Friday, May 12, 2017

Journal April 12, 2017 - Hybrid orchid seedlings

At this point, as a result of purchasing flasks, I have well over a hundred hybrid orchid seedlings.

My expectation was when I bought the flasks that many of the seedlings would not survive being removed from the flask, but I was wrong as very few were lost.

The seedlings are in the small 2" or 3" pots and there is another tray not shown in the photos.  So, as I can not possibly raise all of the seedlings I am going to have to try to sell the excess plants, either on EBAY or at the orchid society meetings.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Journal May 6, 2017 - Another orchid for the collection

Another hybrid orchid was added to my collection today: Ryc Mem Darlene T Atkins x Higher Ground.   The plant, shown above, was purchased at the Northeastern Orchid Society meeting held today in Colonie, NY.

A representative from Woodland Orchids in Charlotte, NC was the guest speaker today and she brought several hybrid plants for sale.  Woodland does not sell from their greenhouse or ship plants but sells only at orchid society meetings so I could not pass up an opportunity for an unusual hybrid.

All of my plants are grown in ugly plastic pots that do not lend themselves for display when the plants are in bloom; it would be nice to be able to bring the plants into the living area to enjoy the flowers while they bloom but the plastic pots present a problem.

To make the plants more presentable I purchased a few inexpensive pots for display only.  To accommodate different sized and shaped pots I purchased pots quite a bit larger than the pots that the plants are grown in.   The plant and growing pot are placed in the display pot and the area around and on top of the plant are filled with expanded clay pellets.

When the plants are watered the water runs right through the clay pellets and out through the drainage holes on the bottom of the pot.  When the water stops dripping from the pot the plant can be put on display again.  When the plant is no longer blooming it is a simple matter to remove the expanded clay pellets and reuse both the pellets and display pot for another plant.

This year I have decided to grow banana peppers in the greenhouse rather than cucumbers.  At this point, I am not really sure how I will support the plants so I added bamboo canes for now.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Journal April 26, 2017 -Season started.

Today I washed and disinfected the interior of the greenhouse, mixed potting soil for the autopots and planted six tomato plants on one side of the greenhouse.

My plan is to plant peppers on the other side of the greenhouse this year, but that is going to have to wait for a week or so.

The tomatoes for the garden are getting too big for the 3" pots, so I will have to transplant them to 4" pots as they can not go into the garden for several more weeks.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Journal March 23, 2017 - Orchid collection just about complete

There is one more Cattleya cross on order, and after that arrives I am calling it quits for buying plants.  From this point on, any plants that I add to our collection will be those I have grown myself.

The Phalaenopsis plants have four new plants starting from the nodes on the spikes that I applied Keiki paste to.  It is amazing how easy and quick that process was, and, strange things are happening to the Dendrobium and Cattleya plants that had the paste applied to their nodes.  It is really too early to tell what is going on, but things are growing from the nodes.

The orchid seeds are doing absolutely nothing, however, I am sure that the seed I purchased on eBay had a lot to do with that.  Hopefully, soon I will see a seed pod forming and I will have millions of fresh seed to work with.  To that end, I purchased media from a lab that is in the business of starting orchid seed.  It is my intention to try and compare their media with my homebrewed media at some point.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Journal March 21, 2017 - Spring will be a little late this year.

The calendar says it is spring, however, Mother Nature played a nasty trick last week and dropped more than two feet of snow on our area  Tomorrow the temperature is forecasted to be a balmy 26 degrees F, but hold off on the Bermuda shorts for a while yet.

At this point, I am anxious to get the olive trees out of the basement and into the greenhouse, as I want to change one of the tents over for growing orchids. 

Right now the orchids I have are on the grow table in the basement where the conditions are ideal for them in terms of temperature and humidity.

I am mainly interested in what effect the light will have on them.  In searching the web I have found very little on growing orchids under the type of lights I will be using.  The intensity is not as important as the spectrum, and these lights are designed with the spectrum optimized for plant growth, be it vegetative or flowering.  1500 to 2000 footcandles does not seem like a lot, but the plants are shade loving and have not been exposed to the specific spectrum these lights will be giving them.  The conditions may not be totally ideal, but I intend to play with the photoperiod, intensity, and spectrum and see how they react.  If anything, over the eons plants, have learned to adapt, so let them adapt and let's see what happens.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Journal - March 18, 2017 - Clone your orchid, the easy way.

If you want to clone one of your favorite orchids there is a fairly easy way to make an exact duplicate. Keikis, or baby plants, grow on the canes or flower spikes of some orchid species, such as Dendrobium, Epidendrum, and Phalaenopsis orchids. Growers use Keiki paste on nodes on the canes or flower spikes to encourage the orchid to produce Keikis. I purchased mine on Ebay for about eight dollars and it can be used to clone hundreds of orchids, as you only need to apply a tiny amount, one time.

You simply use a razor and tweezers to remove the protective sheath covering a node and apply a tiny amount of the paste on the undeveloped node beneath. The paste contains a growth hormone that encourages the node to develop into a new baby plant or Keiki. I applied the paste to four nodes on the flower spikes of two Phalaenopsis plants on March 5, 2017. In only twelve days I can see new plants forming on every node that was treated. If the plants are flowering at the time you apply the paste, like mine are, there is a slight chance that the baby plant will form and produce a flower spike. How cool is that?

It will take several months before the Keiki forms a decent root system and can be removed and planted, so leave it attached and let it grow. There are several how to videos on

Friday, March 10, 2017

Journal March 10, 2017 - New plants

Today I received an Orange Firestar Epidendrum Reedstar that I had ordered from Hirt's Gardens.   As plants that I had previously ordered from Hirt's were found to be infested with insects I immediately removed the potting media entirely from the roots and closely examined the plants.   When doing so I found that what I had actually received were two separate plants, so I potted them I individually in 3" pots.  In the photo above they are the two plants in the front center.

The large plant shown in the back of the photo was also received today, it is a Cymbidium KOUSHU TANGO "Shall We Dance?"   It is larger than I would have liked, however, as it needs cooler conditions than my other plants I will grow it in a different location and simply deal with it.

Also today, I repotted the Phalaenopsis plants into 3" pots, and I am trying a new method of cloning them.   More on that to follow.