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Hello from Dublin, Ireland

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by Markedg, Dec 10, 2008.

  1. Markedg

    Markedg New Member

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    Hello everyone. I hope to learn a lot from all of you. I have been growing orchids for awhile in the house and last year, I had a 10'x12' greenhouse built. I use propane to heat the greenhouse and it is not vented to the outside. I also have a water butt to collect rainwater. As Ireland is a damp climate, the humidity combined with what the heater gives off, can keep the humidity from 60-90%. I have a fan running 24hours a day. We had a very dull summer and I did not take off my shade cloth until mid october. I was told that I had left it on a month too long.
    My query is that about a month to 6 weeks ago, I noticed that a lot of the leaves on my plants were going yellow. They were always the oldest leaves. Also quite a few plants that had flower buds, blasted. I had someone who is an orchid grower, come over and he said my setup was good. I am at a loss to know what caused this and he also could not explain it either. Was it the shade cloth being on to long, the propane, or could it have been water that went stagnant in the water butt? or could have this all been natural, exacerbated by the dull summer we had?
    I had a look at some of the pictures in the greenhouse thread, and I was very jealous of how nice and healthy the plants looked. Hopefully one day, mine will look just as nice.
     
  2. Tom_in_PA

    Tom_in_PA I am not an addict

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    First off.....Welcome to OI Mark

    Not sure I can answer your question with great certainty but you might have something there with the unvented heater...maybe??? I know Southern Burner makes unvented models but the emmsions have got to have some ill effect on the plants I would think.
     
  3. DawnC

    DawnC New Member

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    Discombobulation
    [​IMG]
     
  4. Candace

    Candace Kept Woman Supporting Member

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    What kind of heater/brand do you have?
     
  5. Markedg

    Markedg New Member

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    Type of heater

    Candace, the type of heater is a Deluxe Fir Tree Gas Heater 6kw propane heater. I have used it this spring with no problems and I know of another person who has a similar setup with this propane heater and has no problems. I did change suppliers of the propane cylinders, though in Sept. I would have thought that if the propane was the cause, wouldn't the whole plant be affected, rather than just the older leaves/growths?? Not all of the plants were affected.
     
  6. bruceb

    bruceb New Member

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    Your problem is the heater. Unless the un-vented heater is in perfect running order it most likely isn't giving complete combustion and is producing ethylene gas. Now ethylene is a plant hormone and one thing it does is cause senescence. This means ethylene tells a plant when to drop flowers leaves, etc,. The real kicker is orchids are really sensitive to ethylene.
     
  7. dounoharm

    dounoharm almost there

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    hmmm, you think its the heater then??? i have an unvented propane heater also, but havent had any problems at all....i am rather concerned and planned or replacing it eventually with a vented heater....but so far no problems.
     
  8. bruceb

    bruceb New Member

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    My old Ball Red Book says that when you have plants not doing well in a greenhouse the most likely culprit is a unvented heater. Now mind you in the greenhouse trade you can get CO2 generators that are just unvented haters burning gas and if your house isn't tight you might get away with them. The Ball Red Book also talked about using tomato plants as indicator plants for ethylene. If they grow abnormally you got problems, but orchid flowers are more sensitive than tomato plants.
     
  9. Candace

    Candace Kept Woman Supporting Member

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    It sure sounds like the heater is the culprit to me too. Some folks seem to have no problems with their unvented ones, but personally, I don't think they're worth the risk and would only use one as an emergency back-up.
     
  10. bruceb

    bruceb New Member

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  11. Markedg

    Markedg New Member

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    Other heating options

    I want to thank everyone for their help. This does seem to make sense to me now. I had redone my bubblewrap this summer and it seems that I did too good a job of insulating the greenhouse. That is why earlier in the year, this problem did not happen.
    What other options are available to me at present? I could vent the greenhouse more but that would defeat the purpose of the heater. Electricity here in Ireland is a bit expensive but if I could find a more efficient system that would work, electricity or not, that would be fine.
    What kind of heating systems do you all have?
     
  12. abaxter

    abaxter New Member

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    I have two King 220 electric heaters set for daytime/nighttime temps. and they work very well. Not too expensive to run either.
     
  13. Bob2741

    Bob2741 New Member

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    I think Bruce hit it with the ethylene, Orchids cant handle it for an extended time.
     
  14. vmijct

    vmijct Clif

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    I use vented propane. I try to recreate the orchid environment as much as possible and that includes getting rid of waste gases, using rain water, providing shade, etc.
     
  15. Marni

    Marni Well-Known Member Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Lots of things can cause bud blast and it might be wise to keep in mind that the two problems you are having, may not be related.

    I use unvented heaters (Southern Burner) in 3 greenhouses and don't have any problems. The flowers of some species are very sensitive to gas, but I find it hard to believe that it would be in concentrations strong enough to create aging in leaves. Older leaves, especially in winter, stop photosynthesising (clearly not spelled right) and turn yellow before they drop. If it is just older leaves and it doesn't progress through the plant, it could just be normal. Too much shade would make the leaves darker, I would guess.

    I use reverse osmosis water (purified water) and if left sitting in the barrels the pH can get whacky and make big swings. Way too acid or way too basic can cause problems, but stagnant would not be an issue I would look at first. Rain water could do the same since there is nothing to buffer it. If the pH is out of adjustment, you can get nutrient deficiencies more easily and that could affect leaf color.

    With pure water, quality of fertilizer and micro-nutrients are more of a problem. If you can find a fertilizer formulated for rain water that other people recommend, I would try that. If not, you might consider alternating several good brands so that if something is missing in one, it may be in the other.
     
  16. EGOISTA

    EGOISTA Member

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    Welcome!