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orchidarium case with cooling unit

Discussion in 'Growing Areas' started by mini-catts, Sep 14, 2009.

  1. mini-catts

    mini-catts Member

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    Location:
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    Hi everyone,
    I thought some of you might be interested in my efforts to grow some of the cooler growing miniatures, even though I live in inland Southern California where it can get get quite hot in the summer time!

    I came up with this orchidarium case that would be indoors with compact fluorescent lighting. Since we are in a dry climate and evaporative coolers or wet wall work well for cooling greenhouses, I figured it would work for my indoor case. The case is 3" long and 2 feet deep and tall.
    Here are the steps below:

    1) took a storage plastic case and cut a square out one end, and a circle on the other end. I used a fountain pump and hose through a short piece of pvc pipe. The pipe has several 1/8" holes so that the water can drip out. I have a piece of cooler padding under the pipe. This is my wet wall!
    2) attached a desk fan on the other end with a dryer vent hose into the case. Voila! a mini indoor evaporative cooler!

    For the first year of this case, i did not have the cooler unit next to a window to bring in cooler night air. I was able to lower the temp by about 5-7 degrees, but at night that only met low 70's as the house would be up 75-80. This was not good for my cool growers! Many cool growers can tolerate warmer day temps only if they receive lower night temps.

    About 4 months ago, I moved the cooler and case next to an open window. Now when the night temps go to 60-65 degrees, the case will be 55-60.
    The plants have responded wonderfully! I try and mist the plants twice a day when it is warm. The humidity is around 70% in the case. I use pure water with some MSU fertilizer in it.

    I think I may be ready to try some more masdevallias again. I had stopped buying because I was killing them due to warm temps.

    There are a few more pictures here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/minicatt/sets/72157622232357347/
    Let me know if you have any questions!
    Pete

    Orchid case (forgive the carpentry!)
    afarm4.static.flickr.com_3500_3916333308_61f1cf27d2.jpg

    Cooler unit
    afarm3.static.flickr.com_2490_3916301702_0efec3ae69.jpg

    Inside cooler unit
    afarm3.static.flickr.com_2597_3915536091_e20376f224_b.jpg

    Hose to orchidarium
    afarm3.static.flickr.com_2600_3916307786_85583bca66.jpg

    Vent Inside
    afarm3.static.flickr.com_2448_3916338650_a08bdc4f12_b.jpg

    More happy plants
    afarm3.static.flickr.com_2454_3915562177_5f313b620b_b.jpg
     
  2. Marni

    Marni Well-Known Member Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Very, very nice! Thanks for showing your case.
     
  3. Mary Jane

    Mary Jane New Member

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    That is great, Peter. Where there is a will, this IS a way.
     
  4. Pook

    Pook Disneyed

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    Oh! Now I get it! The third picture is turned sideways! Had me confused there...
     
  5. Tom_in_PA

    Tom_in_PA I am not an addict

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    Just wondering how much this cooling system drops the temps for you?

    BTW....Thanks for sharing your idea with us Peter!
     
  6. mini-catts

    mini-catts Member

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    Location:
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    The temperature drop can depend on the outside temperature and humidity, but i would generally say there is a 5-8 degree difference inside the case than the outside the case. The other plus is the humidity the wet pad induces is really good for the plants.
    For example, when the outside air is about 85 day and 62 night (common fall temps for us), it will be about 78/57 in the case, with about 70% humidity.
    Pete.
     
  7. Tom_in_PA

    Tom_in_PA I am not an addict

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    I was asking because in the summer time I could use a setup to lower the temps just a few degrees and I am thinking this might be a solution I coould try.

    Thanks Peter