Saturday, August 10, 2013

Building a Greenhouse

When I set out on this project, I never thought it would take as long as it did. This is one of the first pictures I have of the process. You can see the gas and power lines have been cut in, and the parts are out of the box. This was Dec 2011.

This is May 2012. You can See the box is built, a liner is in and a drain system is started to be laid out. The posts in the foreground are a sink top on the right and a shelf-heater unit on the left.

This is the end of May 2012. The gravel is in the box and you can see the Bobcat I rented gave the yard a bit of a beating.

This is more progress toward the end of May. It is starting to look like a greenhouse at this point.

This is the start of June 2012. You can see the benches are starting to be built. You can see part of the shade tent the plants were in in the right lower part of the photo.

Mid June and we have a door and an end wall. The benches are close to ready for bench tops.

Another end wall goes up.

After this we have a lapse in photos. Several reasons, first my phone which I had been taking pictures with died. Second, my second kid arrived on the scene.

The greenhouse got finished just in time for the cool fall in this part of Virginia. Then came winter. And snow.

You might notice the well worn path in the snow. That was made about 3 AM when we lost power. An eventuality I should have planed better for but did not. The only option was to haul all the plants inside or let them die in a 20 degree greenhouse with no heat. 

That gets us to current day. If I can continue to motivates I will post picture of the greenhouse as it is today. That is, if anyone is still out there. A layoff of years may be more than this blog can take.


Monday, December 26, 2011


It is a start....

This a photo from my new phone, I am not impressed.
I will try for a better one soon....

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

C. labiata 'Oberlin' x self

This is a first bloom for this seedling and I an very happy with the result. I posted about this plant in December of last year. At the time it was not as happy a plant. I am looking forward to next year when the plant is stronger and the blooms are bigger.

I have not been able to find a picture of 'Oberlin' on the internet, so I am not sure how far off the boom is from the parent. That said I am really happy with the lip.

Gone to long....

I apologies for my long hiatus. In the last 4 months we have moved to another part of Virginia, been busy with a new house, and I have started a new job. That said, the blog and my plants have suffered for it. There is good news though; I have started construction on a greenhouse to make it up to my plants. More plant pictures and greenhouse pictures to follow. Stay tuned folks, if you are still out there.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Summer Growing Area

Summer Growing Area
As the temperature starts to rise, it is time to prepare to move the plants outside for the summer. I put up the tent frame last weekend but have not put the shade cloth up yet. It seems as soon as I out the tent up the night time temps fell back into the low 50’s and high 40’s. That is a touch colder than I like to keep the catt’s at. This week looks to be better, day time highs in the high 70’s and 80’s night time around 58. If all goes well they will go out Friday….
I hang the plants from the chain that is stretched over the 10x10 frame. I use 24inch double wire pot hangers and they fit in the chain link nicely.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

C. skinneri

C. skinneri

This is one of my favorite plants in my entire collection. It was a gift from a very experienced grower in the orchid society. The year before he gave it to me he had a specimen of ‘Debbie” that was a show stopper, or at least a show table stopper. It had 8-10 bloom spikes and 12 or so flowers on each. The next year he had divided it and had a large piece in flower on the show table and donated a smaller piece in bud to the society for auction. I bid on it, but in the end it was just to rich for my blood at the time. To my surprise at the next meeting he brought me a piece. I have enjoyed it ever since.

I follow the culture recommendations of the Chadwick’s. They go something like this, “In the United States, C. skinneri normally begins sending out new growths in late summer and will complete these by late autumn or early winter. If you encourage the plant to begin growing a little earlier with frequent light sprays of water in late June, it can make two growths a season and bloom on both of them.

Once a growth is mature, the sheath will turn brown and buds will develop and emerge from the dried brown sheath in time for it to flower in late March into mid-April. The flowers will last in bloom three to four weeks under normal home conditions — a little longer at cooler temperatures of 55 to 60 F (13–16 C). After blooming, the plant should receive less water and be allowed to rest for a couple of months.
Like most Cattleya species, C. skinneri needs lots of sun and moving air. A night temperature of 58 to 60 F (14–16 C), and a day temperature of 85 F (29 C) suits it well.
Repot C. skinneri immediately after it has finished flowering. If you want to develop an exhibition plant with many growths and flowers, instead of cutting it up and repotting it, simply move the plant into a larger-size pot as soon as the lead pseudobulb reaches the edge of the container. You should do this before the lead pseudobulb begins to root.”

I plan to let this plant grow into a specimen and will repot it when it is done flowering. Which now, by the time I have gotten around to posting this has been done…. I almost skipped posting this, because by the time I took the pictures the flowers were starting to fade. Not by best work.

Monday, April 18, 2011

NOID Phal’s

NOID Phal’s

Despite the fact that I don’t particularly care for phalaenopsis, I seem to have a bunch of them. There was a time when I would see a nice one out a store and pick it up, but I have not paid for one in years. All the same, they seem to multiply. People will bring me a sad, half dead plant and ask if I can try to heal it for them. I have learned that this is a euphemism ‘take it off my hands’. Even when they are healthy and in bloom, it is difficult to get the former owner to reclaim them. And so they the live with me. There are several in bloom now. They are nice looking and the look good around house, but the truth is I just don’t have a deep love for them…. And sadly, I would guess there will be more around the growing as I am just not able to say no to a free plant……