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  #11  
Old 03-19-2021, 12:27 PM
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Others like to feed hard and flush even harder.
i do this...but with alcohol and my body
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  #12  
Old 03-19-2021, 01:35 PM
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This is the part that is confusing you about the equation imo.

Rainwater has got little dissolved salts for most plants yes but orchids need 10 times less nutrients than the trees around them so what has very little nutrients for most plants is plenty for orchids.

That is to me the most crucial aspect and I know I can water my orchids with pure rainwater for up to 3 months without them needing any additional feed. I do feed on every watering but I know rainwater provides them with quite a bit already and my fertilizer just tops it up a bit.

Birds poop all over the place and trees grow up to 100 meters tall so any poop on the top branch will get washed down into every corner of the bottom of the tree.

Plenty of nutrients getting washed down constantly without every bird needing to coordinate where to poop next.
I completely understand your point and I was just joking around about animals coordinating lol. Nice anecdote about using rainwater; I will try to experiment with that too! But as I said in my original question, has anyone actually quantified and done a chemical analysis of the nutrient availability where these epiphytes live? We all tend to give these hand-wavy explanations about nutrients in nature, so it will be nice if we have some data to back it up.

Ray gave some numbers earlier (10-25 TDS and mostly N) which was helpful, but if anyone knows a bit more, please let me know as I知 pretty curious about this.

---------- Post added at 12:35 PM ---------- Previous post was at 12:28 PM ----------

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Read THIS to start.
Wow that is really cool, I値l look into these more! Do you happen to know how are they made? Is it a collection of inactive spores or some enriched agar solution? Are these randomly grown and harvested, or are specific strains desired and cultivated? I値l try to find some papers later, but if you know anything off the top of your head please let me know!
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Old 03-19-2021, 03:50 PM
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Ray gave some numbers earlier (10-25 TDS and mostly N) which was helpful, but if anyone knows a bit more, please let me know as I知 pretty curious about this.
What is in it will depend on where the sample is taken, and it looks like I misremembered...

See the chart below, from Benzing. All measurements are in ppm. Some things to consider:
  • Just because a mineral is not shown does not mean it was not present; it means it was not tested for.
  • The quantities are suspect, as we have no idea how long after the rain started that they were measured. That is, how diluted were they?
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Wow that is really cool, I値l look into these more! Do you happen to know how are they made? Is it a collection of inactive spores or some enriched agar solution? Are these randomly grown and harvested, or are specific strains desired and cultivated? I値l try to find some papers later, but if you know anything off the top of your head please let me know!
They are fermented liquids.

Specific species are selected for their actions, secretions, and compatibility, then they are blended with water, a sugar source (often molasses), possibly kelp extracts and other proprietary ingredients, and left to ferment aerobically.

Once the populations have reached target levels, the blend is packaged, the equipment steam cleaned, and a new batch begun.

The thing is, what's on the label is not necessarily representative of what is in the bottle. It is a minimum, but not necessarily complete.

Each state has its own labeling regulations, but all require that the stuff stated on the label be guaranteed. The producer decides what he wants to test for and guarantee, and that's what's on the label - and it may vary from state to state, depending upon their individual requirements, and the producer's interest in divulging info.

For example, KelpMax states it contains "so many percent kelp extract", because that's all that is tested. There are dozens and dozens of nutrients, stimulants, and plant growth regulators, but nobody is going to spend the money to test for them for every batch.
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Old 03-19-2021, 04:28 PM
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Thanks for that chart! Just what I was looking for.

Just in case I misunderstand, 途ain water means water collected without it touching anything, 鍍hrough fall means it hit some leaves first, and 都tem flow means that which is collected flowing down from trees? Is that correct?
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Old 03-19-2021, 06:11 PM
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what is in the rainwater will give you a rough idea.
You can also do a search for past threads on Nutrients, this one comes to mind thinking about the most recent ones, it will give you a better understanding of what orchids need:

Orchid Pro Fertilizer

There is also a guide on the Nutrient found in the leaves of certain orchids:

https://staugorchidsociety.org/PDF/W...ckLockwood.pdf
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Old 03-20-2021, 09:10 AM
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Thanks for that chart! Just what I was looking for.

Just in case I misunderstand, 途ain water means water collected without it touching anything, 鍍hrough fall means it hit some leaves first, and 都tem flow means that which is collected flowing down from trees? Is that correct?
That is correct.

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There is also a guide on the Nutrient found in the leaves of certain orchids:

https://staugorchidsociety.org/PDF/W...ckLockwood.pdf
Rick and I collaborated on the development of K-Lite.

The problem with tissue analysis is that it tells you what the plant has been exposed to, not what it truly needs. I argue, however, that if you consider the evolutionary "niche" status of wild orchids, they would have evolved to thrive with whatever they're getting in that location, so it's probably a better "guesstimate" for them than it would be in cultivated plants.
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Old 03-20-2021, 03:42 PM
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Plant exudates also supply nutrients to other plants lower in the canopy.

Most plants produce some version of extra-floral nectar as a way to excrete wastes. Orchid growers see this in our plants too (some people call this "happy sap"). In addition to sugars, that substance is rich in mineral nutrients, such as potassium.
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Old 03-20-2021, 04:10 PM
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Plant exudates also supply nutrients to other plants lower in the canopy.

Most plants produce some version of extra-floral nectar as a way to excrete wastes. Orchid growers see this in our plants too (some people call this "happy sap"). In addition to sugars, that substance is rich in mineral nutrients, such as potassium.
Exactly!

Alan Koch (Gold Country Orchids) let me in on a little tip about adding iron sulfate to feedings when growing Brazilian laelias (OK, "cattleyas"). The soil in Brazil is so iron rich that the terrestrial plants all exude it.
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  #19  
Old 03-20-2021, 11:05 PM
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All over the net, I keep reading guides on fertilizing orchids that always say something along the lines of "these plants get their nutrients from monkey poop and rotting crap" in the wild.
Organisms in and around the roots, and breakdown of debris hanging around the roots area, as well as nutrients washed down to the roots area -------- provide elements for the orchid.

Even ants and other things forming nests in or near the roots ----- or the media - can get a nutrient source going.

But for bulking up ----- we know the sun and the light and CO2 is behind all that ----- for producing the 'food' - through the photosynthesis process.

And we know that most orchids in general aren't super fast growers like banana palms, papaya, sugar cane ---- and a whole bunch of other plants/trees.

As long as the orchid gets a bit of the required elements every once in a while, then they'll just keep growing nicely - provided we look after them adequately.
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