I've been thinking of the best way to raise my new Nepenthes collection that I'll be working on, and I think I just came up with a killer idea.
First, I need to a way to keep the humidity up, which generally suggests a relatively sealed environment.
Second, I need a way to provide light. My wife doesn't want me to hang ugly fluorescent tubes around the house so it has to to look nice or be unobtrusive.
Third, it needs adequate room.
Originally, I was looking at fishtank solutions. A lot of people do these and they work. I've got a 40 gallon breeder that's unoccupied, but I'd need to buy a top, lights, and probably some sort of stand. Also, that's not all that big.
I also considered a mini-greenhouse (the bookshelf kind). This would have to go outside though and I'd rather have my collection where I can view it and not deal with outdoor pests and things. Further, you can't view the plants easily without opening it up and letting all the humidity out.
Earlier tonight it hit me, I think I've already got the ideal habitat almost set up and just waiting for me to do something with it! There will be a little work to get it ready, but not much, and almost no expense.
It's already sealable with sliding glass doors on top so I can regulate the humidity and look down into it. It already has two 24" fluorescent light fixtures in it. It already has a built-in fan for circulation, and a cooler if I ever want it (although the cooler is kind of noisy). It's totally self-contained, easy to clean, and with a little sealer I can make it water tight. It's got room to store supplies on top, looks good, and forms a natural display case that people will be interested to look at. And most importantly, I told my wife about my idea and she's on board with it
What the heck could I possibly have lying around that fills all these criteria? Check it out:
My plans are to seal the one drain hole inside, trim the cardboard we've got it on to look nicer, and install my thermometer/hygrometer. I may set up a remote display above the unit later on. Inside I'm going to run some humidity tests and see what level it keeps using different methods. I'm not planning on ordering more plants until the weather warms up a little so I should have plenty of time to get everything squared away. I'm also planning a trip to Home Depot to get a couple extra bulbs and a timer to run it on (there's an outlet right next to it and nothing else plugs in there).
What do you think, sirs?