Melanie Builds an Orchid House

Lutz, FL(Zone 9b)

Hi everyone! I'm building an orchid house with much help from my Dad (I live with my parents). I thought it might be fun for you to see it take shape. So here goes...here's the initial load of materials from Home Depot!

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Lutz, FL(Zone 9b)

Here's the space where we'll put it, but we have to move some stuff first. Dad already moved my raised beds over to the butterfly garden area.

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Lutz, FL(Zone 9b)

The bromeliads have to move - they're pretty mobile though.

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Lutz, FL(Zone 9b)

Dad's a woodturner and has collected a lot of wood. It has to move, as well.

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Lutz, FL(Zone 9b)

The area is cleaned out and ready for building to begin.

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Lutz, FL(Zone 9b)

The orchids patiently await the day they can hang in the orchid house instead of the trees!

That's it for now. I'll keep you updated as building commences.

Melanie

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Odessa, FL(Zone 9b)

This is going to be fun. I am really looking forward to this thread. I just converted my screened lanai into what I call the orchid conservatory (OC). here is a link to the thread I did: http://allthingsplants.com/thread/view/1003/My-Lanai-Conversion/

I read my dad is a wood turner but I thought I read great orchid mounts. I get confused easily. :>)

Jim

Santa Ana, CA(Zone 10b)

I'm looking forward to it too! I would love to have a full greenhouse, but have no room. I have built a lean-to type structure with removable roof and walls to accomodate my climate, and so has Laurel. Always fun to see what others will do for the 'chids. They are all on going projects to some degree.

Lutz, FL(Zone 9b)

Jim, my Dad does indeed have a lot of wood that could be used as orchid mounts. Are there certain types of wood that are more favorable? I love bromeliads too, and I know driftwood is often used but I haven't looked at enough orchids to see what they're mounted on. I'm trying to think what that Encyclia tampensis I saw in the wild was growing on...locust, maybe?

Dad overdid it yesterday and is now resting in his recliner after taking painkillers. I think step two will be putting in the posts. We bought a post hole digger since we'll have to replace our fence soon, too. (We live at the front of the street that has a cul-de-sac on the other end so our fence is like the entrance to our little neighborhood.) The orchid house will be 8x8 and about 6.5 feet tall. I'm still trying to decide what kind of shelves I want and how I want them set up. One of my orchid society members posted pics of her orchid house on our club's website so I showed Dad. I thought he'd get a better idea of what I see in my head. He was also with me when we went to St. Pete Orchid Farm so he saw how they were set up, as well.

Melanie

Odessa, FL(Zone 9b)

I found some nice four tier shelves at Sam's Club. I also built shelves using step runners from HD. You should come over and look at the OC for some ideas.

Jim

Sarasota, FL(Zone 9b)

A couple of my friends used old picture frames, and stapled in hardware cloth (square steel mesh) for the shelf part, then just set them up on cinder blocks. I'm sure your Dad will build you something much nicer than picture frames and cinder block for legs, but remember the flat part of the shelf that your pots sit on should be something ventilated.

Orchid growers have big tables that are frames with steel mesh nailed in, both for drainage and air circulation. My local grower is selling off all his tables on Craig's List if you're interested. Search "orchids" on the Sarasota-Bradenton list.

Lutz, FL(Zone 9b)

Thanks for the input everyone. Jim, I'd love to come see your OC.

Today, work continued, or began as it were. Dad began by using our new post hole digger to make four holes.

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Lutz, FL(Zone 9b)

We did a lot of measuring before we dug. Once the holes were made Dad set the posts in.

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Lutz, FL(Zone 9b)

All those tarps are covering his wood piles, by the way. He has enough wood to turn for the rest of his life. Or for me to mount orchids on! More measuring was done with one of the post holes being a little off. So Dad redug it and we got ourselves squared up. Then, he nailed in the bottom of the frame.

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Lutz, FL(Zone 9b)

Here's the posts with the bottom of the frame on.

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Lutz, FL(Zone 9b)

Dad mixed up some insecticide and poured it down each post hole. He said this is important so ants and termites don't eat through it.

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Lutz, FL(Zone 9b)

Finally, we put the top of the frame on. I helped with this part. Mostly by holding one end while Dad nailed the other. Then, I would run out of the way in case one of the ends fell (this happened the first few times). Something about the nails not being long enough and then Dad "toe-nailed" them which apparently means diagonally into the wood instead of straight. My grandfather was a carpenter and I imagine he's shaking his head at me in heaven right now.

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Lutz, FL(Zone 9b)

Finally, day one was complete. We finished the basic frame of the house. Next up is adding rafters, bracing on each side, and attaching the lattice. Then, we have enough screen to cover everything. I also bought that weed block stuff for the floor although there isn't much grass or weeds right in that area. I'm still thinking about shelving and how I want to set up the inside although I have a pretty good idea.

Melanie

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Lutz, FL(Zone 9b)

Back to the Home Depot today for some more 2x4s and some other things. Like these metal bracing things that Dad said would help.

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Lutz, FL(Zone 9b)

Dad putting up the rafters...more things to hang orchids from!

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Lutz, FL(Zone 9b)

Adding supports to the sides.

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Lutz, FL(Zone 9b)

The frame is finished!

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Lutz, FL(Zone 9b)

The lattice for the sides goes up.

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Lutz, FL(Zone 9b)

Dad cutting one lattice to fit the front - I need room for a door. Probably will be a screen door; I have to wait until I have more money, LOL!

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Lutz, FL(Zone 9b)

The frame is up and the lattice is on. Next step is putting on the screen.

Melanie

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Lutz, FL(Zone 9b)

Dad finished putting the screen on today. He used staples but then he reinforced it using roofing nails with those little tabs. Next up is figuring what kind of shelving I want.

Melanie

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Odessa, FL(Zone 9b)

Your greenhouse is really progressing rapidly. Way to go Dad! Are you going to put a floor in it?

Jim

Lutz, FL(Zone 9b)

Oh yeah, I bought that weed block stuff to put down. Luckily, not too much is growing there currently so it's not like I'll have to fight the weeds coming through.

Lutz, FL(Zone 9b)

Apparently, Dad put down the weed block while I was taking a nap. I'll have to get a picture tomorrow!

Melanie

Odessa, FL(Zone 9b)

Good for you. I think you will like it better with a floor.

Jim

Lutz, FL(Zone 9b)

Weed block is down and construction almost complete.

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Lutz, FL(Zone 9b)

And I moved the hanging orchids I have into the house. Dad said he can run some pipe or put hooks in the rafters so I can hang them higher but for now I wanted them out of the trees and away from the squirrels. Next steps are getting shelves put in and making a screen door.

Melanie

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Odessa, FL(Zone 9b)

You are moving right along, Melanie. It's looking good.

Jim

Santa Ana, CA(Zone 10b)

I agree! Is that lattice going to prevent the squirrels from messing with your orchids? The shade house will surely make watering alot easier.

Odessa, FL(Zone 9b)

Don't forget you have to come up with a name for your new greenhouse. Laurel has her green hut, Carol has the orchid shack and I have the OC. What shall it be?

Jim

Lutz, FL(Zone 9b)

If the squirrels are really determined they could still get in, but I figure they'll take the easier road. We only have thousands of acorns from all the oak trees in the yard; you think they could stick to those.

Melanie

Lutz, FL(Zone 9b)

Well...the first thing that comes to mind is the Shade Shack. My brother thinks it looks like the outdoor showers at camp; although, I would hope they'd have solid panels and not lattice!

Melanie

Brea, CA(Zone 10b)

I'm enjoying this. My shade screen and 2 x 2s needs refreshing soon and something like this Shade Shack may do the trick

Odessa, FL(Zone 9b)

Melanie and her dad came over this morning to check out the OC and hopefully get some ideas. I even threw in a tour of the garden. It was very nice to meet them.

Jim

Lutz, FL(Zone 9b)

Jim, it was nice to meet you too and see all your amazing plants. Thanks again for the agave!

Melanie

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