Brooklyn Orchids

Greenhouse Setup Update + A New Bloom

Sharing My Greenhouse Setup

Hello and Happy Valentine’s Day! One of my NOID Phals started blooming recently so I wanted to share a couple pics before we take a look at my greenhouse setup. Check out this beauty:

Red orchid bloom

Let’s zoom in:

Red Phal bloom

I believe this orchid is actually the keiki from the other NOID orchid that bloomed for me recently! Their blooms are almost identical. The bloom on the mother plant has already fallen off, but she’s working on another bud so I’m excited to see that.

Step Into the Greenhouse…

Okay! My husband has recently done some work inside the greenhouse to try to help keep it warm and humid during the dry winter. And he set up a system that allows me to water the plants without having to drag the hose in! He’s done basically all the research and setup (in addition to building the thing), so he gets allll the credit for this. Is he the best or is he the best?!

Here’s what the interior of the greenhouse currently looks like:

Greenhouse interior

We have a small space heater near the door and it’s been working well so far. The heater is the 120V Portable Electric Heater from Greenhouse Megastore. We also have a small fan positioned to push air out of the vent. The fan is the Comfort Zone CZ9BWT Portable 9-inch 2-Speed Quiet Box Fan [paid link] from Amazon and it has stopped working. I tried hitting the reset button on the outlet but that didn’t help, so it requires a little further investigation. Hopefully it hasn’t crapped out on us already (though it was pretty cheap, so…yeah).

Space heater and fan

We originally bought this AIRCARE MA1201 Whole-House Console-Style Evaporative Humidifier [paid link] for our previous apartment because it got super dry in the winter. But once we built the greenhouse I figured we might as well put the humidifier out there. The green thing is another space heater, one that I think my husband brought home from work. We use that one for additional heat when it gets really cold out (which hasn’t happened much this year…climate change is no joke).

Humidifier and heater

Air movement is very important for orchid health, so my husband mounted this 16″ Hurricane 736565 Fan, Super 8 [paid link] to the wall. The fan oscillates, has multiple settings, and a remote control. It’s also pretty quiet. So far so good!

Oscillating fan

We had a thermometer-humidity meter hybrid out in the greenhouse that went kaput, so I ordered a new one: Brifit Indoor Outdoor Thermometer Humidity Monitor, Wireless Hygrometer [paid link]. It’s pretty cool because it comes with a sensor that you put in the greenhouse (the gadget you see hanging in the below pic). There’s a separate screen that I keep in our house, which makes it easy to keep an eye on the levels inside the greenhouse without setting foot outside. Pretty cool!

thermometer/humidity meter sensor

Now, this next contraption is something my husband came up with to help boost humidity and to allow me to water the orchids using warm water rather than cold water from the outside hose! He’s an aquarium hobbyist so he took some inspiration from that passion and translated it to the greenhouse.

Water receptacle and hose

Basically, it’s a giant plastic tub with an aquarium pump that circulates the water inside the tub. There’s an aquarium heater inside the tub to keep the water warm, because watering orchids with cold water can be a shock to their systems. There’s also a hose, which my husband mounted underneath the bench. Prior to mounting it, the hose lived in the tub and would get slimy from some kind of growth…algae, maybe (which we need to figure out how to control)?

He also recently added a valve that I can turn to slow the water flow coming out of the hose, because I found that the default flow was too strong for watering many of my orchids. It’s great to have more control over the flow! When the water level gets low in the tub, we just bring the outside hose in and fill it up with that.

This watering system is saving me a lot of time! Before this setup, I would literally carry each orchid into the kitchen, water in the sink, then bring it back out. Though I don’t have a ton of orchids, it was still time consuming to go back and forth with them so many times. I could only carry a couple at a time, otherwise my hands would be too full to open the back door. And we can’t leave it open because we have cats (also, I don’t want bugs coming inside). This new system decreased my watering time by at least half! So a big thank you to my husband for coming up with this idea!

Next Steps

Our next challenges are a misting system and shading. I can tell by looking at my orchids’ leaves that many of them are getting too much light, and the light inside the greenhouse will only grow stronger as we move into spring and summer. We also want to have a misting system for summertime so I don’t have to manually spritz the plants all day long. DC summers are SUPER hot (UGHHH) and a misting system will help cool the greenhouse in addition to keeping the plants from drying out.

We’ve already ordered a shading solution and supplies for misting, so stay tuned for another post once we have those setups in place.

Honestly, we’re kind of winging it with the greenhouse. It’s a learning experience for both of us and I’m sure mistakes will be made. But so far most of the orchids seem pretty happy. So that’s promising! Summer will be a challenge, for sure, but there’s always some trial and error with projects like this.

Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!

 

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