Sunday, June 10, 2018

Journal June 10, 2018 - Lighting change

I look forward to checking on the progress of this project each day, it is kind of like watching an old Saturday serial movie; things are happening, but happening slowly. 

Thinking that the major contributing factor to plant growth is light, I decided to change the quality and quantity of the lighting, drastically.

Today the lighting was changed from a small compact fluorescent to a small LED grow light tuned to both vegetative and flowering spectra. The intensity has changed by a factor of 10, from 50 footcandles to 500 footcandles.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Journal June 2, 2018

Today I "replated" almost all of the seedlings, selecting the largest darkest green seedlings for replating. Replating is literally scooping them out of the vessel and placing them on a plate then transferring them to vessels with fresh media. 

They were replated because I noticed the growth slowing down, almost to a halt. Hopefully, I have carried out the replating in time. This is the step that has the most chance of introducing contamination, so I used several vessels to lower the odds.

The slope in the media is deliberate so that the condensation runs to the low side and does not puddle and drown the seedlings.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Journal June 1, 2018 - Growing hydroponically cheap, really cheap.

My wife brought home hydroponic basil from the supermarket recently.  It was bare root in a horticube, two stalks for about six dollars.  In just a day or so it turned black and was tossed into the garbage, kiss six bucks good-bye.

To prevent any further episodes of buying hydroponic basil I told her I would grow all the basil she wanted.  Basil is about the easiest thing to grow hydroponically, so I simply rescued a suitable container from the recycle bin and set to work.

The basil is supported by expanded clay pellets and grown in a 3" netpot.  The netpot is suspended in nutrients to a level just below the rim.  Any water soluable nutrients will work, but keep the nutrients on the weak side, about quarter strength.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Journal May 22, 2018 - Phalaenopsis seed starting, continued

It has only been six days since I transferred some of the forming protocorms into the experimental media that I prepared using the M&S nutrients but already I can see a difference.

The transferred protocorms are now a much lighter shade of green and are growing more quickly than those remaining in the original media.

Also, the ends of some of them are developing points that may mean that they are forming leaves.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Journal May 16. 2018 - Phalaenopsis seed starting progress

Today I noticed a tiny spot of what I thought was mold in one of the flasks.  Already I had discarded one flask because of mold, and both flasks contained the seeds from the dry pod.  That appears to confirm that the chance of contamination is greater with the dry pod seeds.

The seeds from green pod are really making progress now, beginning to form protocorms, which will form tiny orchid plants, thousands of tiny orchid plants.

Not wanting to give up on the flask with the mold I decided to attempt to rescue the forming protocorms.   An experimental batch of media was prepared using 1/4 Murashige and Skoog with vitamins, distilled water, coconut water, agar, and sugar.  

Under sterile conditions, small clumps containing the protocorms were transferred to the prepared media.  Now, it is a matter of waiting to see if mold begins to form in these vessels. 


Saturday, May 12, 2018

Journal May 12, 2018 - Getting into hydroponics for literally peanuts.

My wife has this thing for fresh basil, she loves basil on pretty much anything.  She has been buying hydroponic basil, spending about five dollars for a few stems growing from a horticube.  The problem is, that in a day or so the basil begins to turn black and wilt.

Well, if you want hydroponic basil, why not grow it?  It is not rocket science.  

 Deciding to go with the "deep water" method for this grow I selected a container that would accommodate a 3" net pot, and that container just happened to be a plastic peanut container that fit the net pot like it was designed for it.

Expanded clay pellets are being used to support the seedlings and the nutrient mixture is just below the brim of the container.  The mixture has a PPM of about 700 and a pH of 6.7. 

As it is only one container, and to keep it simple, I am using a small red/blue 10 watt LED grow bulb for lighting.

The grow bulb is a spotlight configuration and even though it is only 10 watts the concentrated light level on the plant is a not too shabby 1500 foot candles from 18" above the plants.



Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Journal May 9, 2018 - Vanilla planfolia arrived.

A new orchid arrived today, Vanilla planfolia, which is the plant that we get vanilla flavoring from.  Well, artificial vanilla comes from chemicals, I mean the real stuff.

It is a climbing vine so I scouted around the yard and found a clean dead branch to place in the pot for the plant to climb.

Bright light is a requirement so I placed it in a sunny spot in the greenhouse where it can live pretty much undisturbed for quite some time.