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  #1  
Unread 03-31-2009, 02:35 AM
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Default New Orchid enclosure...

So after looking at so many different ideas on how people keep and grow their orchids I thought I could build my own. I live in the Denver, CO area and we refer to this part of the contry as a high plains desert. The average anual humidity here is about 14%. Not a lot.

So I thought, "this would be a neat project and experiment." I bought a 5 shelf, Rubber Maid plastic shelf system as the base.



I then wired up and mounted a 3 light, outdoor (water proof) base and fitted 3 GE 6500K 100 watt bulbs on each of the top two shelves. 300 watts per shelf, more if I get the 150 watt bulbs I found the other day. I tested the output of this setup and I am getting 3000 fc in the center of the 3 bulbs at less than the leaf level and then the light level falls off to 500 fc at the edges of the shelves.



I don't own a proper light meter that reads in foot candles, but I did find this wonderful online book that describes how to use the light meter in your SLR camera to get a reading in fc.

Ortho's all about orchids - Google Book Search

Nice resource btw!

The covering is simply a plastic window sealing kit I got from Home Depot. I applied the double sided tape to the shelf unit and then cut the pieces of plastic to fit. I could hit the whole thing with a hair dryer to get the plastic to pull tight. Not sure if I want to do that yet or not. The front cover is loose and can be flipped up to gain access to all the shelves.





I also put a warm mist humidifier on the lowest level and set it to a very low setting. I don't have a humidity gauge yet, but from the amount of moisture on the plastic after about an hour run time I would guess it was in the high 80s to 90s. That will need some messing with to get right. The leaves of the plants I stuck in there were moist as well as every other surface in the inside area.







I next need to fit a small fan inside the unit to get some air circulation. Not sure what I'll use for that yet. My first thought is a cheap 6" clip fan that I saw at Walmart for $10. That and a light dimmer and I'll be able to adjust the airflow perfectly.

I measured the temp inside the unit at the top self level. After about an hour run time the top shelf stablized at 85 degrees F. Nice and toasty. But I know adding a fan will cool things a bit from there. But all these results were taken at night time. The shelf with sit in front of an Easter facing window, so there will be some heat generated from that.

So far things seem to be working out, but I'm sure there will be some sort of hicup out there.

Any advice?
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  #2  
Unread 03-31-2009, 07:36 AM
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Chas! That looks like a great setup! I have similar grand plans for my orchid space.....going to use a similar shelving unit with adjustable shelves but going to use a 4 or 8-tube T5 bank. Oh...and I repotted carlnoidius yesterday...he is going on his 4th month of blooming now. Please continue to post more pics as your collection grows!
Regards,
Dan
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  #3  
Unread 03-31-2009, 07:58 AM
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I don't have anything like that set-up so not sure about the makings of one. I have low humidity levels also, so I'm interested in how this will work out for you. Keep us posted! It really looks good.
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  #4  
Unread 03-31-2009, 10:54 AM
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It's not the prettiest thing I've ever made, but is seems to work. I'll go out here in a bit and get a fan and a dimmer control to get the air flowing in there. I'm thinking that will help with the air temps and humidity level. At the moment I think both are a bit too high.

Oh and the huge pot on the bottom shelf, that's some sort of patio Daisy. It's suppose to be an annual, one year only thing. It's only cold hardy to 30 degrees or so. I brought it in over the winter and clipped it way back. Surprise! It's back. I think my wife has bigger plans for this enclosure than I do. I have to move a fern into there next. Another annual that shouldn't be here for more than 1 growing season. I hate to let plants die. There too expensive otherwise. My yard is full of perenials.
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  #5  
Unread 03-31-2009, 11:10 AM
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Dan, my carlnoidious is also doing well! That darn plant is a freak! Not only is it still blooming, with more buds to open, but it is also growing new leaves! It has one tiny one in the top center and one larger one off to the side coming out at a slightly off center angle. I thought they either bloomed or grew roots and leave, but not both at the same time.
I'd love to take a look-see at the roots, but there seems to be no reason to at this time. No reason to tip the apple cart now.

Post up some pictures of your plant, leaves and all. I'd love to see what it looks like all the way around.

Freaky little plant!

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  #6  
Unread 03-31-2009, 11:31 AM
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Your set up is really nice! There's plenty of room in there, do you have enough orchids to fill it? . I don't really need something so complete, since luckily the humidity is pretty high year round here.
Just one question though. When you water, isn't the water going to fall onto the light fixture below?
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  #7  
Unread 03-31-2009, 11:44 AM
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You know Camille, I just now came up from the basement, moved and repotted a phal that's not doing well into the encloseure and saw exactly what you just said. Drip, drip, drip... The lamp fixtures themselves are water resistant, but they surely don't want water dripping onto and into them. I plan on getting some clear plastic water trays. Two reasons, keep the water where it is suppose to stay (away from the electricity) and to also aide with humidity. Clear because there is already a proponderonce of black in there and also to let some light from underneath come through.

As for space, well if the plants are small enough, sure there's lots of room. But my Dendrobium and two larger phals aren't going to play nice in there.
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  #8  
Unread 03-31-2009, 11:45 AM
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Oh, and the need for more orchids... Yeah, sore subject right now... Wifey thinks I have enough. ! Really!!??? How can you say that's enough?
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  #9  
Unread 03-31-2009, 09:15 PM
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Default Carlnoidius as requested...

It's in a 7" pot now.
Attached Thumbnails
New Orchid enclosure...-img_3362.jpg  
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  #10  
Unread 03-31-2009, 11:01 PM
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Holy Cow Dan, that's HUGE!!!!!! Nice growing!
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