Saturday, November 22, 2008

Lowering the Lights

This weekend's project was to lower the lights from the lightmover/ceiling to increase the lux/fc value at the orchid canopy. As you can see in the first picture, the lights are pretty close to the ceiling, and actually higher than they were placed last year.

I installed some chains that allow me to vary the distance each light may hang from its lightmover. The lower the lights hang, less area is illuminated, so I'm trying to find a compromise setting for this season. The maximum length will place the lights directly on top of the Cym canopy. While this achieves over 10,000 lux, the area illuminated is quite small.

At the above length, the lights are about 18 inches closer to the canopy than they were last year. (The calculation/measurement also includes the distance due to raising the plants off the floor with the palettes--another feature I did not have last year.) According to the light meter, the maximum lux per light at canopy level is now about 7,500 lux. Because this is an improvement over last year, I expect that the orchids will be fine. However, with light meter in hand, I must admit that I'm already thinking of improved lighting designs for next year, e.g. putting two lights onto each lightmover (four lights total).

Note: Although the photos indicate that the lights move synchronously, they are, in fact, asynchronous. The light on the left is set to pause at each end of the rail for about 17 seconds. The light on the right is set to pause for about 19 seconds. The lights take about 90 seconds to traverse the rail length.

Monday, November 17, 2008

November NCOS meeting

NCOS held it's monthly meeting yesterday. The guest speaker was Ernie Gemienhart of EnLightened Orchids (AOS Orchids, December issue, pgs 906-909, 2007) who discussed methods of growing orchids under lights indoors, e.g. spare bedroom, basement or garage. This was a timely topic given that I brought my Cyms indoors into my basement space just a few days earlier. Ernie has some nice ideas that I'll keep in mind as I evaluate the working conditions and overall plant health.

Below are some pics from the member's show table.
Lc. Gaskell Pumila 'Azure Star' HCC/AOS

Cyc. Wine's Delight 'J.E.M.'

Cirr. Elizabeth Ann

C. Portia 'Cannizaro' AM/AOS

Friday, November 14, 2008

In for the Winter

I moved my Cymbidiums into the basement tonight for their Winter season. We've had some light rain and/or overcast skies for several days now, with more light rain forecasted for the weekend. After that, the forecast is for below 30F nighttime lows, which combined with the saturated media would not be good for the Cyms.

Over half of the Cyms are in spike, and I am hopeful that the remaining will generate inflorescences in another month or so. I have a number of seedling crosses that are expected (should be mature enough) to bloom this year. Cym. mastersii, Cym. Eastern Bunny 'Oborozuki', and Cym. (lowio-mastersii x Summer Sands) have buds that have just cleared their sheaths. I'll be posting photos as the flowers open up.

I had noticed that some of my Cym. devonianum and devonianum hybrids were potted too low beneath the pot's edge, which will prevent the inflorescences from clearing the pot. So, I raised those plants "needing a lift" out of their pots such that the base of the pseudobulbs is now a half inch or so above the pot's edge. I had seen this "lifting" practiced while visiting Top Hat Orchids in Richmond, CA this last Spring. It was a good thing for me to do because, while doing so, I noticed that both Cym. Langlyense 'Cascades' and Cym. Miss Muffet 'Julie Sato' were developing multiple spikes beneath the media. These plants were on my potential discard list because they haven't flowered for me for a couple of years. But now, I have an explanation why I wasn't seeing any flowers, and I'm hopeful that the little spikes I saw will fully mature.