what I built is a circulator that takes the hot air from the top of the tank and blows it to the bottom of the tank, never on the orchids, just sort of around them. I have it sketched out, I just need to 3D print the housing

As for the mounting tip, I'm pretty sure I learned that exact tip (growing tips towards the media) from you ...I'll make it a point to identify the crown on the video when I get to deflasking and mounting everything.

Everything's pretty much ready to go. I have the plastolite egg crate bottoms and backs cut and ready to slide in. My pea gravel's washed and dried. I siliconed in some drain management things into the base of the tank, so just waiting for that to finish curing. The Concentric Ag got delayed, so it's now due in on Monday at which point I might have the opportunity to start pulling these guys out.

On a side note - the pair of taeniophyllum obtusum I just acquired are throwing out 4 spikes. My daughter's infatuated with tiny things and she couldn't believe the tiny nub on those leafless orchids will eventually turn into an ogre face shaped smiley face
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