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Thread: Want to grow Highland/UltraHi Nepenthes ?

  1. #25
    Not Growing Up! GrowinOld's Avatar
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    Further Grow-Shelf ideas

    Hello Again, all you who want to grow the "Highlanders"!

    To start however... Av8 and anyone else following this thread interested in the grow shelf ideas...

    Yes the glass would heat up. Adding an additional glass pane with air space between them (re: your oven door reference) is one way of dealing with it, however it further diminishes your light transmission and increases distance to the plants even more.

    If you have some distance between the bulbs and the first glass pane, (and be sure to clean the glass thoroughly...no fingerprints!), along with a decent CFM fan that blows/draws primarily directed across the space between the bulbs and glass, then it should keep the glass relatively cool and further solve the heating problem.

    Anything is an improvement. Right now people have their lamps sitting right in the chamber, with the bulbs and ballasts heating up the inside like a little oven. Figure how many lamps are inside your chamber, and you're really cooking!

    Isolating the lamps and the hot air around them with ductwork and a glass pane, and drawing the heat off with as large a fan as you can get, should reduce the heat produced quite dramatically. Even a small percentage is a definite improvement, when you add up all the lights involved in some people's setups. LED technology for plants is still relatively in its growth stage (no pun intended), so it is going to be over-priced for now. It does look promising tho!

    There is so much we can easily do to work with fluorescents, that for most people it is the "best bang for the buck" right now. That's why I offered some ideas on how people could solve the problems they are encountering. $25 worth of ductwork, caulk and a few small fans can possibly solve their problems adequately.

    I didn't mean to get too far off the subject or spend too much time refining my designs on the shelf systems. Especially since I am not working on one right now. But I don't mind sharing some of my ideas for helping people with these shelf systems, especially since the heat problems with lighting seems to be common.

    NOW... Back on the subject of my current Highland Chamber, I would like to start by referring to your last comment as it sums up how I feel....
    "But then if it was easy, everyone would have one"
    And I think it would be nice if growing all kinds of CP's was easy (even "Highland Nep's, for a novice), so everyone CAN have (grow) one! And that is my goal in designing these.

    Back when I got into CP's, we didn't have much available to us. Common VFT's, maybe if you searched you could find common pitcher plants (Purpurea & Flava), butterwort and a sundew or two. No way to find a Nepenthes nor much else! And few ways to find anyone else interested in such strange plants!

    Now-a-days we not only have access to new varieties of VFT's, Sarr's and Sundew, as well as innumerable varieties of Nepenthes and Heliamphora, we can actually buy a N.Villosa! Things may be costly, but at least you have the opportunity to buy them. Do you know what a miracle that is! IN my day the only way you were going to even see a Highland Nep. like N.Villosa was in National Geographic Magazine! (Vol.125/#5, May'64).

    Now for as great as it is to have the ability to buy such "rare" Nepenthes and other plants,
    I think it would be equally as great to give nearly anyone the ability to "easily" grow and care for those plants! That is a big part of my goal in this venture! (A part of the rest is staying alive and being able to eat!)

    Anyway, I have taken a quick picture of my rough Prototype I made. I just wanted to give people an idea of what I am able to do "cosmetically". Keep in mind it is a "rough" and don't know if it is nice enough now to put in your living room. It isn't finished yet, and is missing much of the wood trim still.



    I don't know what you all think of its looks, but my wife loves it. She thinks its nice to see tropical plants growing in their little chamber, and likes the wood trim as it is nice enough to display. I haven't finished on the cabinet yet, and yes it does set on a cabinet below that holds much of the "functioning" parts.I have blocked it out as it is really "rough" right now. I basically finished it up enough to get it functioning so I could get some plants into it and start testing it on "live" subjects.

    I will be changing things as far as its appearance goes, and still don't know if I will be going with wood or aluminum/metal. Still lots of research left to do. But no matter what I do, as JMurphy and others have mentioned, it's gotta' function to be worth anything.

    Well, if my N. Macrophylla is any indication, (See my other earlier "thread", Nepenthes help Needed! :
    http://www.terraforums.com/forums/sh...d.php?t=115010
    it seems the Terrarium is doing its job well! I've grown a few varieties of Nep's for around 20 years now. They have been hardier and easier for me to grow than VFT's, and yet the "highlanders" with more exacting needs has proven to be a learning experience that books could not provide. It seems there's always something new to encounter (Like gardening), and it's never too late to learn new things!

    Take care and good growing to you all.
    And thank you again for bothering to contribute. (I will probably be out of touch for a while, but should have some more pics and updates when I return.)

    Paul
    Experience is the best teacher. At least it used to be.
    But then, common sense isn't so common anymore, is it.


    http://www.terraforums.com/forums/sh...d.php?t=113866

  2. #26
    rattler's Avatar
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    that looks pretty good........think the wife would allow something that looks like that in the house.......if it works i would consider one.......
    cervid serial killer
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  3. #27
    happy-gnome's Avatar
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    Man, that looks a thousand times better than the setup I cobbled together which I'm using at the minute...I'd definitely look to get one if they were available.

  4. #28
    Two flies one pitcher. Minus the crap eating. obregon562's Avatar
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    id take as is! awsome! keep us updated!
    "It's easy to rip on cops, when you aren't the one needing saving"

    My Growlist

  5. #29
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    Wow, just saw this thread.

    I didn't read all the threads too carefully...But from what I did read, there have been a great many good ideas. I wanted to add my own to the mix.....hopefully they're also good ideas!

    1) I would not was a sealed bottom....I'd want there to be direct drainage into a bottom chamber. Also, I would like a sub-floor type thing, a little like an egg-crate arrangement to compliment the drainage. This would allow me to place media and plant directly in the chamber if I so chose, instead of being limmited to pots.

    2) For the heat thing, have you considered the compact flourescent bulbs (like the fluorex ones) rather than t-5's? They're rediculously bright (I use the 65 watt ones....and I recently saw that they come in 80 watt, too), and you can find 6500K and I beleive 4400k (I think I saw 5000K once....but not sure). Anyway, the fluourex brand ones are quite cheap....I daresay that a bulb/lamp combo for $40 (65 watt lamp/bulb combo at my local HD) is cheaper than a full t-5 unit. The only problem I run into with them is when the bulb goes out, often so does the ballast. Good part is they last a long time. So if you went this way, unless you could find a sturdier ballast than the flourex ones, you'd need to make the entire lighting housing easy to access for replacements. Also, they're considerably cooler than t-5's. I can rest my hand on the housing for a second or two. They're hot, but they don't burn.

    3) Since this is supposed to be a display case, I'd want the back wall mirrored, I think. I would give the illusion of a double-sized collection, plus reflect light for more efficient light usuage.

    3) For the font and sides, I'd like it to be designed to look like a real greenhouse, just miniature. Complete with all the victorian trimmings (or whatever other style you want to use). Perhaps even include a planting/potting area around the OUTSIDE of the perrimeter, so you could add non-chamber plants as a border (like many people do outside their real greenhouses). I suppose you could make this a "custom option," or some such thing.

    I would even go so far as to say that you cold make access into the chamber look like real GH double door....or even better, make it LOOK like a double door, but it is really a sliding door (that way you don't knock anything over).

    4) To address the easy of watering - I don't think you'd need top access for watering if you had an irrigation/misting system integrated into the chamber, so this should not be an issue. However, perhaps the top portion should be removeable for initial planting, or if owners want to do a real big re-arrangement.

    5) For cooling, many people said that the cooling needs to be adjusted to the ambient room temperature. I wonder if you could design a thermostat/humidistat that could on a timer and looks like a frog, giant bettle, or something else that wouldn't stick out like a sore thumb. It would solve the problem, I think.

    6) I would want to be able to hook the irrigation/misting system directly into the house plumbing....You could even go so far as to include a RO system with the grow system...or make that an option.

    7) I would want the option for total, partial or NO automation. For me, I would go with total because I'm lazy, but I would want the option for people who like to be more involved.

    That's all I can think of for now that I don't think I saw addressed (or at least not in such a manner)....
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  6. #30
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    I haven't made it through all of the responses yet, so I may be repeating. I am all for those that want easy, front access to the plants. I don't like moving the lights either.

    I have a design in my head for a large living room worthy enclosure, but don't have the whole cooling thing down so it may end up as a lowland tank instead. It'd be on a wooden cabinet with supply storage underneath and access through the front pane. The lights would hopefully be T5 and would hang in a hood that has some fans for cooling and would be matching the cabinet under the tank.

    The back of the tank would be a mirror-like surface and and track would run around the other three sides so that I can slide panels in that would be mirrors on the inside and wood on the outside. This way, when I'm not viewing the plants they'll have the increased light from the mirrors and the panels will keep the light from filling the room when not wanted.

    I'd like to build a seedling shelf in somehow to avoid balancing pots on whatever I can to get them close to the lights and a way to hang one or two baskets would be needed. It'd look better than the balancing act I've got going on now.

  7. #31
    aaddaam's Avatar
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    iam sorry everybody for brining up an old post but i think i found a way to cool them. if you hook an ice maker onto a timer so it would pour ice into the terrarium every hour. you would have to mess with it for a while but you would eventually get it. and to get the water back into the ice maker you could use a water pump. i dont know if this would work but i might try it.
    hope this helps
    adam

  8. #32
    Entwadumela's Avatar
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    Hiya Paul-

    I know this post is about a year old, but I was wondering if you had any updates on your prototype highland grow chamber?

    As you know, I've started a topic on "Wine Cooler for Ultra-highlanders" and just wanted to know if you've built a better mouse trap.

    Good Growing,
    E
    "My Greatest Fear Is, When I Die, The Missus Will Sell All My Stuff For What I Told Her I Got It For"

    I bought a cactus. A week later it died. And I got depressed, because I thought, Damn. I am less nurturing than a desert.

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