I spent the day putting grid on two shelves of my stands. It was a big job, but I am very happy with it. I was able to fit many more plants per shelf and I'm sure caring for them will be much easier. The wicks pass through the grid into the large wells (trays) I tried to find the thread about grids but couldn't. Everything is as clean as a whistle. And my dishwasher is filled with glad storage containers.
I also bought some fish emulsion to give the leaves a little pep. The bottle says to use it about once a month. Keyring, is it you that uses it? How often do you add it to your water and how much do you add? I also tried to find that sticky but couldn't. Two for two. That's sad. I must be getting old or tired.
I would have posted pictures with the thread but the lights have turned off on the stands. I will post pictures tomorrow, Monday at the latest. I was really surprised how many plants can fit on the shelf that is not divided by trays. It also looks clean and neat. It wasn't hard to do, just time consuming. Had to move everything, wash the trays, clean up the wicks, and arrange plants so they didn't touch.
One shelf took a little more time because I had to cut the grid lengthwise. I think you will like the difference. Keeping the wells filled will be so much easier.
I use the grid laying across my bathtub when I neem my plants inside. Then I lay the AV's on their side to drip dry so they drops of moisture don't sit in the crown.
It is a pain to cut, isn't it?! I also use it as a buffer between my heating mats and my perlite trays - just in case! i've cooked plants before (my very first AV leaf to sprout ears, may it rest in peace!)
by the way, if you decide you like foliar fertilizing (ie, spraying fertilizer onto the leaves), then consider adding a spreader (like coco wet or some other sticker/spreader - usually in the hydroponics section). It makes a big difference.
Where did you find shelf-sized wells (trays)? I've been thinking about switching over to grids with wicks or capillary matting on a couple of shelves, but I hadn't thought about trying to find a tray big enough to fill the whole shelf (I was thinking of putting grids into my standard 1020 flats).
I have to mess with some grid for my aquarium soon anyway... need to switch from glass top to grid for (hopefully) less heat in summer... I'm thinking the easy to cut it will be with my Dremel rotary tool. ?
The most recent fish emulsion I bought is Fertilome- the best thing I can say about the smell is that it's gone w/ the next watering. I use it on outside plants, I don't think I could not deal w/ the smell inside- and I believe that my entire family would move out...hey I will have to keep that in mind when I need a weekend alone- LOL!
Let's start with the grid. I bought it at HD and it is almost the length of the shelves. Perfect width for my 4 light shelve. The cutting is a pain for the smaller shelf. The trays came with the shelf. They sit on the frame and the grid sits on top.
The fish emulsion I bought is Alaska Fish Fertilizer by OMRI 5-1-1 All purpose deodorized. The smell is there where you open the bottle and full strength. Called for1 tsp per quart per foot of plant height. I put about 1/2 tsp in a gallon of water with fertilizer and thrive. The bottle didn't say anything about being foliar. The smell was pretty much gone by this morning or my nose is old and not working any more.
I thought it would be good for the corn as well. Bill loves to grow corn. We have a 15 by 15 area in the back especially for corn.
I have to run. Got a very busy day. I will post pictures this evening or Monday and do a better job answering question.
That looks fabulous! I've been wondering what I'd do when we go on vacation. My mom comes by to check on things for us, but she's not a plant person, so I'd feel better if I had my plants on a self-care regime by then, but this would be easy for Mom to fill the trays for me, anyway. Thanks for such a great idea! Love the pictures of the plants! You sure do grow 'em pretty!
OK, Here's the skinny. My nose is broken. Bill says the room smells "dank". Oh, dear!
The HD cost was $10.00 per 2' X 4' sheet. Very light weight. It's in the lighting department. It's actually ceiling grid for light fixtures.
I also bought a humidity dome at out local nursury for $5.00. I'm using it for newly set leaves. During the winter we have no humidity in the house because of the heating and I really want these leaves to have a good start.
Gee Whiz Nanna your plants are beautiful! I love the set up. I think I'm going to try it for my next plant shelf. Already have the shelf which is storing junk right now. Stuff I'll never miss.
Thanks for the photos!!!!
(Key, I used good ol sissors and it worked fine but it's tedious and little bits of plastic flew all over. The dremel sounds like a good idea. They seem to snap pretty easy with sissors thoug.)
For some reason, I had this silly idea that the grid had to fit down *inside* each tray so that only a large tray would work -- doh! Thanks for the "worth a thousand words" photo... my trays aren't quite as sturdy as yours, so I may get some permanest trays before I try putting grid across them.
Your plants look fabulous! And I did spot Gypsy right off the bat! Mine is getting more buds... we'll see what kind of bloom I get this time. Oh, and the leaf that I put down? I just potted up some babies from it... 3 have foliage the same color as the mother plant, and 1 has foliage that's a much lighter green (not yellowing, just a medium rather than a dark green color). Should be interesting to see what happens with them!
Allison, the pink bloom with variegation is Ma's Debutante. I love that plant. It grows itself. Don't do anything but love it and water/feed it. I'm not sure how often I will need to clean up, change water, etc. Some of the little wells would go two weeks others only two days before algae began building up. I am hoping that a good cleaning once each month will do it. Now, hoped for and actuality are 87 different things.
So far I am pretty happy with the set up. Glad that it sparked some discussion and gave idea to many of you.
Edited to add, no I meant Permanest, or Perma-Nest trays. I've been using those flimsy black trays too, but think it may be time to invest in some of the ones that will last for years... When the black ones get a little hole, they're actually still very useful for putting under groups of pots or wintersown containers on my deck, as I can fill the tray with water and it will slowly drain out (eg, the pots all soak up as much as they want but aren't still sitting in water hours later). However, I now have a good sized stack of ones marked "DRIPS!"
That's OK. I got them at a local nursery called Behnkis. That's not how you spell it. But it is pretty close. They have wonderful plants and just added a tropical plant center. Tons of beautiful tropical flowers. That's where I got the strep and the plants for my terrarium. I also buy avs there. I will try to find the name of the stand and post it tomorrow.
The little one is exactly like that with only one shelf and half as wide. The larger one is very similar. With two shelves but the lights are a little different. The light have two sets of two tubes per shelf and each set of two lights adjusts seperately from the other set. So I could have a high light in the back and a low light in the front of each shelf.
I'm here and I think this is a great product. So what exactly do you do? Put the green trays down, then the grid, and then the plants on top. I guess you use wicks to get the water up to the plants? I wonder how long plants could go with this type of system?
Hey there Jesse! That is exactly what I did. I set it up Saturday. I only put less than a quart of water in each tray. I looked this morning and it looks like some of the trays are just about empty, especially those with the heavy bloomers.
The trays will hold much more water so I'm guessing about 10days if I put two quarts of water in a tray. I think the stand is sturdy enough to support the plants and that much water. Also, the added humidity is helping. Gosh they look pretty!
I would be happy if the water lasted a week. Most of the little wells I used needed refilling every 3 to 5 days and had to be done individually. This is so much easier. So far I see no algae building up and that was a big problem with the little individual wells.
The other thing I really think is helping is either using Spring Water O R drawing the water from the tap and allowing it to sit for 24 to 48 hours before using it. Spring Water would cost about 10 dollars a month. Tap water needs remembering to do it.
The fish emulsion was slightly smelly but the plants do look better, especially the leaves. I think I will use it once each month in one of the waterings.
No I stopped the lysol and the murphy's soap. I found that it (they) clogged the wick. I wash everything with lysol once a month. I think I was bug crazy there for awhile. I did see three thrips but the insecticidle soap and systemic seemed to kill everything. It has taken 6 weeks but the plants are now in bloom again with no signs of bugs.
I think the tight centers were caused from chlorine in the water. I have started with spring water and things are looking much better.
Sorry for the long answer. Lysol is great for mildew, but I don't have that problem.
I;ve been lucky and not had Mildew but do get some Algea in the winter mostly in the cups with leaves down for progating. So for past couple years I've used Lysol. Hek the bottole says it kills virus, fungus, algea mold mildew and more :)) And AV's can get some of these.
And Murphy Oil soap for preventive . But I always wicked but never had a problem but everone's different.I also like to use dish soap blue dawn. These products for me can help with prevenative and kill soft body insects so I won't have to use the hard stuff .
What is excellent to use in waterwell for people that wick , any standing water for your plants is Physan 20 !
It will control any fungus (damp-off) virus, bacteria, mildew and algae in your greenhouse. Disinfect your cutting tools to prevent transfer of disease, and sanitize your pots and flats with it !Protect cuttings and bulbs by soaking briefly in Physan 20.
It's good for other plant too !
Control mildew, rust, black spot, and gall on roses and extend cut flower life. Also use to control algae and fungus in evaporative coolers. Physan 20 is a concentrate that mixes easily with water, and does not leave residue marks on foliage
I read a lot it's been around for years pick up a book about Av's today or twenty years ago it's great for putting in your wicking wells !
This is good for me does not mean it will be for someone else !
I add it to the water the plants drink. I wash everything with bleach. All trays and buckets new pots everything is soaked hot water in tub heavy bleach. I'm sure too much as Hubby would say. lol I sense then started adding a capful of tide in with the bleach in the tub for soaking any tools, new pots get sokaend, trays, plastic boxes and pot holders... and they seem to work real well together so use them both the last two times !
nanna, if you are buying spring water for the plants, you might as well buy distilled water. It's better because spring water usually has more dissolved solids and a higher salt content (tastes better). Distilled is a bit closer to rain.
Yes Rainwater would be good if you could collect enough ! Last summer we have central A/C but it got so hot we also added a room air and I used the water from this. They say this water is most pure. But Life is not this easy to get Rainwater and A/C water when ever you need.
So Keyring mentioned Distilled is a bit closer to rain .
Nanna I have also read several places bottle water can be depelted of needed minerals ? Wonder if Rob's says anything ?
Rob advises against rain water. He says it can be acid and through off the ph. It can also depend on how you collect the rain water. Fall off from the roof can be contaminated by what ever chemicals are on the roof. I don't think I would use rain water.
Well when an if I ever had rain water was maybe 2 times couple years ago it was collected straight into a bucket !
Using this would be best to check the ph of your water, soil an water and soil together ! If proper PH the water
will be safe to use ! Also fertilizer can change the ph too. Good idea to check water after what ever your adding to it. And checking soil ph after watering.
I read in my Av book water from the Air conditioner is most pure you can use. And I did use some last summer.
I just got my 2 x 4 grid, now what do I do? How did you mount yours? I have the chrome shelves that lots of people have been buying from Sam's. They are 4 ft long and 18" deep. I guess I can cut the grid in half but I don't know what to do to hold the grid in place. Help.
Jan I use tap water and use it right away. I like warm to hot water have for years and my plants are happy so no reason to change ! Sometimes in the summer I have used water from the A/C . It comes out in the Screen room so it's warm.
I cut the grid to the size of the shelves. My large shelf is 2' X 4' so I didn't have to cut. The smaller shelf is half the size lengthwise so I cut it with kitchen sheers. It takes a little effort and with my arthritis I did it in three sessions resting inbetween.
My grid just rests on the trays that fit into the frame. I didn't have to secure it in any way. If you could post a picture I might be able to suggest something for you if your set up is different from mine. Bill would be happy to look at the picture and make suggestions, also.
It you look at post Mar 19 at 8:09am you can see the grid simply rests on the trays.
I bought some of the grid and cut it in half the long way. That is because I have the black flimsy trays. Where can I buy some better trays? I really love the idea. Thanks so much for sharing this idea. I'm going to buy some more grid tomorrow.
Nanna does your water get cold sitting in the wells ? I notcie even here mine does. The past few nights have been in the 40's and we have heat on 86 but plant room gets about 65 with lights on, and windowsills may be colder . Luckly it's only 3 or 4 days of it. But I know any water left out gets really cold for me.
The water stays the temperature of the room. Our heat is set at 65. I have always watered with room temperature water. I'm sure that under the lights the water becomes warmer during the day. If the temperature gets above 75 I turn a fan on for extra air circulation. That keeps things from getting too hot. The room the violets are in has a large window that faces east. So lots of warm morning sun floods the room. I am thinking of changing the timer on the light stand. This will be the first spring and summer that I have had the violets under the lights. It will be an experiment to see how long to keep them on during the spring and summer months. They did well from September to March with 13 hours. But I think that the extended daylight of spring and summer may require some adjustments. I will begin with 10 I think because the light is quite bright in the room from the sun.
I keep gallon jugs of water in the same room. I keep the water away from the windows; under the table that the small light stand is on.
I know that I use cooler water than you, but from what I've read room temperature water is OK.
Yes they say room temperture or warmer. And who's room temperture. I was just wondering as I started taking the tempertures of the water in well's and it was getting colder than I thought it was. I fount my plants dry on top but from bottom up to center wet and cold.
So I had to stop watering this method. So was wondering how people up north made out.
I just found this thread now and think it's the neatest thing ever! I only have 4 AVs right now so I'll be trying this on a much smaller scale. I don't see why this wouldn't work for many differen't kinds of plants, as long as they are all healthy. What a great idea. Thanks for all the info and pics!
Nanna, when you have time and if you don't mind, could you please tell me the name of the AV in your second pic on March 19 at 9:12...it's the white one with pink thumbprints pretty much in the center of the pic. I just think that's an adorable AV and would like to see if I could find one. Thanks so much!