Lime deposits and spikes

I put up a greenhouse in December 2012. It is great! My orchids generally like their new grow area and it gives me a proper, dedictated space to grow orchids. It also gives me the opportunity to adjust environmental conditions more than what I could do in the shade under the trees in the garden or in my window sills.

One drawback though, is that the greenhouse can get a bit too hot on sunny summer days. The way to compensate for this is to install a small misting system that provides humidity and at the same time reduce the temperatures. The misting system works very well for what it was intended to do, but…yes, there is a but. And it’s a Big BUT too.

I live in an area with high calsium content in the water. Then the water is sprayed out through the misting system for many hours per day, it tends to deposit on the plant and over time the leaves get white from the lime deposits. Obviously, the lime needs to be removed somehow.

I’ve been told lemon juice and vinegar will do the trick. Personally, I normally opt for milk. Today, I went for a combination of vinegar and milk. Not together, but on some plants I used vinegar and on others I used milk. I find that nothing really works very well, and that, at the end of the day, it is the texture of the cloth and how you’re able to scrub the leaves that really makes the difference.

While I was scrubbing away today, I realized that this is probably not a good longterm solution and that I need to look into filters for the greenhouse water. It is a time-consuming and tedious process and it tends to lead to some injuries. Very often I have torn a leaf of broken an aireal root while cleaning the plants. Today I was less meticulous than I normally am, but I also managed to avoid any accidents as far as I know.

While removing lime deposits I got a very good chance to have a proper look at each and every leaf and plant, and to my surprise I discovered that several of my NOID phals are spiking. It is way earlier than I expected. I was estimating that March/April would be spiking time, but apparently some of them are early this year. I assume it is because of the move from the house to the greenhouse and that they experience more temperature fluctuations outside than in the house. While the night temps can be around 18 nowadays the day temp is often up to 35-38 degrees Celsius.

The other thing

2 thoughts on “Lime deposits and spikes

  1. A reverse osmosis filter is pretty much the only realistic option for solving this problem. I’d suggest you set one up to fill up a very large drum in your greenhouse, controlled by a float valve. Depending on how much water you get through, a domestic unit that does about 50l/day should be enough. If you’d like a fairly serious unit, http://www.thewaterboy.co.za have a wide selection or can help you assemble the “perfect” unit for your purposes. Move to RO water for all your orchid needs- it makes a huge difference, particularly with more delicate plants.

    • Hi James

      Yes, I guess you’re right. I’ve been considering other types of de-scaling filters but most of the systems I’ve looked at uses salts to break up the lime and I haven’t done my homework yet, but I suppose that increases the sodium content in the water and that must surely be worse than a bit of lime. I do have some root issues related to water as well, and I know I will have to do something. I’m just counting my coins and postponing forking out the cash. Getting hold of stuff in Namibia is generally pretty expensive and I’m thinking rather a system to grow with than one that has capacity to just cover present need. I will check out the link! Thank you.

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