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Growing Area Renovation - Fall 2017

Discussion in 'Growing Areas' started by pcolman, Nov 5, 2017.

  1. pcolman

    pcolman Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    I've much of my free time for the better part of the past 2 months doing one thing or another related to the full renovation of my growing area. New lights, new table, new light frame, new everything. Also did some living room renovations while at it—ripped out old carpet, new carpet tile, repairs to the wall behind the growing area, new paint.

    My previous lighting setup was an 8 bulb T5HO fluorescent fixture using 91 CRI 5000k bulbs. This worked pretty well, but did put out quite a bit of heat, and had to be just 6" above the top of the growing area for high light mounted plants to get enough light.

    Switched to an Migro 400 LED setup, plus another single light for an extension to the growing off the the side for mostly warm growing, mostly potted, high light plants. A little less electricity than the fluorescent setup, significantly less heat, about 1.5 times the lumens, about twice the total PAR. The LEDs are custom order. Standard is 3500K 80 CRI. I went with 4000K 95 CRI. Unfortunately special ordering LED COBs from suppliers takes forever if it's not something readily available. Since most people with a setup like this are growing pot with a setup like this, high CRI is not exactly a priority, so high CRI LEDs aren't usually in stock. Took over two months to get the LEDs in. I've gotten spoiled by using high CRI lighting for many years and I'm afraid I can't take the usual 80 CRI lighting, even if the plants don't care.

    Built a new oak mission style table that measures 47" x 34" x 18". I store a bunch of orchid related supplies on the shelf under the tabletop. The new light frame is a foot taller, 7' tall now. Built the frames that hold all the mounted plants as well. All the oak was dyed (not stained), sealed very well, and given quite a few coats of a very durable, UV resistant, water based polyurethane (Ceramithane). The wall was painted with two coats of exterior paint, but aside from that is also covered in rather thick vinyl sheeting, as is every wood surface that would be exposed to water. Vinyl sheeting also guides water directly into the humidity trays. Many, many monel staples hold up all the hardware cloth for hanging the mounted plants. Two oscillating fans on timers alternate being on and off hourly so wind direction changes regularly. A 120mm pc fan mounted on the wall provides some additional airflow on the extension to the left for when the oscillating fan on that side is off.

    All in all, probably a couple hundred hours of work, and by no means cheap. Moving around this many plants to temporary places while basically demolishing the old growing area and doing the work before setting in the new one was not fun. At one point I was up for 28 hours straight and about 24 of those hours were spent actively working on it. I'm surprised at how little I damaged while doing so. Sophronitis wittigiana fell and that snapped one of the new growths. A tini mini, (Lankesterella ceracifolia) got a fungal infection in one of the growths (which was lost) while sitting around with reduced airflow for a day. That was the extent of the damage, so it could have been a lot worse.

    Thanks to Shane at Migro for help with looking into various options regarding the LEDs and answering way too many questions.

    growing_area_11.2017_01.jpg growing_area_11.2017_02.jpg growing_area_11.2017_03.jpg growing_area_11.2017_04.jpg growing_area_11.2017_05.jpg growing_area_11.2017_06.jpg growing_area_11.2017_07.jpg growing_area_11.2017_08.jpg
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2017
    weeand, Mikhail kujawa, leo and 3 others like this.
  2. Marni

    Marni Well-Known Member Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Now that is amazing!
     
  3. xmpraedicta

    xmpraedicta Prairie angraecoid nut Supporting Member

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    Absolutely outstanding setup. It seems that things are flourishing despite not needing any supplemental humidity beyond your trays? In terms of watering, I'm assuming it's all by hand! Do you have assistance when you go on vacations?
    Very impressive.
     
  4. KellyW

    KellyW Orchid wonk Staff Member Supporting Member

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    That is an amazing grow area you have created. Quite an engineering feat. :clap:
     
  5. naoki

    naoki Well-Known Member

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    Looks nice! The front door looks like a good idea to reduce the wasted space. How do you water the plants in the front door, though?
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2017
  6. pcolman

    pcolman Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    Transpiration from the leave and evaporation from the moss/medium is more than enough. In the driest days of winter, RH is usually around 60%. Most of the time it's closer to 70%, and can reach 80% when it's very humid outside. Water is with a 3 gallon pump sprayer. It takes about 20 minutes most days. Days when I water everything, usually Sunday take closer to an hour. As for vacations, what's a vacation?

    I place two trays under it on the floor while it's open. Those catch all the water.

    Thanks!
     
    Marni likes this.
  7. Jgrimm1055

    Jgrimm1055 Jonathan loves Masdevallias!

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    Incredible! I'm in complete amazement looking at these pictures! Thank you for the info about the LED lights. I use T5 HO and they do get warm. You only use 4000k in all the LEDs. No need to mix like fluorescent tubes such as 3000k and 6400k or 6500k?
     
  8. Steve B

    Steve B Active Member Supporting Member

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    How do you control the temperature?And what temp do you try to achieve?
     
  9. pcolman

    pcolman Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    I don't think there's any real evidence mixing tubes has much of an effect. Years ago I used mixed 6500K and 3000K tubes. Eventually I switched to 5000K high CRI tubes. I'm pretty sure I got better results with the 5000K tubes, but I think that had more to due with other characteristics of the tubes. Most good LED grow lights are full spectrum, so there's not need to mix color temperatures.

    In summer I have AC on a programmable thermostat for AC to keep temps from going much above 80ºF. Nights are 67-68ºF. The rest of the year I don't use anything to control daytime temps. I'll crack a window open if it gets near 80ºF, but that's rare. I use an exhaust fan at night to bring cool air in. 60ºF at night, but cooler growing plants get placed in box (not fully enclosed to maintain some airflow) or under the tabletop on the shelf at night. 50ºF at night for them.
     
  10. Raven

    Raven Active Member

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    You clearly don't grow Dracula ;-)
     
  11. pcolman

    pcolman Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    Nope, they grow fine, but spike and blast forever.
     
    Raven likes this.
  12. naoki

    naoki Well-Known Member

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    This might be a bit too much simplification, but different K (corrected colors temperature = CCT) LEDs are basically from the difference in the thickness of the phosphor layer. So, it doesn't make sense to use multiple CCT unless you want to get something in between 3500K and 4000K. Different CRI LEDs generally use different phosphors. It used to be that lower CRI LEDs were much more efficient for plants, but you lose little from the modern high CRI phosphors (according to some calculations from the data sheet).
     
  13. seidenfaden

    seidenfaden Active Member

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    Congratulations on your renovations. An impressive display and an innovative use of available space and lighting arrangements. Your plants show the results of your efforts.
     
  14. Chuck-NH

    Chuck-NH Well-Known Member

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    Another congratulations...will be interested to see over time what you like the best vs. something that you might modify or change.
     
  15. Mikhail kujawa

    Mikhail kujawa Well-Known Member

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    Fantastic! Really nice setup.
     
  16. pcolman

    pcolman Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    I don't think it will change much. This setup is an evolution/refinement of a setup I've been using for 15 years or so. It's just the nicest it's ever looked now.

    And thanks again for (additional) people who posted compliments!
     
  17. DarleneJay

    DarleneJay Active Member

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    Thanks for your post. This makes me want to take another look at my setup. :)