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  #1  
Old 08-29-2022, 01:26 PM
Dalachin Dalachin is offline
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Advice for winterizing this grow setup Female
Default Advice for winterizing this grow setup

Hi all,

So I'm looking for advice for winterizing my grow setup.

Previously I was growing on a drafty kitchen windowsill where some of my phals suffered from cold damage last winter. I'd like to prevent that situation with this winter, so a big step was moving almost all of my plants to two shelves of this unit in a spare room. The windows face east, and are supplemented by two LED grow strips per shelf. Right now there is a big Lasco fan in the room, and it is pretty far from the AC unit, so temps are high 70s to low 80s during the day, and low 70s at night.

I grow mostly Phals... hybrids and species. There are a couple of Bellina hybrids and some of the larger phal hybrids, and species include speciosa, hieroglyphical, luddemaniana, pulchra, modesta, schilleriana and sanderiana and a few others. Most would probably prefer being in the low 80s. A few oncidiums, Paphs, Angraecums, and Prags. The cooler-loving species (some of the Phrags, the Phal japonica maybe) probably won't be on the shelves, they'll probably stay on a nice cool windowsill. Nothing is mounted and I don't have a dramatic amount of air roots hanging around. I generally pot them in clear slotted pots that I put in a loose outer pot to increase humidity around the roots.

My biggest concerns for the winter are warmth and humidity. I'm in central NY, so all winter we are reliant on baseboard heat and suffer from pretty low humidity. I'm not sure how warm this room is going to be in the winter, but it is a converted porch, so definitely not the warmest room in the house. I have a small army of seedling heat mats, and I plan to add more. Other things I am considering:

--What do you think about enclosing the sides of the shelving unit with clear plastic sheeting? I've seen some people do that online. Maybe add a few small fans for circulation. With the seedling heat mats and old flourescent fixtures turned on, this might keep the temps 10 or more degrees above the house temps and retain some humidity?

--Maybe add a space heater? It seems like this might be pretty inefficient, and add to the dryness problem, so I'm not sure about this unless it turns out to be very cool in there.

--Add a humidifier? I haven't had good luck with them in the past... the unit I bought last winter died after a month and was a pain to keep refilling.

--More light? I guess one can always use more light... . I don't have a light meter, so it is hard to gage how much these lights are putting out. There might actually be more natural light in the winter when the trees lose their leaves, but it won't be for enough hours of the day.
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  #2  
Old 08-29-2022, 01:36 PM
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Some people enclose shelving units to make it easier to keep heat and humidity up. Others don't.

As for light, most of your plants are low-light plants. Your current lights will probably provide enough moment to moment illumination. However, they will do much better with longer days than your natural winter light, so consider setting your timer so they get 10-12 hour days. Some people put the lights on early in the morning and late at night, and some people prefer extending the day at one end or the other, based on their daily routine.

An ultrasonic humidifier blowing towards your plants works well. There are many solutions people have for expanding the reservoir. I have seen them here on Orchid Board in the past. Use the Search function in the top maroon menu to find these posts.

As for heating, seedling heat mats under the plants work well.
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Old 08-29-2022, 02:48 PM
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I highly recommend a humidity tent, as it traps both heat and humidity, making your plants far more "comfortable".

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Old 08-29-2022, 05:46 PM
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My Levoit LV600HH humidifier is going on 2 or 3 years old and still works great and can easily humidify our 1,100sqft home. It has a built in humidistat so you can set it and forget it. The tank is at least a gallon, maybe slightly larger, and we only fill it once a day (at most) but our humidity usually starts around 20-30%. It has 3 levels of output and both cool and warm mist options. You can run both together to maximize the output when it’s REALLY dry. It has a few other features that we don’t use so I can’t remember what they are, but it’s a fabulous buy even if you have to pay full price.

A diy alternative is a pond fogger + large storage tote for the water reservoir. I’ve seen some older threads on here about building one.
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Old 08-30-2022, 12:17 PM
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Here is the thread mentioned. Post #38 is a great place to start.
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Old 08-30-2022, 01:21 PM
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An advantage of the humidity tent is that water in pots and trays is plenty to keep the RH up, without added devices, and the heat from daytime lighting creates a nice diurnal fluctuation.

Before I moved to NC, my plants were in such a setup, in a dehumidified, unheated basement with about a 15-20% RH. Inside the tent only dropped below 75% when I had the flap open.
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Old 08-30-2022, 03:36 PM
Dimples Dimples is offline
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The tents are great for the reasons you suggested. I just can’t stand living in a home that’s that dry for months. My lips are chapping just from thinking about it! Haha
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Old 08-31-2022, 06:46 PM
Relemitty Relemitty is offline
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Hi Dimples

Thanks for recommending the Levoit LV600HH humidifier.
Amazon has it at a good price.
I'm on the edge of the Great Plains where the humidity can be 25% RH on a typical summer day and the aerial roots on my Catt is telling me that is too low.
Saving pennies for it now.
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Old 08-31-2022, 06:58 PM
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The humidity will be much higher inside a grow tent filled with plants than outside, even without a humidifier.
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  #10  
Old 08-31-2022, 08:03 PM
Dalachin Dalachin is offline
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Hmmm, maybe I’ll look into one of those tents. I have one of those standard wire shelving units, it looks like it would fit, maybe just a little big. Would be good to stabilize temp and humidity in one purchase.

Last edited by Dalachin; 08-31-2022 at 08:07 PM..
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