Breaking semihydroponics rules--part 2
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  #1  
Old 12-04-2018, 11:13 AM
orchidphile orchidphile is offline
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Breaking semihydroponics rules--part 2 Female
Default Breaking semihydroponics rules--part 2

Hi, everyone. Thank you for your replies on part 1 of this question. Here's another wrinkle:

I often watch orchid videos on YouTube. Miss Orchid Girl is a fairly constant presence there. She originally rejected semi-hydro. Then she started doing it properly, and now she seem to grow most of her orchids in it. Lately, she started something new: she's using an external reservoir with a microfiber wick to draw the moisture up into the pot containing the leca. Using this method, she often goes a long time between waterings--much longer than a week. The question is, will this method create problems over time? (She does flush the pots every now and then.) I know the water will lose oxygen over time, but wouldn't being wicked up into the airy leca refresh it?
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Old 12-04-2018, 11:30 AM
SundayGardener SundayGardener is offline
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Breaking semihydroponics rules--part 2
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I tried a wicking system on my one mounted orchid and it didn't work so well. I do have it wicking now but it took some tinkering.

I'd be interested in how this works. I much prefer watering from the bottom than from the top. For flushing, it pretty much has to be top down.
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  #3  
Old 12-04-2018, 01:39 PM
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The idea behind S/H culture is to provide a constant, copious supply of water to the entire root system. It seems to me that placing a wick between the reservoir and the LECA would reduce the supply and breadth of moisture in the pot.

Also, let us not forget that 1) Less water wicked = More dry pellets, 2) It is the drying of the pellets that leads to the accumulation of ultimately-toxic residues, and 3) Flushing dried residues does not remove them.
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Old 12-04-2018, 05:05 PM
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Leafmite Leafmite is offline
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Breaking semihydroponics rules--part 2
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I like to grow herbs and keeping the soil evenly moist without becoming soggy has been a problem in the past. Last year, I used cotton clothesline and made wicks for a little garden to start my herbs from seed. I melted pairs of holes from one end of the container to the other, cut and fed the cotton rope up into one hole of the pair and then down. When I added the dirt, I made certain that the wick was kept upright and not pushed flat. The ends of the rope were dropped into the reservoir and the growing container was kept above the water. It worked really well. If you are going to use this method, I would recommend testing the set up before adding the orchid so you can make adjustments without stressing the orchid.

I have thought of using the wicking method with my orchids as it worked so well with the herbs.
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Old 12-04-2018, 06:38 PM
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I use LECA in self-watering and I have no trouble making the water reach all the pebbles to the top with my microfiber wicks (cut from a mop).

In fact, when I had trouble with the water reaching the top was before.

*shrugs forever*

I soak the media for half an hour and then flush to get rid of the salt built up once a month. A few of them don't even have built up because they are eating a lot lately.
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Old 12-06-2018, 12:03 PM
orchidphile orchidphile is offline
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Thanks, everyone. It seems to me that this method is definitely worth experimenting with, especially given Sillykeiki's comments. Imagine how many more orchid growers we might have if people could go a month or more without watering. This is a great thing to try with keikis or extra divisions--not much to lose if you lose the new plant. Let me know how it works for you.
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Old 12-06-2018, 12:45 PM
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Keep in mind that if the humidity level in your growing area is low, the evaporation rate gains an advantage over the wicking rate, whether the limiting factor is the wick or the LECA.

When used in a soil application, it's a no-brainer, as the soil retains water much better.
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