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  #1  
Old 02-21-2021, 09:14 PM
acco acco is offline
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How do you water a large collection efficiently?
Default How do you water a large collection efficiently?

Looking to hear how people water a large number of orchids efficiently. I have amassed quite a large windowsill collection, I think I have a few hundred, and it takes way too long to water them all in the winter. In warm months I load them up onto bread trays and take them outside to water them which is fast enough, but in the winter I'm lugging them all to the kitchen sink and back a couple at a time. Has anyone come up with a faster / better way?

I'm also interested to hear if anyone has come up with a custom setup, like a watering table/station/whatever, as we might be doing a laundry room remodel so I could potentially create something there

thanks!
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  #2  
Old 02-22-2021, 12:13 AM
Orchidtinkerer Orchidtinkerer is offline
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How do you water a large collection efficiently?
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hi acco,
I've got over 400. That includes about 100 seedlings they are the most work as I have to water them daily but they are all together so i spray the lot, doesn't take too long.

I'm quite proud of the rest of my setup though. I have switched most to self watering pots and my vanda's use bare-root self wicking systems, kind of my own design, it's essentially exactly the same as a self watering pot just with no media in the pot.

Your setup sounds ridiculously hard work. Granted switching all to self watering is a huge mission too, making 400 self watering pots takes weeks, repotting them all takes time too.

But once they are set up they can be left alone for up to 2 weeks, i try to water them once a week.

Any that are not in self watering pots I need to water twice a week.

You need to think simple but easy to move about which self watering pots provide.

You could set up big irrigation trays that collect water as you water from above - your watering table sounds good, you just need to invest in a portable 5l pressure sprayer and a watering can. No carrying orchids while watering, watering takes long enough! Plant dishes are a very affordable way to collect excess water from spilling onto the carpet. It requires not soaking pots.

have a look at this thread where he builds a shelf tray for his collection
Draining Shelf for Indoor Growing

Here are some helpful videos explaining all about self watering pots:





Last edited by Orchidtinkerer; 02-22-2021 at 12:42 AM..
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  #3  
Old 02-22-2021, 02:54 AM
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O think Orchidtinkerer's second suggestion with the trays to catch runoff is problably what is the most workable, and most commonly done. Quite a few people have rigged up a shelfing system to deal with watering a large number of plants. The plants sit on either on wire mesh shelves or on eggcrate, with large trays underneath to catch the dripping water (think humidity trays, boot trays or the like) which can drain into a large bucket underneath. Instead of transporting hundreds of plants back and forth, only the bucket needs to be emptied. Some people have taken the system a step further and run a hose from the bucket to outside and use a pump to empty the buckets.

I've tried to look up some more old threads for you which explain these ideas a bit better:

Drainage system/Drip tray recommendations - Orchid Board - Most Complete Orchid Forum on the web !

Indoor drainage tray setup Photos are all missing here, so not easy to visualize...
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Old 02-22-2021, 12:04 PM
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How do you water a large collection efficiently?
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if you can, just place sheeting under the plants and drape it into a bucket....water liberally and wait 20 minutes, then remove the sheet from the bucket, fold over, dump bucket and replace the bucket and the sheeting into the bucket.


this idea can be made as complicated and pretty as you like but the bear bones version is visqueen 3mil (+) and a 5 gal bucket.
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Old 02-22-2021, 01:44 PM
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I have a rolling cart with a plastic dishpan on it. I use a small watering can to water liberally over the basin, and empty the run-through water onto my veggies or fruit trees outside. So, I haul a 1 gal. container of water/fert. solution to fill the watering can, and the basin when it starts to get full. It's easy to move to my plants, which are in 4 different rooms.


I do have to touch each plant when I water, though. I use the time to inspect for bugs, etc.
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Old 02-22-2021, 03:14 PM
Clawhammer Clawhammer is offline
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Plants sitting in drainage trays with built in plumbing and watering with a hose with fertilizer injector is the nirvana of orchid watering efficiency.

My Basement Greenhouse
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Old 02-23-2021, 11:08 AM
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Take a look here A few ways to move water...
and on this particular part of a thread where I set up a different growing space Help with lean-to greenhouse purchase
I have a similar thread that was in a basement area from a ways back, but can't find it. Was thinking there was also a picture showing the RO setup that goes with the latter thread, but it must have been elsewhere. If I find it, I'll throw it in here as well.
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Old 02-23-2021, 04:02 PM
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How do you water a large collection efficiently?
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I really wish I had a greenhouse and could water everything with a hose. Instead, I fill up a watering can and water everything that way. My orchids are in lava rock/basket pots and sit in bowls on shelving units that are set on and lined with plastic. The bowls collect the water and the extra water gets wicked up by the lava rock or evaporates by the next time I need to water.

I did have around a hundred orchids at one time but I discovered that I did not enjoy caring for that many orchids so I culled the collection (gave away quite a few orchids) and now have a number that is manageable for me. It was really difficult for me because I had to decide what I really wanted the orchids to contribute to my plant collection.
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Old 02-23-2021, 10:35 PM
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When I first got into orchids, I took the spare bedroom and turned it into a "greenhouse" .. green room? So more than a windowsill... but I just put sheets of egg crate (light diffuser with holes) over plastic bins that were big enough to hold quite a bit of water. It just evaporated - so helped raise humidity. Here is what it looked like...
http://orchidcentral.org/GrowingAreas/indoor.jpg
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Old 02-24-2021, 01:18 AM
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That is just amazing, Roberta!
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