[pleurothallid-l] pleurothallid-l Digest, Vol 24, Issue 6

Michael Sandven msandven at tampabay.rr.com
Sat Dec 31 12:55:02 EST 2005

Hi All,
I just started growing pleurothallid types last January, I live in Tampa, 
FL. So far I've been doing well, better than I thought this past summer. I 
built an 8 X 10 attached greenhouse with polycarb siding and roof. I have an 
evaporative cooler, an under bench misting system, auto shutters, two fans 
for circulation, and a 10,000 BTU A/C unit. Everything is automated.

The 3000 CFM evaporative cooler comes on at 80 degrees and the shutter opens 
to let warm air out. The misting system is on a cycle timer. I play with the 
settings still and will anyway depending on the humidity outside. The A/C 
unit is on a timer as well as a thermostat set for 60 degrees. I found a 
unit that I can lower the exchange of outside air and this helps keep the 
humidity in. Sort of like a refrigerator. It is important to exchange some 
air since the plants need fresh air to grow well. I've also installed one of 
those wireless weather stations that records temp, humidity, and even wind 
speed to my computer so I can tell what's going on.

Last summer I had three days that the temp went over 87 degrees and that was 
only for three hours at most. The A/C brings the night temp all the way down 
to 55/60 degrees. The temp differential helps to reduce stress of higher day 
temps as well as providing the diurnal required for some plants to bloom. My 
electric bill went up $20 per month last summer on average.

I also grow other things like; Lycaste, Zygos, Coelogyne, and Sophronitis. 
My Sophronitis cernua has grown 10 new bulbs since I got it last March and 
is opening 5 new pretty orange flowers 2.5 cm across today. And my coccinea 
is budding.

> Today's Topics:
>   1. Automation (Bell-Games, Tom)
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> Message: 1
> Date: Fri, 30 Dec 2005 12:13:56 -0500
> From: "Bell-Games, Tom" <tbellgames at burnip.com>
> Subject: [pleurothallid-l] Automation
> To: <pleurothallid-l at lists.ibiblio.org>
> Message-ID:
> <824AB26D89AB4F41AE347E97541EB32C01DC3C0B at exch1.na.int-bn.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"
> A couple of additional components to this fellow's set-up was aluminet
> shade cloth that was installed inside the greenhouse.  This was laid on
> cables that would pull the cloth out to help cool the greenhouse.  This
> was set to activate when the temperature rose to a certain set point.
> It would then retract when the temperature dropped below a second point.
> This was extremely effective.  You could feel the difference quite
> quickly.  In the winter, here in the Midwest we often have many cloudy
> days followed by one day of pure sunshine - nice and cheery, but
> potentially deadly for our plants.  My friend also found that if it was
> very cold, he could use this to help hold in some of the heat in the
> evening.  He also installed some automatic roof vents.  I believe these
> had wax cylinders that functioned hydraulically.  I think the way these
> worked was that when the wax heated, it expanded causing the vents to
> open.
> By far the most important piece of automation, to my mind, was a
> telephone dialer.  This was set to trigger on high and low temperatures.
> He had programmed maybe four different phone numbers into this so that
> it would contact someone even if he was out of town.  There are so many
> horror stories of folks that have lost power, then the pipes freeze,
> heating system shorts out, then you're left with a total loss...  These
> systems are not cheap, but when you think how much you have invested in
> your plant collection, it seems like good insurance.
> This was a wonderful greenhouse and he was a great grower.
> Unfortunately, even with all of the automation, it was a good deal of
> responsibility.  He finally decided to retire from orchids and now the
> greenhouse is no more.
> Tom

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