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[Aroid-l] Greenhouse growing

  • Subject: [Aroid-l] Greenhouse growing
  • From: Brian Williams <pugturd@alltel.net>
  • Date: Sun, 03 Oct 2004 21:26:35 -0400

Here are some basic things that should be looked into. Heat and cooling are the two biggest problems. 68f is probably the best temp for just about all aroids to survive in. I have gas heat back ups in each greenhouse just in case I forget to load the furnace. The furnace which you maybe able to find small ones fairly cheep burns wood and heats the water to 180f . The heated water is then pumped into tubes under the greenhouse floor or tables and back to the furnace. The wood for us is free and the only trouble is loading the furnace in the middle of winter at night. This is called radiant heat and is extremely effective because as the hot air rises it heats the actual roots and bulbs of the plants. I have seen actual fog in many of these type greenhouses were the floor is wet and then heated. Not mist but actual fog. Once you have your heating system in place it is best to figure which plants you would like to grow. For Amorphophallus and such planting the bulbs in raised beds with the soil heated from below is amazing. I use regular KY soil rather than pro mix which I use in pots. The soil is amazing for bulbs as they seem to be perfectly safe from rot in this soil. The winter all goes dormant and the kempferias amorphos and caladiums all in the same beds will sleep for the winter in a very dry bed. The soil actually may crack but if you dig in it a bit you can see it is a bit moist like clay. For the Philodendrons and others. I enjoy growing most climber and epiphytes in my greenhouse in hanging baskets with totem poles for each one to climb. The baskets are hung up and a drip line is run to each totem so it stays fairly moist. The humidity stays very high in this section of the greenhouse and is watered regularly. I have 4 fans each with small misters on the front of them. This can bring the humidity up very high.
The structure of many of our greenhouses are very simple a common greenhouse frame with double poly over the frame. The poly is snaped air tight with a simple bracket. Then a small air pump is placed into the poly which feels the two poly covers with air. This makes a dead air space of about 6 inches. It is ten times better than glass less expensive last around 8 to 9 years and can let in tons of light. Your cooling system could be as simple as removing the poly in summer and adding a shade cloth. Or as complex as getting a wet wall to keep humidity high and temps lower in the summer months. The cooling system should be which ever best suits your plants. Anthuriums usually like it a bit cooler and humid than alocasias or more bulbous plants. So you should think what it is you want your greenhouse to do for your plants. Do you want it to stay cool and dry to keep things dormant do you want it hot humid for tropical tropical plants? You can do both by splitting the greenhouse into sections but this usually only works well with larger greenhouses. I for one enjoy natural looking collections or displays were the plants are free of pots and containers. This is good in someways but some plants may need to be kept in check. I must add that capulary mats have worked great for me with philos and anthuirums. It plastic placed over the table then the capulary matting which is a cloth like material. Once it gets wet it stays damp and keeps humidity up around the plants constantly. I have found it almost to good as many plants have grown to it and ferns spores and moss growing all over it as well. Well these are some things I have learned over the years growing in greenhouses. I must say your greenhouse will never be large enough and never be finished so good luck!!!
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