Saturday, December 17, 2011

The start of an orchid hobby

     I've wanted to grow orchids for a few years now, and have managed to keep alive a plant or two for a couple years.  Six months ago I moved to NYC for grad school, and now I finally have a semi-permanent place of my own where I can finally indulge in trying to grow and flower different kinds of orchids. 

     I started out with 2 plants which survived the move with me, but quickly acquired 8 more.  At this point, at the risk of filling up my tiny studio apartment, I am trying to limit future acquisitions to special occasions, and instead focus on getting my plants the healthiest they can be.  Since this is my very first plunge into the orchid hobby, I'll be trying to track all the small changes in my plants so I can learn better to take care of them.

The orchids last summer one month after the move: lovely view from my window of a brick wall

The orchid setup now

     My current orchid growing setup involves a couple daylight lamps on a 24 hour timer, a metal shelf, and a humidifier.  The New York winter is dark, and the apartment's windows face out into a brick wall; hopefully the lighting setup provides a better light source than my windows would.  The upper lamp provides 1300 lumens, while the lower lamp is supposed to produce closer to 7000 foot candles of light.  I don't have the tools to measure light intensity, but they're quite bright. The full cost of the setup was a little over $250, courtesy of Amazon.  

     One unexpected benefit of growing orchids under timed lights is that when the lamps turn on at 8 am, the light dual-functions as a natural wakeup alarm, and really helps fight off morning grogginess of a dark east coast winter.

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