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Old 10-21-2005, 09:38 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Emmersed growth

As Matt had suggested, I'm starting this thread to gauge people's interested in discussing emersed growing. I for one would like to grow anubias and fern species emersed either in the room next to mine or out in the garage.

Here is some of the best information I have collected so far:
"You need very high ambient humidity, 100% would be great for aquatic plants. You can achieve it by keeping your container airtight, and doing an air change and misting some 5 times a day, which soon becomes boring. The problem is that this high an humidity is great for fungus, algae and bacteria.

A very easy way to obtain a high humidity environment that will not allow many bacteria and spores to live (no algae, no rot due to fungus, no bad smell), is to put your plants in whatever suitable container (glass tank, rubbermaid, large plastic bag, whatever) covered in clear plastic. Put a few cms of inert media on the bottom, to keep the plants in place, or place them in pots (crushed lava rock, vermiculite, perlite, plastic pellets, whatever is handy), and add your fertilized water.

Put an airpump outisde the box, an run the air line with an airstone to an open jar inside the box. In the jar put water with 10% drusgtore peroxide.

You can get up to 100% humidty in an hour. The peroxide will kill spores and bacteria, and purify the air you are pumping in, but will not harm plants. And the pressure from the air pump will push air out, preventing anything from the outside contaminating. I specially love to do this using large plastic bags. The airpump will inflate it, and you get this cool balloon greenhouses, that look amazing when growing japanese flame mushroom (flammulina) in them.

I have used this setup to grow mushrooms, ferns and mosses with good success, and am just starting with java fern.

With the java ferns, I am trying an even cheaper simpler method: Cut a 2 litre soda bottle in half. Put 5 cms of perlite on bottom, fill up tp 3 cms with fertilized water, plant fern, put back on the other half of the bottle. The perlite wicks the water up, making it available to the plant. And perlite has such great surface area that a lot of evaporation takes place, and humidity is 96% according to my DIY hygrometer. I plan on doing only a weekly water change. Will keep you informed.

If you fill with too much water, not much evaporation takes place, make sure to set water line well below perlite line."

Now here are some questions I'd like to talk about:
If these boxes go outside, what temperature range is acceptable for maximum growth?
What are the lighting issues that arise?
How can this be done with the least amount of energy and the most efficient usage of space?
What plants would you be interested in growing?

So far, my plan was to use a clear 18x12x9 rubbermaid container and lid to house the plants. A small (silent) airpump can be placed outside with a line running into a cleaned out peanut butter jar filled with the 10% H2O2 solution. The substrate would probably be Soilmaster if anybody has a couple pounds they'd be willing to spare. I haven't decided on lighting. This is a tough one because if I set this up in my room, I CANNOT have another major heat producer like CFs. I was thinking of fashioning some sort of high output LED array that could be built directly into the container lid, thus reducing my cost because the need for very clear lids/containers disappears.
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Old 10-21-2005, 09:46 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Sounds really cool, but I just haven't got the space for it. Even in the summer I only have a tiny balcony and no electricty running out there. My geekiness is really running high to want to see how it would all play out though...not to mention reap the benefits of your farm.

I like the antibiotic mist idea for my paludarium!
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Old 10-21-2005, 05:13 PM   #3 (permalink)
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It does sound like something I would be interested in doing this spring or summer. This past winter our gargae was below freezing quite a bit so garage growing is not an option for me.

As far as temperature range, our summers should be good. I left an emmersed setup on the deck where it just got too hot. I will be putting it in an area where it gets some shade this coming summer.

I prefer to let the sun do the lighting but you do have to worry about the heat. CF's would be expensive and probably more than needed, but that is just a WAG on my part.

For the least amount of space, a nice rack or shelving unit would work nicely and give you somewhere to hang the shoplights above the containers.

Plants, I would be interested in trying to flower some things I have to get ID's on them, assuming I still hve them come next spring L. aromatica has some nice looking flowers. Other than that, Anubias nana on driftwood, any Crypts and some moss on some rocks would be very interesting to grow.
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Old 10-21-2005, 06:21 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I got to thinking that some plastic bags of fern, etc. could fit in between my houseplants on the baker's rack that gets filtered southern light.

Preventing mold would just have to be by starting out with as clean/sterile an environment as possible to start then sealing in the humidity and leaving as much room to grow in the humid environment as possible. Very much like tissue culture or seed starting.

Count me in as interested.
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