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Thread: Idea for a highland grow rack

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    JMurphy97's Avatar
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    Idea for a highland grow rack

    I've seen those orchiariums and all what it looks like is a sealed up box with shelves lined with myler. A glass window in front to view and enclose it. But how hard would it be to make one yourself?

    Get some wood. Seal it so water won't damage it over time. Line it with myler. Cut out a hole in back so you can stick a a/c unit for the summer. In winter just open the window. Maybe have it 48in long, 24in deep, and however high you want it. Screw the lights in. A drip pan at the bottom. Up top have hooks for hanging baskets when they get lager. A fan or two for cirulation and to cool it down. Maybe some vent holes along the sides. A glass door that opens for easy access. A humidifier. A misting system would be too much I think. What would that cost? Not $2500.00. It would not even cost too much. Why use a shelf from Home Depot when this would be way better?

    http://www.orchidarium.com/htm/grandcayman.htm

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    Tony Paroubek's Avatar
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    Well looking at the link.. I think you could make something for a lot less sure. Although the lighting system they employ isn't real cheap and acrylic is pretty pricey also.

    The real challenge is of course moisture protection, and proper lighting. Lighting deep structures is difficult to provide enough light to the lower section. Particularly if all the lights are placed up top. Powerful enough lights becomes an issue and shading from plants higher up in the chamber.

    So while it may seem simple at first there are a variety of issues to consider. Especially if you are also looking to alter the temperature range over your ambient room.

    On a side note I repeatedly see people say things like add a fan to cool things down. Fans do not cool things. Unless you are talking about removing warm air and bringing in fresh air. But they will not reduce temperature below the ambient temperature.

    Cooling would require some sort of refrigeration unit or AC. And once you do that you probably also need to add some sort of humidifying system since refrigeration/ac coils remove moisture from the air it cools. Heating would be less complicated and probably wouldn't require more than a waterproof heat mat in the bottom. You of course would need thermostats for heating/cooling and a humidistat for the humidity system. All in all it CAN be quite complicated if you are looking to make something other than a lighted grow chamber with not many frills.

    Tony
    Is that a Nepenthes in your pocket or you just happy to see me?

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    JMurphy97's Avatar
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    Well for lights if you put some shelves up then you move the plants closer to the light you don't have to worry about it reaching the bottom. Aslo what if instead of wood you use glass or plexiglass? Then you would'nt have to worry about the moisture. Would it really be a problem using a a/c and humidifier at the same time? Would'nt a normal humidifier work or would you have to get a high tech humidifying system?

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    Tony Paroubek's Avatar
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    I think wood treated properly would be fine. Probably need to coat it with some sort of epoxy paint? What would be the point of making it tall and then putting shelves up high so you couldn't use the lower portion because of insufficient light?

    The reason you need the humidifier if you pump AC air in is simply because the AC air is very dry and without a humidier also pumping moisture into the grow chamber you will quickly displace the moist air with the cool dry air. Swords used to have a window AC unit ducted to his grow chamber. He also had the output of a ultrasonic humidifier blowing mist into the duct before it entered the terrarium to put moisture into the cool AC air. There is no problem for the AC unit because you are not pulling very moist air through the AC coils.
    Is that a Nepenthes in your pocket or you just happy to see me?

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    D_muscipula's Avatar
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    YES A/C units dehumidify and could make your plants unhappy.
    view my growlist
    http://grwlist.notlong.com

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    JMurphy97's Avatar
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    It would be tall for when the plants get big enough that they would need to be hanging. I also planed on having a humidifier or two in there running at night. I guess if the a/c is outside of the unit then it would'nt kill the humidity inside.

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    Tony Paroubek's Avatar
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    Hanging plants sounds great but keep in mind that the plants are going to be dangling down from the baskets so you will still need sufficient light down towards the lower portion. One potential solution is to have some vertical lights in the unit as well as lights on the top. I am not sure what you mean by having the a/c outside of the grow chamber.
    Is that a Nepenthes in your pocket or you just happy to see me?

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    Admin- I'm growing CPs in the Desert of Tucson, Az. adnedarn's Avatar
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    If the AC is outside the grow chamber and blowing inside, then it will be taking room air and cooling it and blowing that into the chamber... Causing positive pressure inside the chamber and blowing the cool humid air out. So I would say not only are you still loosing humidity by the change of air, but the ac will need to run longer to keep it cool since it isn't cooling already cooled air (in the chamber) and instead basically cooling the whole room... And if it isn't a "portable" ac where the exhaust air will blow out a window via a hose, then the room will be pretty warm (remember AC separates hot and cool air.. so the hot air has to go somewhere... It doesn't "make" cool air). So it will probably run A LOT to maintain cool. I'd say it would need to suck air from the chamber, cool it, and blow it back in. And have humidifier countering the drying effect on the air (perhaps ultrasonic that blows right in the path of the AC air so it moistens it right away before it can hit a plant and dry it out). Count on emptying the water from the AC a bunch also!

    (I only kinda skimmed so I hope this view isn't already outlined somewhere )
    Andrew
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