Phals in the Kratky method
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Phals in the Kratky method
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  #1  
Old 03-28-2021, 08:24 PM
katsucats katsucats is offline
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Phals in the Kratky method Male
Default Phals in the Kratky method

I'm a chronic underwaterer. I just can't keep a schedule when it comes to watering plants. I've experimented with hydro where it's similar to S/H but I let the reservoir run nearly dry before I water, and moss, both to mixed results. But one thing that worked when I used to do it (but abandoned it for a bit because a gallon of water is too heavy) is the Kratky method.

To put it simply, I use a heavy duty 6 inch net pot with LECA, and set it over a crock pot. Why a crock pot? Because it fits perfectly under the net pot and no other reason. In fact, it's not ideal since it's heavy itself.

Then I fill it up half way with water, so it goes less than half way up the root system. So in the beginning, it's like 1/4 of the net pot up. But as the roots grow into the water, I could fill it up to an inch below the net pot.

And then I leave it alone for literally months. I just checked on a plant I had sitting in the kitchen for literally half a year since I watered it and sure enough, there are still thick, green roots sitting in half a tank of water. Tap water. Sure I see the salts building up on the LECA, but it hasn't bothered it.

Has anyone tried this nearly hands free way of growing orchids?
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  #2  
Old 03-29-2021, 02:41 PM
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SouthPark SouthPark is offline
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I haven't tried that method before katsu.

What are the main noticed disadvantages behind that method? You mentioned 1 gallon of water is too heavy. What kind of drawback did the heaviness create?

Also - the salt build-up. What was that due to? Fertiliser?

Any algae encountered?

And was there any special method of mounting of the netpot into the crock-pot?

Maybe - if properly maintained - could work for 1 or a few phals. But maybe some things to consider for a large collection of phals.
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  #3  
Old 04-01-2021, 05:28 PM
katsucats katsucats is offline
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The pot I've used is this one (except it's white or tan): 030207 - Classic™ Crock w/Lid 2.7 qt - Clear | Carlisle FoodService Products

The net pot: Amazon.com

It just sits on top of it, no special mount. I could lift it off to flush if I want, but I haven't found much need to. Probably did twice in the last 3 years.

The salt built up is from the tap. I never fertilized. The top layer of LECA could be half white, I'm not sure how much salt is in the middle or bottom where the root system is, but no plants have died for that reason. I did have a plant lose some leaves because I left it alone for too long, like a year, and the reservoir dried up.

Algae is minimal to none. I'm not sure if it's because the pot I used was a solid color, and rather thick compared to typical plastic pots, so no light could get through. I'm going to try this again with clear pots and see what happens.

The Phals I used for that project were given to me by a friend at the time who said his parents ran an orchid nursery, and if they couldn't sell a plant by the time the flowers are gone, they discard it. So of course they're the typical noID hybrids, so I can't say for sure whether species fare well with this method.

The only drawbacks are:
  1. The crock is actually 2.7qt, not quite a gallon, but filled with water, and being over a pound itself, is kind of heavy. That means if you need to move it around for whatever reason, whether to flush, it could be a bit bothersome. Thankfully, most of the time, it could be topped up with a cup of water.
  2. The crock is about 7" tall, a few inches more than the typical orchid pot at 4-5", so if you're working with an indoor shelf setup, you may need to make adjustments.
  3. This is the primary reason that I moved away from the setup, although it's dubious in retrospect. I've been experimenting with ways to streamline transplanting, and having the roots are wrapped up on a heavy duty net pot that's hard to cut means the net pot would most likely be one with the orchid once it's established. I know I get way ahead of myself, but I keep thinking what if the orchid grows out of the pot, then I would have to put the pot instead another pot, and that's ugly. What I hadn't considered was that Phals are monopodial, so that's less of an issue.

As far as I've been concerned, it was like lazy S/H, where instead of topping it up every day, there's a larger reservoir at the bottom for the roots to grow into. Also, the zone between the net pot medium and the reservoir traps moisture by design, creating a humidity zone even if the water level drops too low.

If I had a large number of plants with a greenhouse, I'd find a way to punch small holes on the side so I could arbitrarily top it up every week with an automatic timer, but sitting by a kitchen window, and for most home growers without a drain system, that would just get excess water everywhere, which, to me, is a drawback of S/H (the water line is right below the hole where it could easily spill out).

Last edited by katsucats; 04-01-2021 at 05:36 PM..
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Old 04-02-2021, 08:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by katsucats View Post
I never fertilized.
Sounds good katsu. The only thing is the part when you mentioned that you've never fertilised. From the perspective of systems - biological systems or process - we know that eventually that the system needs certain important inputs, in order to keep functioning properly. So it is expected that at one point in time - in the future - it will be necessary to add fertiliser - unless there is another pathway for essential elements etc to get into the system - such as organisms and bits of things falling into the water creating a soup when water has been sitting around for long enough.
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Old 04-03-2021, 12:38 AM
katsucats katsucats is offline
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There are trace minerals in tap, and I've had plants tugging along for years that I never fertilize flower reliably. If I need to fertilize of course I could just add some in the reservoir in the same way it works for S/H. Anyways, thanks for entertaining my ideas.
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Old 04-03-2021, 01:12 AM
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Originally Posted by katsucats View Post
TI've had plants tugging along for years that I never fertilize flower reliably. If I need to fertilize of course I could just add some in the reservoir in the same way it works for S/H. Anyways, thanks for entertaining my ideas.
Most welcome katsu. It was only a comment about never fertilised - orchids that is. Otherwise - no problem.
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Old 04-04-2021, 05:10 PM
katsucats katsucats is offline
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I got this bellina hybrid so let's experiment. The second photo is the established noid. If this works, I could grow 100 Phals without a pump and still take a vacation.
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Phals in the Kratky method-img_20210404_140136-jpg   Phals in the Kratky method-16175704485896929242724998550986-jpg  
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  #8  
Old 04-04-2021, 07:30 PM
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Looks good katsu. That method is also the wicking method, right? That is - the wicking method - LECA style.

With water methods - some considerations will include temperature ----- such as evaporative effect (cooling of roots). So heating in some regions - parts of the world - may sometimes be needed.

I have read that - with very watery environments ------- growers must look into methods for avoiding issues associated with long term watery environments. But - on the other hand - if you have been growing your phals in this way for a few years with no issues, then that's a nice situation.

Definitely looking forward to hearing more good results on this method of growing phals.
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