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  #1  
Old 03-02-2019, 11:54 AM
Mabris Mabris is offline
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Tips on S-H automation?
Default Tips on S-H automation?

Semi-Hydroponic Orchid setup - YouTube

I’m experimenting with automating orchid semi-hydroponic culture to be able to scale raising flasked seedlings and plugs to blooming size in semi-hydroponic culture for eventual sale. I’m planning to set up an aseptic handling area to do meristem cloning as stock material as well. I run a pharmaceutical chemistry testing lab, and work alongside a lot of microbiologists and molecular biologists for advice on that.

There’s a lot of work to do yet in setting up the room more appropriately (and actually finish building the room).

Most were converted to SH 2-4 months ago, though the automated watering was set up just last week.

All but a small maxillaria made the conversion to SH ok. A lot of the cattleya and dendrobium plugs show high-light coloration from the ceramic metal halide I was using before I switched to LED quantum boards. They are showing a ton of growth, though. I made large planters for them using storage containers and corrugated plastic board, hopefully allowing them to grow larger in a more space efficient way while avoid root entanglement.

I deflasked a cattleya and a dendrobium in a “community pot”, SH-style. Of the two, the cattleya is doing much better.

The watering is driving by a pump in a large tote containing a weak fertilizer solution. The common water container is a potential issue with spread of pathogens, I many incorporate UV sterilization of the reservoir. The current watering is a heavy 30-minute drench twice a week, a smallish 5-minute drench every morning and hourly 1-minute misting during the first 3/4 of the light period. I had originally thought to run watering lines to each container, but that quickly be some unmanageable with the number of tubes. It would not have scaled easily, which is the next phase of this project.

Given what I described, what would folks suggest for changes to the setup? I would envision that as I expand to additional 4x4 trays, I’d have more opportunity to cater watering and light schedules as well as fertilization levels to individual plants.

I was heavily into orchids 15-20 years ago, but this is my first dip back in.
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Old 03-02-2019, 01:18 PM
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estación seca estación seca is offline
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Welcome to the Orchid Board!

Sharing water may eventually lead to disaster. Most people try not to do that. Same with misting, unless ambient humidity is quite low.

Have you seen this?
Angraecums...: Growing Angraecum Orchids Using Semi-Hydroponic Techniques
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Old 03-02-2019, 02:15 PM
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What you have done is a small-scale version of what I had in my greenhouse before I retired and moved, although I had my "rain nozzles" suspended from well overhead, avoiding pipes and tubes being in the way of inspecting and handling the plants. I also had fertilizer injected into my RO water supply as it was used, rather than premixed and pumped, then requiring refilling.

I would absolutely not collect the runoff for reuse. Let it go to the drain or redirect it to other plants. Not only are you potentially accumulating and sharing pathogens by reusing it, but you are accumulating and sharing plant wastes, as well.

I would go with a complete overhead "rain" every other day and dispense with your interim "mini treatments" and misting.
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Old 03-02-2019, 03:08 PM
Mabris Mabris is offline
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Thanks Ray and Estación!

I will definitely need to stop recirculating the solution. A already have the capacity to use RO, I use it for reservoir top off. What I need to do, then, is get a actual drain for the basement. I was intending to anyways, but right now I just have a sump well, which a problematic draining solution in the winter.
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Old 03-02-2019, 07:15 PM
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Instead of a drain you could direct runoff into a container and pump it elsewhere.
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