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2012 Archived Messages


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22—30 November

From: Geoff
To: Orchid Talk List
Subject: In flower when I got home...
Date: Fri, 23 Nov 2012 20:20

In flower when I got home...
https://skydrive.live.com/redir.aspx?cid66cc6b7e29550ebd&pagebrowse
&resid66CC6B7E29550EBD!678&type5&authkey!AP064YCJ1_DhQRY&Bsrc
Photomail&BpubSDX.Photos
Aerangis distincta :
Another of my collection in this African/Madagascan genus. Long spurs,
presumably with some drops of something at the very end which is quite
irresistible to some specific moth. I did not measure the spurs when I
brought the plant in to take the pictures, but at a guess 7 or 8 inches
long.The flowers perhaps 2 inches or so in spread; the plant is in a 5
inch shallow pot for the purpose of flowering only - it grows on cork
bark, no compost, hanging up in a shady damp part of the greenhouse, but
I move it across to a drier part whilst in bud - some of its relations
have had spikes damp off when left in the growing place for for
flowering.
Most of the species in this genus seem to be very similar, just
differing in size of flowers and of plants - but none the worse for
that, and although they seem to flower at the same sort of time ( around
now) I have had a succession of different ones, and with more still in
bud, maybe the flowering season will extend over 3 months, so it is
worth growing more than one of them.
Hope you like it, I do.
a..
Paph annamense ;
Otherwise known as Paph villosum var annamense - from the place where
found. I prefer to call it a distinct species, since it is so distinctly
coloured, and is also different in being rather smaller in all parts,
than the type species ( properly known as P.villosum var villosum).

Schombocattleya Dulatiaca ;
Schomburgkia undulata ( alias Laelia undulata in the recent game of
general post in the cattleya alliance ) x Guarianthe aurantiaca ( which
was Cattleya aurantiaca when I started growing ).

Flowers almost 3 inches across, and this interesting 19th century
colour ( that's how I see it - very Victorian - "old rose" ).
I bought it in early bud at the recent British Congress , knowing
nothing about it ; as I haven';t got any Schombo hybrids, and the genus
flowers well for me.

BTW the proper name for the hybrid genus now is Laelianthe - ,
abbreviation Lnt.
Bred by Rod McLennan ( I don't think that nursery still exists ) in
1965.

Blc Taida Eagle-Eye 'All Victory' ;
Quite a biggie. The first time I have flowered it, although it as been
in the collection some years - my culture must be improving ! The ruler
measures inches, btw.
Not really to my taste, a flower as big as this, although I have decided
it is worth keeping to add a bit of variety in a group.
I wonder what others think ?
I imagine that the flower shape would be better , with better culture ;
as I have said before, my cattleyas suffered from wet feet ( and root
rot) for some years, and are now improving since shifting into
Hydroculture- which sounds silly, since they now stand in water - but
nevertheless there is a lot more air around the roots because of the
nature of the media I use - Hydroton or whatever you like to call it -
this lot actually bought in The Netherlands as "Baked Clay Pebbles" -
some 12-15mm diameter. So I am hoping for better results in the future,
as the root structure improves - they may actually have two years live
roots by next year ! Wow , imagine that.

Catt. bowringiana :
Growing in hydroculture for the last year it produces 3 spikes for me
- better than I have managed before. OK the bulbs - canes really - are
not as big as in the past, but it is the first year in this system.
As my friends will remember, I have been struggling with catts for
some years , because I grow all my vandaceous stuff above them, and
spray those things regularly which results in the catts being too wet. I
worked my way through a series of different composts, ever more freely
draining, in the hope of solving that problem and finally thought of
this- using a very open media - baked clay pebbles, aka Hydroton etc. It
does seem to be the answer, and the number of catts in flower at any one
time is increasing from a mere 1 or 2 ( I do have a big collection by
most peoples standards) back towards rather larger numbers, as I used to
have before I went overboard for the smaller vandacous things and
started spraying daily. All I have to do now is get these bulbs or canes
back to where they used to be in size - this is a big chap when grown
well , and I still have some 24 inch canes on this plant to remind of
what it can do - this year's are of different sizes between
about 10 and 16 inches.

Geoff

-------------------------------------------------------------

From: John Dennis
To: Orchid Talk List
Subject: Orchid feed strength.
Date: Sat, 24 Nov 2012 20:35

Has anyone ever seen a definitive list of feed strengths for various orchids in micro siemens per cm. I have assembled my own list by talking with seve ral growers but I think it is based upon gut feelings rather than science. For example 1000 for Cymbid's and other tropical terrestrials, 400 for Phal' s, 300 for Miltonia's and 750 for Phrag's and Thunia's.
The one that has really got me puzzled, Akerne Orchids recommend their RAIN M IX at 500 micro siemens per cm. in rainwater, at every watering. However I h ad always been led to believe that Masdevallia's prefer 100 to 200 micro Sie mens per cm.,every couple of weeks. I would have thought that 500 micro Sie mens per cm. is far too strong.
Would appreciate your feedback.
John

Sent from my iPad

-------------------------------------------------------------

From: Geoff
To: Orchid Talk List
Subject: Re: [OrchidTalk] Orchid feed strength.
Date: Sun, 25 Nov 2012 08:55

All of these things are generalisations, and the other factors , which I think important but which I have never seen mentioned anywhere (!) are, firstly. The nature of the compost, and secondly the light level.

Nature of compost. Remember that before bark and rockwool, we used to grow in osmunda fibre ( dead roots of a fern) and sphagnum, and NEVER feed anything at all. And we used to grow some excellent orchids and dare I say it with better foliage than is often seen today. Why ? How ? The compost broke down i.e. turned to mush ( only we threw it away and repotted long before that) and released nutrients. Bark and any other organic material will do that so the same may apply ; but it is said that the nutrients do not come directly from the bark, but from the bacteria which are working on the bark ; so you feed the bacteria ( which happen to be more nitrogen hungry than most plants ; so if you use bark you need more N than you would with say sphagnum or peat ) ; I don t know the chemistry of CHC (coconut husk chunks).

Conversely, if you use inorganic materials (rockwool, Perlite. Hydraton for example ) they cannot contribute much that is useful in the NPK range so you might feed more.

As to light level that affects rate of growth . More light does not necessarily mean more growth try putting a jewel orchid under the bench in the half dark and see the growth rate double for example ( ! ) but faster growth does imply an ability to use more nutrient.

I think careful observation of the plants is the key. Leaf tip burn means too much fertiliser. I find that I can t feed Coelogyne, Pleione. Thunia, Phaius, Pholidota, with more than a trace without getting leaf damage. Cattleyas will stand a ton in that respect but contrariwise their roots will burn if you overdo it and that s worse !, Oncidiums are in the middle here.

My masdevallias are rarely if ever fed, because rarely if ever watered directly they just get misted almost daily when the Vandas etc overhead are being sprayed.

As to this famed ability of Phrags to stand high levels I m sorry Andy (Phillips) mine just show burnt leaves if I try it mine get 500 or so , and even that seems a bit high but maybe my light and other conditions are different. As a matter of fact I don t give anything 1000 , and for many years gave everything 300

Sorry to be awkward but anything to do with orchids is always quite complex, and oversimplification may be worse than getting bogged down with too much detail.

Geoff

-------------------------------------------------------------

From: Geoff Hands
To: Orchid Talk List
Subject: Re: [OrchidTalk] Orchid feed strength.
Date: Sun, 25 Nov 2012 10:40

And btw my orchids grown Hydroculture, stand perpetually in 600.
I think the RHS, and I am sure that Which did some testing too, k found that using fertiliser at every watering gave better results than using water and fertiliser alternately . It is a most queer thing − after all, most of the water you pour into a potted orchid goes straight through to the floor. If we could only give exactly what they will use, one bottle of fertiliser would last my life-time.
If only !

Geoff

Sent from my iPad

On 24 Nov 2012, at 20:35, John Dennis wrote:

> Has anyone ever seen a definitive list of feed strengths for various orchids > in micro siemens per cm. I have assembled my own list by talking with seve > ral growers but I think it is based upon gut feelings rather than science. > For example 1000 for Cymbid's and other tropical terrestrials, 400 for Phal' > s, 300 for Miltonia's and 750 for Phrag's and Thunia's.
> The one that has really got me puzzled, Akerne Orchids recommend their RAIN M > IX at 500 micro siemens per cm. in rainwater, at every watering. However I h > ad always been led to believe that Masdevallia's prefer 100 to 200 micro Sie > mens per cm.,every couple of weeks. I would have thought that 500 micro Sie > mens per cm. is far too strong.
> Would appreciate your feedback.
> John

-------------------------------------------------------------

From: John Dennis
To: Orchid Talk List
Subject: Re: [OrchidTalk] Orchid feed strength.
Date: Sun, 25 Nov 2012 11:55

Thanks Geoff, a great response and I very much appreciate your advice. What is your reaction to 500 micro siemens per centimetre at every watering. I guess you would think it to be too strong for continuous feeding, especially for Masdevallia's. However with plenty of light for photosynthesis the food might be consumed advantageously.
John

Sent from my iPad

On 25 Nov 2012, at 08:56, "Geoff" wrote:

> All of these things are generalisations, and the other factors ,
> which I think important but which I have never seen mentioned
> anywhere (!) are, firstly. The nature of the compost, and secondly
> the light level.
>
> Nature of compost. Remember that before bark and rockwool, we used
> to grow in osmunda fibre ( dead roots of a fern) and sphagnum, and
> NEVER feed anything at all. And we used to grow some excellent
> orchids and dare I say it with better foliage than is often
> seen today. Why ? How ? The compost broke down i.e. turned to
> mush ( only we threw it away and repotted long before that) and
> released nutrients. Bark and any other organic material will do
> that so the same may apply ; but it is said that the nutrients do
> not come directly from the bark, but from the bacteria which are
> working on the bark ; so you feed the bacteria ( which happen to be
> more nitrogen hungry than most plants ; so if you use bark you need
> more N than you would with say sphagnum or peat ) ; I don t know
> the chemistry of CHC (coconut husk chunks).
>
> Conversely, if you use inorganic materials (rockwool, Perlite.
> Hydraton for example ) they cannot contribute much that is useful
> in the NPK range so you might feed more.
>
> As to light level that affects rate of growth . More light does
> not necessarily mean more growth try putting a jewel orchid under
> the bench in the half dark and see the growth rate double for
> example ( ! ) but faster growth does imply an ability to use more
> nutrient.
>
> I think careful observation of the plants is the key. Leaf tip burn
> means too much fertiliser. I find that I can t feed Coelogyne,
> Pleione. Thunia, Phaius, Pholidota, with more than a trace without
> getting leaf damage. Cattleyas will stand a ton in that respect
> but contrariwise their roots will burn if you overdo it and
> that s worse !, Oncidiums are in the middle here.
>
> My masdevallias are rarely if ever fed, because rarely if ever
> watered directly they just get misted almost daily when the
> Vandas etc overhead are being sprayed.
>
> As to this famed ability of Phrags to stand high levels I m sorry
> Andy (Phillips) mine just show burnt leaves if I try it mine
> get 500 or so , and even that seems a bit high but maybe my light
> and other conditions are different. As a matter of fact I don t
> give anything 1000 , and for many years gave everything 300
>
> Sorry to be awkward but anything to do with orchids is always
> quite complex, and oversimplification may be worse than getting
> bogged down with too much detail.
>
> Geoff

-------------------------------------------------------------

From: John Dennis
To: Orchid Talk List
Subject: Re: [OrchidTalk] Orchid feed strength.
Date: Sun, 25 Nov 2012 14:35

Well Geoff I did realise that you grew many of your orchid by Hydroculture but I had no idea that it involved them sitting in feed water at 600. So your Masdevallia's mainly get the overspray from the Vanda's as a foliar feed at perhaps 300? You have given me quite a lot of confidence to try Akerne's Rain Mix at 500.
Thanks,
John

-------------------------------------------------------------

From: Geoff
To: Orchid Talk List
Subject: Re: [OrchidTalk] Orchid feed strength.
Date: Mon, 26 Nov 2012 09:05

Not quite ; the daily overhead spray is just rain water ; but I do take down all the hanging plants and dip them in my standard mix. At the moment winter that is say 350 or 400 uS and 6-6.5 pH.
When I put the shade on, and the clocks change in March, I switch to Summer mix 600-650 uS and the same pH.
But the daily spray is always nowadays absolutely always just rain, with occasional additions of a plant disinfectant − used to be Physan can t get it unless I go to a USA show and even then its too heavy to carry back and pay excess baggage rates so I am using an equivalent designed for professional kitchen surfaces sanitising.

And for those with good memories reading this that s not what I said last time but orchid growing is a continuous learning curve. I now think that any kind of nutrition sprayed on the leaves ( whether you call it foliar feed or anything else) is a recipe for black spots or other damage to the foliage you are feeding he bacteria which cause the damage , as much as the plant !

But Akernes Rain mix is great it is almost exactly the equivalent of what I arrived at, after years of experiment but all in pack. The only reason I use anything else is that I was presented with a pallet load of Growth Technology stuff as payment for my advice, a few years ago , and am still using it up which entails me fiddling about with six different bottles to mix up a batch of nutrient.

Cheers !

Geoff

-------------------------------------------------------------

From: Richard Baxter
To: Orchid Talk List
Subject: Re: [OrchidTalk] Orchid feed strength.
Date: Mon, 26 Nov 2012 10:20

Geoff
I note your comment "But Akernes Rain mix is great it is almost exactly the equivalent of what I arrived at, after years of experiment but all in pack."
The Akerne Rain Mix is, of course based upon the MSU formula, again after MSU careful experimenting. You give us all confidence that MSU got it right!
Richard

-------------------------------------------------------------

From: Geoff
To: Orchid Talk List
Subject: Re: [OrchidTalk] Orchid feed strength.
Date: Mon, 26 Nov 2012 11:45

Quote − but I do take down all the hanging plants and dip them in my standard mix- unquote... I should have added that I do that every few weeks, the frequency depending more on available time than anything else ; not more often than every 2-3 weeks, and not les than every 4-6 weeks.

Geoff

-------------------------------------------------------------

From: Tina Stagg
To: Orchid Talk List
Subject: Conductivity meter readings in growing season
Date: Mon, 26 Nov 2012 15:35

I cannot remember who gave me this but it does give useful comparative guidance. I keep a laminated copy in the greenhouse to refer to.

I used to feed every two weeks when the plant is growing but am having better results with three times out of four. This seems to apply whatever the compost.

Tina

-------------------------------------------------------------

From: Geoff
To: Orchid Talk List
Subject: Re: [OrchidTalk] Conductivity meter readings in growing season
Date: Mon, 26 Nov 2012 19:35

Tina, I am reminded to ask in your Brummie days, where you ever a member of IVC ?

geoff

-------------------------------------------------------------

From: brian.gould83
To: Orchid Talk List
Subject: Re: [OrchidTalk] Orchid feed strength.
Date: Mon, 26 Nov 2012 20:35

Hello John
It just shows how intelligent people do not understand us/cm and us/m which
is totally different but do not quote me on this

-------------------------------------------------------------

From: brian.gould83
To: Orchid Talk List
Subject: Re: [OrchidTalk] Orchid feed strength.
Date: Mon, 26 Nov 2012 20:35

Hello john Akernes reccomend 500ms/u which is different to us/cm

"John Dennis" wrote re: [OrchidTalk] Orchid feed strength.

Has anyone ever seen a definitive list of feed strengths for various
orchids in micro siemens per cm. I have assembled my own list by
talking with several growers but I think it is based upon gut
feelings rather than science. For example 1000 for Cymbid's and other
tropical terrestrials, 400 for Phal' s, 300 for Miltonia's and 750
for Phrag's and Thunia's. The one that has really got me puzzled,
Akerne Orchids recommend their RAIN MIX at 500 micro siemens per cm.
in rainwater, at every watering. However I h ad always been led to
believe that Masdevallia's prefer 100 to 200 micro Sie mens per
cm.,every couple of weeks. I would have thought that 500 micro Sie
mens per cm. is far too strong.
Would appreciate your feedback.
John

-------------------------------------------------------------

From: John Dennis
To: Orchid Talk List
Subject: Re: [OrchidTalk] Conductivity meter readings in growing season
Date: Mon, 26 Nov 2012 21:00

Thanks for the info. Tina. The fact that someone has constructed such a list and knowing how seriously Orchid Growers take this hobby, it must be useful.
I am keen to try Akerne's Rain Mix, because they claim to feed the same regime at every watering and to every type of Orchid all year round. I have ordered some and in time should be able to make my own judgement. The best part is that they keep to the same mix at all times and feed with every watering. We all seek beautiful blooms but would like as easy a life as possible and maintaining a multi feed regime is complicated in practice with a mixed orchid collection.

It is only recently that I have heard a lot about feeding Phal's at 600, I had always used 300, so I will try it a bit stronger.

My main concern is to verify for myself that Masdevallia's also prosper with 500 all year round as they recommend with Akerne's Rain Mix. I used plain rainwater on mine for several years and even now, I rarely feed them, and when I do it is 100 to 150 micro siemens per cm. Geoff also confirms that he just waters his. Mike Buckingham is a very well known Masdevallia grower, who grows them in Moss without fertiliser.

Hey, perhaps you don't even grow Masdevallia's but I am keeping the conversation going to see what others think.

John

-------------------------------------------------------------

From: Geoff Hands
To: Orchid Talk List
Subject: Re: [OrchidTalk] Orchid feed strength.
Date: Tue, 27 Nov 2012 11:20

There is so much confusion about microSiemens and milliSiemens , not helped by the fact that "s" sounds like the correct abbreviation for micro-Siemsn, whereas in fact the correct thing is the greek letter mu, which does not appear on my Apple keyboard. A letter "u" might be used as the nearest since mu is a u with a long tail on the left hand side.

I have to put my hand up to being confused , but since the popular Hanna meters, and most other meters too, read in three figures for the sort of EC levels we want, there is not very much risk of confusion by just saying 300, or 500, or even 1000- although strictly speaking 1000 (muS or microSiemens) 1 Siemen, or maybe that should be Siemens ( I think ! ).

Geoff

Sent from my iPad

On 26 Nov 2012, at 20:39, "brian.gould83" wrote:

> Hello john
> Akernes reccomend 500ms/u which is different to us/cm

-------------------------------------------------------------

From: Tricia Garner
To: Orchid Talk List
Subject: Re: [OrchidTalk] Orchid feed strength.
Date: Tue, 27 Nov 2012 11:20

Brian, that is interesting. Could you please explain the difference
to the bewildered? Thanks.

On 26 Nov, brian.gould83 wrote:
> Hello John
> It just shows how intelligent people do not understand us/cm and
> us/m which is totally different but do not quote me on this

--

Tricia

I try to take one day at a time, but lately several have attacked me at once.

-------------------------------------------------------------

From: Geoff Hands
To: Orchid Talk List
Subject: Re: [OrchidTalk] Conductivity meter readings in growing season
Date: Tue, 27 Nov 2012 11:25

The key is what you grow them in, I think. I have always been of the opinion that if you use plain sphagnum for anything you "cannot feed" but from time to time someone contradicts me on this . Who is to say which is right ? Very few of us, if indeed any at all, do what a proper scientist would call proper experiments. We do something with a couple of plants, without a sufficient number to be statistically significant, with no proper controls, and call it an experiment. Mea culpa, too .
Geoff

Sent from my iPad

-------------------------------------------------------------

From: Tina Stagg
To: Orchid Talk List
Subject: IVC
Date: Tue, 27 Nov 2012 12:35

No, I wasn t, Geoff. I didn t go to university, getting stuck into articles straight from school. Later, there wasn t the option for Richard, my husband, to join as there was no group local to where we then were.

We left Birmingham when we got married I was 22. Our social life for the previous few years revolved around my work events and tennis club, the university, where Richard was on the Guild council, and the church youth group at St Mary s in Moseley. We went after evensong to somebody s house where we all sat silently on the floor and listened to classical records in a very sober and dignified fashion. I don t suppose they do that now!

Tina

Geoff wrote: Re: [OrchidTalk] Conductivity meter readings in growing season

Tina, I am reminded to ask in your Brummie days, where you ever a member of IVC ?

-------------------------------------------------------------

From: John Stanley
To: Orchid Talk List
Subject: Re: [OrchidTalk] IVC
Date: Tue, 27 Nov 2012 18:55

Excuse me jumping in here but, Tina,
We 21st Century youths use headphones. The floor is still the only place you can't fall off though and the seats are for the computer kit from which the music comes. Still the dignity and sobriety. However, one day I'll have wireless headphones so that I can excuse myself without pulling my head off. Otherwise, what changes?

More to the point though, I wonder, do orchids read watering regime tables! Certainly in Conwy and Deganwy, the Management seem to have misread them over the last week! Last night there were 60mm of falling damp in Capel Curig, as good as a good dunking in a bucket.
John

-------------------------------------------------------------

From: John Dennis
To: Orchid Talk List
Subject: Re: [OrchidTalk] Conductivity meter readings in growing season
Date: Tue, 27 Nov 2012 19:00

Hi Geoff,
I was also under the impression that one can't fertilise when plants are in moss. I believe that fertiliser kills moss and once that it killed it rots and then kills the orchid roots.
I can't type the symbol for micro on my iPad but I can receive it from others in e-mails, but of course it is available on an ASCII keyboard by pressing the Alt key and typing 230.
As you said there is confusion about reporting conductivity values and as you say micro and milli are very different, 1000 times different in fact. In order to avoid confusion I recommend that we all write orchid feed conductivity as "micro siemens/cm". That is the unit that most of the common meters display.
John

-------------------------------------------------------------

From: Geoff Hands
To: Orchid Talk List
Subject: Re: [OrchidTalk] IVC
Date: Tue, 27 Nov 2012 19:15

Well, neither did I ( go to Uni ) but I was nevertheless a member of Birmingham IVC − which had a membership definition which went " ...and like-minded people". I got invited in by virtue of my bridge playing skills I think, but did my first dinghy racing, hill walking, and rock climbing in the club, and went on to organise house parties for the club over winter week-ends in snowdonia, Skye and so on. Happy days.

But I asked because I remembered a young lady − probably an octogenarian now like me − or very nearly, anyway also by the name of Tina Stagg , and that is about all I do remember of her , the name. It seemed an unlikely coincidence, but worth asking.

Geoff

Sent from my iPad

-------------------------------------------------------------

From: Richard Baxter
To: Orchid Talk List
Subject: Re: [OrchidTalk] Conductivity meter readings in growing season
Date: Wed, 28 Nov 2012 10:00

Talking about iPads, I thought the attached might amuse the less technical amongst us........or even the boffins too.

Ahhhh....... don't we all just sympathise with him!
Watch the following short clip. The Scene: less than a
minute.
A daughter is visiting her father and is helping in the kitchen.
She asks: "Tell me dad, how are you managing with the new I-Pad we
gave you for your birthday?"

This clip is spoken in German but it's totally understandable in
any language.

http://www.snotr.com/video/8965/*

It gave me a good chuckle.
Richard

-------------------------------------------------------------

From: Tina Stagg
To: Orchid Talk List
Subject: IVC
Date: Wed, 28 Nov 2012 16:35

The Management has recently given us a very nice bog garden, John, together with a dinky little spring. Otherwise, everything is sunny today, if a little damp, and the roses are still in bloom. I am confined to the dining room as the painter is working on three rooms at once because nothing is drying, even with a dehumidifier.

Tina

-------------------------------------------------------------

From: Tina Stagg
To: Orchid Talk List
Subject: Fw: Sphagnum
Date: Wed, 28 Nov 2012 16:40

Geoff, I wonder if you remember my own name from years ago when you came to give a talk to canwos? I think I was probably chair then.

I do feed orchids in sphagnum. The reconstituted NZ moss isn t really live anyway. They grow well and I repot every year.

I used (and fed) real, local moss before it became illegal to collect. That seemed to last for several years, mixed with bark, grew and covered the tops of the pots.

Tina

-------------------------------------------------------------

From: Geoff Hands
To: Orchid Talk List
Subject: Re: [OrchidTalk] Conductivity meter readings in growing season
Date: Wed, 28 Nov 2012 17:35

We both enjoyed that very much : Joyce ( spouse) went to a couple of lectures on iPad usage, on our recent cruise ( I did the iMac ones ) and the speaker went to great lengths about looking after the tablet : so she thought it very funny indeed.

Geoff

Sent from my iPad

On 28 Nov 2012, at 10:03, "Richard Baxter" wrote:

> Talking about iPads, I thought the attached might amuse the less technical amongst us........or even the boffins too.

-------------------------------------------------------------

From: Geoff Hands
To: Orchid Talk List
Subject: Re: [OrchidTalk] Fw: Sphagnum
Date: Wed, 28 Nov 2012 17:50

That too, could be the case.

Btw I did buy some fresh natural moss a year or two ago, from someone who as a farm, and sells it as a crop. I was not too keen on it, after using N Z and Chilean, because of the mud, twigs and weeds included. But I would think it is googlable if you are interested.

And another btw : illegal to pick it ? Why ? It would hardly qualify under the wild flower Act ?
There is a lot in the New Forest, of course ( the nearest point of which is about 2000 yards from my front door ) and I have occasionally picked a poachers pocketful, with a clear conscience, but maybe I ought to watch out for the Rangers !

Geoff
Sent from my iPad

-------------------------------------------------------------

From: John Dennis
To: Orchid Talk List
Subject: Re: [OrchidTalk] Conductivity meter readings in growing season
Date: Wed, 28 Nov 2012 18:00

That's really funny,Richard. I would not be surprised if that has actually happened somewhere in the world. It does look like a chopping board,after all.
John

Sent from my iPad

-------------------------------------------------------------

From: John Stanley
To: Orchid Talk List
Subject: Re: [OrchidTalk] IVC
Date: Wed, 28 Nov 2012 23:00

"Twas on a Wednesday (?) morning, the painter came call,
He painted over the gas tap . . . . . . ." etc; Do you remember Flanders and Swann?

I can imagine the bog garden. We've been travelling between Nantmor and Crewe quite frequently and we can tell you that that the wet stuff comes from above and windscreen wipers weren't designed for some of it! Dual carriageway rivers make a change too. Never had such clean tyres.

I've been refurbishing orchid house heaters in my spare time and earlier in the summer (i.e.; in the summertime) I completely rebuilt the humidifier which may have had a fault yours suffers/ed from. It turned out to be a need for a new capacitor − easy to fit but apparently only available (£15) from Simply Control who were most helpful. Do you still have yours or did you abandon it?

Cheers
John

-------------------------------------------------------------

From: Peter Fowler
To: Orchid Talk List
Subject: Re: [OrchidTalk] IVC
Date: Thu, 29 Nov 2012 00:35

Reading about orchid house heaters, it reminded me about my Parwin 3kW heater.
I have taken out one of the one kilowatt bars as two kilowatts is ample to keep my greenhouse
frost free at 2deg.C. I do not use the small built in thermostat but a electronic one bought from
Two Wests. The Parwin heater is about 32 years old and still works fine.
Every summer I give it a good clean especially the fan bearing and re-lubricate it. I use good old 3 in 1oil and a modern lubricant for bicycles, based on Teflon (PTFE). The heaters are quite expensive but whose complaining with 32 years use "under the bonnet".
Peter Fowler

On 28 Nov 2012, at 23:03, John Stanley wrote:

> I've been refurbishing orchid house heaters in my spare time

[...]

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From: Geoff
To: Orchid Talk List
Subject: Re: [OrchidTalk] IVC
Date: Thu, 29 Nov 2012 03:30

I think someone, somewhere, has rebuilt the biggest humidifer in the world and left it running in UK this year. Turns out to be someone I know, too !.

Can anyone give me some tips on watercress growing ? Looks like a better bet than other forms of gardening, unless that humdiifer gets turned off !.

Cheers

Geoff

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From: Tina Stagg
To: Orchid Talk List
Subject: Re: [OrchidTalk] IVC
Date: Thu, 29 Nov 2012 09:55

I have had many Parwins usually they last about three or four years in our salt-laden atmosphere, in spite of regular cleaning, although the occasional one can go on for years. I am currently running two Simply Controls, one Parwin and a cheapy from Homebase as backup. As it s all plastic it will no doubt outlive all the others. It s a lovely view from the house but the sea does throw itself at us too frequently. I spend far more on infrastructure than I do on orchids.

Yes, John, I still have the humidifier, languishing under the bench. One warm, sunny day I will drag it outside and strip it down. It s now disgustingly filthy.

Communication with The Rest of the World ceases at lunch time today as the painter is moving into my study and I shall have to disconnect the modem as the wires are strung around the walls. I am still confined to the dining room with picnics for meals until the paint dries in the kitchen. I bought a supermarket phalaenopsis to cheer me up but, two weeks on, the flowers have gone all soft and floppy. Not normal aging and fading, just soft and floppy. The leaves are fine. Any ideas?

Tina

Peter Fowler wrote Re: [OrchidTalk] IVC

Reading about orchid house heaters, it reminded me about my Parwin 3kW heater.
I have taken out one of the one kilowatt bars as two kilowatts is ample to keep my greenhouse
frost free at 2deg.C. I do not use the small built in thermostat but a electronic one bought from
Two Wests. The Parwin heater is about 32 years old and still works fine.
Every summer I give it a good clean especially the fan bearing and re-lubricate it. I use good old 3 in 1oil and a modern lubricant for bicycles, based on Teflon (PTFE). The heaters are quite expensive but whose complaining with 32 years use "under the bonnet".
Peter Fowler

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From: John Stanley
To: Orchid Talk List
Subject: Re: [OrchidTalk] IVC- etc etc etc
Date: Thu, 29 Nov 2012 11:05

Hi Peter,
Our greenhouse is about 12 years old now and we have used two 2.8Kw fan heaters in succession. They have both been 'Biogreen' models. The first, sounds a bit like yours with two copper-coil elements (like old electric cooker elements) and we certainly need both. The device consists of an 18" stainless cylinder a little over 8" diameter with a fan in one end and the elements at the other. The first was then the 'Arizona' model and it came with an external electronically pulsed thermostat that avoided noticeable hot-cold alternations by (apparently) altering the pulse frequency. Unfortunately, its weakness was the fact that a cubic and very compact plug and socket sited directly over the heater elements caused the cable (including mains supply) to fail as the the plug-socket connections arced and overheated. I replaced the pug twice before buying a later model with an inbuilt thermostat that swings noticeably between warm and cold.

About a month ago, I overhauled the old one, eliminating the offending plug-socket on the cylinder and hardwiring direct. The only snag now is that the device is permanently tethered to its thermostat. During this cold snap (or are we coming into a glacial phase?) the new one simply runs flat out but I will soon reinstall the old (better) one.

As for the humidifier, a model from Simply Controls, it is American built and very effective (No Geoff, we don't have its nozzles pointing south!) but, as with most things it had a weakness. This turned out to be an intermittent fault caused by a capacitor sometimes not kicking the motor into life. The capacitor, of matchbox size and shape was not indicatively swollen but its replacement solved our problem. It also has a tendency for a conical water 'pick-up' to become clogged with algae and moss . . . but sadly for Tina, not Sphagnum!.

Incidentally, has anyone experience of using insulation such as expanded polystyrene or similar on a greenhouse floor? I wonder how much heat is lost through conduction there. After all, thick sheets are cheap and would be very easy to lay with load-spreading sheets on top.

John

-------------------------------------------------------------

From: John Stanley
To: Orchid Talk List
Subject: Re: [OrchidTalk] Conductivity meter readings in growing season
Date: Thu, 29 Nov 2012 12:25


Richard,
I was similarly amused but think it it a bit ageist! It seems to be going the rounds but does anyone know if the iPad still works!
John

On 28 Nov 2012, at 10:03, Richard Baxter wrote:

> Talking about iPads, I thought the attached might amuse the less technical amongst us........or even the boffins too.

> http://www.snotr.com/video/8965/*

-------------------------------------------------------------

From: Tricia Garner
To: Orchid Talk List
Subject: Re: [OrchidTalk] IVC- etc etc etc
Date: Thu, 29 Nov 2012 13:40

John, this is something I have considered, but am not too
knowledgeable about these things. What would you suggest for the
load-spreading sheets?

On 29 Nov, John Stanley wrote:

> Incidentally, has anyone experience of using insulation such as
> expanded polystyrene or similar on a greenhouse floor? I wonder how
> much heat is lost through conduction there. After all, thick sheets
> are cheap and would be very easy to lay with load-spreading sheets
> on top.

--

Tricia

Accept that some days you are the pigeon and some days the statue.

-------------------------------------------------------------

From: John Stanley
To: Orchid Talk List
Subject: Re: [OrchidTalk] IVC
Date: Thu, 29 Nov 2012 15:25

Hi Tina,
When the 2013 heatwave comes I'll guide you to the capacitor (unless you are already familiar with its location). I realised how easy it was from the experience of finding it the hard way.

As for your Phalaenopsis becoming "soft and floppy", well, could've been "hard and brittle". It's the same option with all geriatric organisms, human or orchidaceous!

John

-------------------------------------------------------------

From: Geoff
To: Orchid Talk List
Subject: Re: [OrchidTalk] IVC- etc etc etc
Date: Thu, 29 Nov 2012 17:40

John Stanley said...
I wonder how much heat is lost through conduction there. After all, thick sheets are cheap and would be very easy to lay with load-spreading sheets on top.
When I moved to the Cotswolds , some 16 years ago ( as some here will remember ? ) I did all the thermodynamic calculations for the barn we had restored/converted *, which get a bit complex for floors, because of the edge effect ( to do it very accurately you get into maths which I now have not used for many a long year ).It is an interesting exercise in logic.
The floor of the greenhouse will be heated to a temperature above the ambient soil, so that heat will flow from the inside to the outside. Some 5 feet down, the soil is likely to be at 12 degrees C, summer and winter, inside and outside , so no heat flow at that depth. Above that, there will be a gradient inside and one outside. Because of the insulating effect of the air in the soil, flow will only occur from the zone close to the wall , say the 2 feet or so next to the wall. It's a bit of 3D maths needed , with average inside and outside temperatures taken into account, and I think also the specific heat of air , which is a long number with a lot of zeros. For a 150 sq metre building it was worth doing the calculations , I think I got them checked out by The Building Research Centre, somewhere or other. For a greenhouse a few metres square , I would just do it.
* BTW I had to do them , architects seem very clued up about using authentic and appropriate Cotswold stone etc., but , at least my Architect , quite clueless once I started to discuss heat loss and insulation !
Geoff

-------------------------------------------------------------

From: John Stanley
To: Orchid Talk List
Subject: Re: [OrchidTalk] IVC- etc etc etc and Floor insulation.
Date: Thu, 29 Nov 2012 19:15

Hi Tricia,

From experience, (I laid my wooden conservatory floor over expanded polystyrene sheets and I'd do little differently next time) I know that the interlocking flooring panels commonly sold for flooring, would be adequate flat over smallish areas but rather expensive. A couple of years ago I refurbished our kitchen and fitted a suspended ceiling of purchased interlocking panels (to hide the appallingly uneven plastered job the builders did 45 years ago!) However, I miscalculated and now have enough panels left over to use as flooring.

The problem I have is; since greenhouse floors get wet, how long would such panels last before warping and the need to replace? (but they'd otherwise be thrown away). I suspect hardboard would be structurally adequate if water isn't too liberally sloshed about and, at this time of year, it would be pretty dry but they'd warp. The styrene sheets could be removed easily when outside temperatures rise but then one needs to store them somewhere!

Expanded styrene suitable for lofts can be bought and is claimed to be adequately fire retardant or maybe proof if you are worried about. water soaking in, styrene sheets are made of fused closed-cell beads and do not absorb water beyond a couple of mm unless serious squashed under foot

Some years ago (maybe five or six) I laid a single piece on the floor beneath staging (it isn't walked on). It is covered with gravel trays and has ferns and a few tolerant orchids there. Occasionally, I poke it with a penknife to see if there is deterioration inside the now-grubby outside. It seems fine. On the outside edges it is virtually black with old algae and it certainly doesn't look attractive any more. Incidentally, our 'native' greenhouse floor is of concrete flags on a sand bed..

The bottom line; I have no doubt about the ease of laying and relative cheapness of the job but I have never heard anyone discuss the saving in heating. I will probably do ours soon as an experiment but then I'd need to measure the change!

I would avoid doing a 'Gay Gordon's' on it at New Year but with careful use and flat shoes, I can't imagine structural problems. A penultimate thought is that expanded polystyrene can't be painted with solvent-based paint (dissolves the styrene) but could be painted with emulsion paint if you really need a magnolia floor!

My rambling memory recalls recalls an incident in a 50s 'Goon Show' when Eccles was sunbathing on Brighton Beach on a winter's day. He was challenged by a shivering Neddie, Eccles explained that the temperature was perfectly warm as he could verify from his thermometer which he kept safely in a Thermos flask. I'd do the same but the radio signal to our remote sensor wouldn't get through the metallised glass 'Faraday Cage" of the flask ( Would it?).

John (currently at-4C here in Crewe)

-------------------------------------------------------------

From: John Stanley
To: Orchid Talk List
Subject: Re: [OrchidTalk] IVC- etc etc etc
Date: Fri, 30 Nov 2012 00:10

Tricia,
I always enjoy your end-thoughts but the last one worries me! ; "Accept that some days you are the pigeon and some days the statue."
That's OK so long as the bit in between is never a suggested third option! I don't like being in free-fall.

I have been looking at the web for insulate properties of expanded PS without too much success so far. I'll keep you posted.
John

On 29 Nov 2012, at 13:43, Tricia Garner wrote:

> Accept that some days you are the pigeon and some days the statue.

-------------------------------------------------------------

From: John Dennis
To: Orchid Talk List
Subject: Re: [OrchidTalk] IVC- etc etc etc and Floor insulation.
Date: Fri, 30 Nov 2012 09:35

Tricia,
Further to what John said. In a greenhouse I would cover the polystyrene with exterior ply, which has bonding resins that will not break down too quickly, in the presence of water. I would probably still seal the wood with paint or similar. Unfortunately a next year type of job to allow the paint to dry in the sun and release all of its nasty vapours. The problem with this type of floor cover is that in a greenhouse Woodlice will probably colonise the underneath over time and they can create havock with Orchids. I reckon that one could lay polystyrene on a dry floor, then float a fairly thick layer of self levelling flooring latex on top. But would recommend a small experiment to prove such a method.
A Carpet/Floor tile shop would confirm if it would work and what materials to use in order to be as economical as possible.
JohnD

-------------------------------------------------------------

From: John Stanley
To: Orchid Talk List
Subject: Re: [OrchidTalk] IVC- etc etc etc and Floor insulation.
Date: Fri, 30 Nov 2012 11:00

Hi John and Tricia,
Earlier this morning I checked the polystyrene slab beneath the staging I referred to earlier. In the couple of attachments you can see first, the general arrangement of the Polystyrene laid over concrete flags and secondly, detail where I have cut an investigative piece away. Margaret (my wife) insists that it has been there much longer than I claimed and that would account for the generally grubby appearance (for which I take no pride!). What is interesting is that when I cut off a small triangle from the corner of the polystyrene, it is absolutely dry and in pristine condition inside. Surely this demonstrates the durability of the stuff since, as you can see, there is no protection from water spillage over it. I wouldn't argue with JohnD's advice about marine ply (so long as you're paying John!) but I would personally make do with any flat sheeting I could find for the 3 or 4 month period of an experiment. I ca't imagine carpet tiles having sufficiently insulative properties and (in our greenhouse) could finish up soggy and/or smelly. Incidentally, although the odd woodlouse is not unknown to us, there were none apparent when I cut the corner off the styrene this morning and I am pretty confident that the interface between the outer accommodating styrene and the concrete leaves no space for woodlice, ants, worms or any other high life form!

You may also notice the relatively clean triangle of concrete which is damp. That dampness does not extend as much as a millimetre into the body of the polystyrene slab. Hope this is helpful but it still doesn't provide information about thermal insulate properties!
John Stanley

-------------------------------------------------------------

From: John Stanley
To: Orchid Talk List
Subject: Re: [OrchidTalk] IVC- etc etc etc and Floor insulation.
Date: Fri, 30 Nov 2012 12:00

Sorry John,
I mis-read your reference to "carpet tile shop" as a suggestion for the use of such tiles rather than self levelling screed. Sorry to misrepresent you.
However, I personally think that, with a hard-floored green house all you really need is a load-spreading walk-on layer above the styrene. I guess that even thinnish patio flags would do but one needs to be conscious of the repeated 'rocking' effect of stepping at their edges. I still think cheap interlocking floor boards (B&Q, Wickes and similar stores often have reduced odd end-of-line packs or broken packaging packs) . They might need a spot or two of glue (or tape?) to prevent lateral separation at the interlocks.

Back to checking thermal effectiveness!
Cheers
John S

-------------------------------------------------------------

From:
To: Orchid Talk List
Subject: [Orchid Talk]It's my first time
Date: Fri, 30 Nov 2012 17:05

Hi folks

This is my first posting on this forum however one or two of you will know
me, hello Richard and Tina.
To provide a bit of back ground I have been growing orchids(trying)
for over twenty five years my collection is a mixed bag grown in a greenhouse
which I share with my wife Tricia. Trish grows mainly cool orchids, the
greenhouse is divided into four section (cool shady, cool bright,
intermediate and warm).
I am member of the Harrogate Orchid Society and I am currently Show
Secretary, acting Treasurer, Vice Chair and BOC representative. In addition I
have also been a member of the North of England Orchid Society since 1982
and currently hold the office of Secretary.
I retired four years ago after working in the construction industry for
over forty years and I have found like other retiree's that I have less
time than when I was working!
My other main interest apart from orchids is photography so I will be
adding a few photos occasionally.
I noticed there has been a lot of discussion about iPad's my computer
is a good old fashioned steam driven desktop PC.

Cheers Malcolm White

-------------------------------------------------------------

From: Tricia Garner
To: Orchid Talk List
Subject: Re: [Orchid Talk]It's my first time
Date: Fri, 30 Nov 2012 19:05

Hi Malcolm,

Good to hear from you. You clearly have a good selection of growing
conditions, and it's nice to know there's another 'cool' Tricia!

I look forward to your photos, and hope the discussion on iPads
hasn't bored you. As you haven't unsubscribed perhaps it's fair to
assume you can put up with it :-)

--

Tricia

Growing old is inevitable; growing up is optional

-------------------------------------------------------------

From: Tricia Garner
To: Orchid Talk List
Subject: Greenhouse floor insulation
Date: Fri, 30 Nov 2012 19:20

Thanks John D and John S for your ideas re floor insulation. I don't
think my skill set is up to cutting sheets of ply to fit the floor
and anyway it could end up rather slippery − I really don't need any
more broken bones! However, on further cogitation I feel that
polystyrene sheets along the sides and wooden decking tiles for the
walkway might suffice. The tiles would be easier to lift and clean
when required.

John S − with regard to the pigeon and the statue, if I didn't think
it unlikely I might believe you missed the point. The deposit made by
the pigeon is the only thing in free fall. Ergo, some days you are
the depositor, some days the recipient :-)

--

Tricia

A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking.

-------------------------------------------------------------

From: John Stanley
To: Orchid Talk List
Subject: Re: [OrchidTalk] Greenhouse floor insulation
Date: Fri, 30 Nov 2012 22:20

Tricia;
I'm not exactly statuesque and I can't fly by flapping my upper limbs. There's only one other component in the relationship and that is the one I'd prefer not to be confused with! I think we both know what each refers to. I guess a euphemism is called for!

A couple of days ago I sent ,by email, a species list of a Welsh SSSI to my son-in-law in HK. Apparently his Apple computer is rather sensitive; In future, I must refer only to Parus major and not to its vernacular name. However Parus caeruleus is apparently OK! (but then, in HK they don.t get much frost!)

As for slippery floors; how much water do you splash around at this time of year? How big is your walkway?
I would agree that planks of interlocking flooring, especially if you can get compatible 'seconds' or slightly damaged ones, are the best bet.

Again, although common sense (whatever that is) would suggest thermal improvement, I am still unable to come up with even ballpark figures on what we might save in heating by insulating the floor! My neighbour has just replaced his living room floor with oak which has rigid foam insulation between the joists. It must have cost a fortune so he must think it's worth it in that context! I suspect we'd save little or nothing by convection, a bit by reduced radiation and most by reduced thermal conduction. When you fall over, does the floor feel very cold? It wouldn't with polystyrene there!
John
ps; please avoid falling over!

-------------------------------------------------------------

From:
To: Orchid Talk List
Subject: [Orchid Talk] Greenhouse floor insulation
Date: Fri, 30 Nov 2012 23:15

I worked in the construction industry for over forty years and so have
quite a bit of experience of using polystyrene. It can never be used
unprotected, it will not absorb water as pointed out before but it is easily
damaged so need some form of covering.
Next point is it really effective........ well, a number of years ago
Building Regulation were amended so that new buildings have to have
insulated floors, in warehouses and factories it is usually the first 1200mm around
the perimeter but in houses it is the whole of the ground floor. So it is
obvious there must be some benefit or Building Regulations would not
specify it.
When I built my own conservatory about ten years ago I laid 50mm thick
polystyrene on top of 1200 gauge polythene and then covered it with 75mm
thick concrete. It is the best thing I could have done it is possible to
walk on the tiled floor in bare feet and the floor does not feel cold.
As far as a greenhouse is concerned insulation the floor can only be a
good thing but the polystyrene must be at least 50mm thick, don't bother
buying the expensive floor insulation it is not worth it. However the
polystyrene needs covering with a hard material forget plywood or particle boards
total waste of time they will warp and break up with all the water used in a
greenhouse. I would cover the greenhouse floor with thin precast concrete
slabs or 75mm concrete. However most of the heat is lost through the glass
sides and roof and that is a whole new topic!

Malcolm

-------------------------------------------------------------

From: Tricia Garner
To: Orchid Talk List
Subject: Re: [OrchidTalk] Greenhouse floor insulation
Date: Fri, 30 Nov 2012 23:40

John,

Thanks for the smile re Parus major − I get some of those on my
feeder but it doesn't insist I avoid the vernacular :-)

I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that there isn't a lot to be
gained by insulating my greenhouse floor. Apart from anything else
there is the problem of storing the polystyrene sheets during the
summer when the floor is frequently wet. The shed and garage are
already bursting at the seams!

--

Tricia

I try to take one day at a time, but lately several have attacked me at once.

-------------------------------------------------------------

From: Tricia Garner
To: Orchid Talk List
Subject: Re: [Orchid Talk] Greenhouse floor insulation
Date: Fri, 30 Nov 2012 23:50

Malcolm, thanks for your input. As it happens, the ground floor of my
house is insulated with polystyrene − I think it's laid over concrete
and covered with some kind of membrane and boards on top of that.
There may also be some screed involved.

I have reached the conclusion that this kind of thing should be done
during construction and trying to achieve something similar as an
afterthought is not to be undertaken lightly. As it is, the
greenhouse floor consists of concrete slabs as it was built over what
was a patio area. The sides and roof are well insulated so for now,
at least, that will have to suffice.

--

Tricia

Why do people believe you when you say there are four billion stars, but check when you say the paint is wet?

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