So I am a little disappointed over the functionality of the clay pipe actually… In my estimation it did not leech out a whole lot of water for the orchids, and what little did was promptly dried up by the fan. I turned the 80mm computer fan up to 12V since I saw that some mold had started to develop on the backside of the pipe. In any case, it was a fun experiment (thank you for the pipe Tommy), but I am ready for an upgrade.
The solution I decided to go for was an EpiWeb wall from Dusk. The self watering ILS system is really fascinating stuff and I have been dying to try it. The smallest piece of the ILS system (40x60cm) is going to fit me just fine. Of course there were a few adjustments that had to be made before it would fit in my nano-inspired orchidarium…
Granted the original budget is now blown to smithereens… this project adds another 1000 kr to the build cost. But it is going to be great!!
- The top bar has small holes cut in it so that the water can seep through and automatically water the EW wall.
- Since the watering pipe is 40cm wide and the nano is 37cm in diameter I had to cut the pipe in two places and create flexible joints that still would transport water. I cut pieces from a rubber hose at an angle so I would not block the watering holes in the pipe but still get enough of a joint so the contraption would actually hold together (I thought the small straight cuts might be too short).
- One cool thing about EW is that you can heat it up with a blowdryer and shape it to whatever shape you need. Mine needed to fit in a tube so here we are…
- The wall is placed over a large plant saucer (4cm deep) that will hold the water. I have attached an EW branch to the front, it will not only give me more places for orchids but also support the wall. Behind the wall is room to hide the pump. I also placed the pump in a nylon sock to prevent debris getting stuck in the intakes.
- Testing the watering system. Works like a charm! I am sooo stoked.
- Next, a 50% sphagnum 50% tropical moss mixture goes on the EW. Run the dry mix in the food processor with some water and you’ve got this lovely gooo. In a few weeks the tropical moss will start growing and it will help the automatic watering systm to do it’s work by wicking and absorbing more of the water. I also cut a “lid” of EW for the bottom so I can plant more orchids on the bottom and hide the water container required for the pump.
- Ta-da!! A few mini orchids are in… Gastrochilus calceolaris, Dendrobium prenticei, Phalaenopsis lobbii var. flava, Bulbophyllum dearei, Bulbophyllum lobbii, Cirrhopetalum frostii. I have 7 more on order from Orchids & More in Germany.
The growlight is on a timer for 12 hours a day, the small 12V spot is nice for when we want to enjoy it at night. The water pump is handled by a second timer and is set to go on for 15 minutes 5 times a day (with 3 hours in between). The 80mm 12V fan is on all the time. Check this post on the nano-build to see more on the details. The whole system works beyond expectations.