Stu

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Everything posted by Stu

  1. Stu

    how to propagate sarracenias

    Firstly, don't do any dividing at this time of year when in full growth... they'll suffer unnecessary stress and set back quite a bit! As Chris said, division is the easiest, fastest and best way of obtaining new plants quickly. Look at the rhizome for natural growth points and if you have two or more, you can split it. You really want to make sure each division has some roots on it. Some cut the rhizome with a sharp knife but I prefer to snap them with my hands, as it allows you to feel how readily the plant is willing to be divided. Then it's simply a case of potting each piece in fresh media (equal parts peat & perlite) with the top half of the rhizome just proud of the surface and water in well. Best advice I can give is check out some youtube tutorials ..and/or pick up some good books on the subject, such as Savage Garden by Peter D'Amato or Carnivorous plants by Nigel Hewitt-Cooper
  2. Presumably this consists of both membranes in a series chain and a single flow restrictor after? As pressure is needed across the membrane.
  3. Hmm, you really aren't having the best time with your RO unit are you! Off the top of my head I can't really think of an explanation other than as you say, DI already degrading but you'd expect it to last a fair amount of time. Perhaps it got exhausted prematurely when you were having problems with the membrane before?... i.e high TDS water passing through the resin, making it work harder?
  4. Not between, as it's on the waste line coming out the RO membrane (only the pure water line feeds from RO to DI). Can be put anywhere on the waste line from the RO but I installed mine quite close to the membrane housing itself, for two reasons... I presumed it may work a little better reducing the amount of pipework before the flush valve for flushing, and wanted to keep the restrictor fairly close to the membrane to make sure back pressure was sufficient.
  5. This is practically identical to my setup... You basically split the waste (red) output line into two paths... one with a ball valve and the other with the flow restrictor (may have to acquire a new one if your unit has the tiny type hidden in the outlet elbow). The pipes then rejoin and run to waste. When the valve is closed, water passes through the flow restrictor as normal and pressure is increased on the membrane allowing for normal operation. When the valve is opened, the water (under pressure) will rapidly follow the path of least resistance, which is now the unrestricted side and the fast flow will help flush particles off the membrane as it passes by. Do pay careful attention to the direction on the flow restrictor... they only work in one direction and must be installed that way. I'm not sure if it is beneficial to keep a bit of pressure in the system. I personally tend to shut the outlet pipes first then finally the input just to make sure it is definitely wet when shutting off and limiting the chance of air in the system.
  6. Is that the one you linked to previously? If so, make sure you take note of the warning; "should not be used for periods longer than 60 minutes at a time, a 120 minute cooldown period between uses must be allowed" If you run it extensively without following that advice it'll burn out quickly. A simple timer socket will allow you to set intervals if necessary.
  7. Zerbirus; you're welcome. Sounds like you're all sorted and as you have near optimal pressure around 60psi, I'm not surprised you're getting efficient ratios of clean:waste water. osmosis; yes that's correct. The flush kits have a flow restrictor in them so you need to remove the miniature one concealed in the outlet elbow. A pressure gauge is good for monitoring, yes. I have mine installed just after the pre-filters, before it enters the RO membrane. That way i can tell if the pre-filters are clogging. Don't forget to hook it up first at the very start of the system to get a baseline value for the mains pressure (i.e. what it should be).
  8. If you need help identifying the bits, post a pic and I and/or others will have a look.
  9. Hi all, I installed the last sections of staging (all home made) in the greenhouse over the weekend and all is looking much tidier now! Very pleased with the look...
  10. Thanks Rich. Yeah the one front right is deliberately lower (even though it spoils the very neat unified look) to accommodate my taller flava collection, otherwise they'd not only be squashing against the roof but it becomes hard to see and get to those furthest back! Also have a 60cm-ish area immediately front right (can't really see in the pics) that has no staging allowing for real monsters and/or huge multi-crown potfulls in future.
  11. Hi Phil, It happens to be one of my favourites... an S. oreophila 'De Kalb' x S. flava var. rubricorpora [MK-O5 x MK-F45] Grows tall, with a wide throat, big lid, great venation then suddenly turns completely maroon red (as it has done fairly recently).
  12. Stu

    Thinking About Picking Up a Ceph

    It looks like a flower stalk shape but looks browned off in that pic, as though it has been aborted. As Argo says, a closer pic would help. As for water, I'd fill it right up and not worry too much about it having to all disappear before topping up. That's a high enough pot and they like water much more than they like dryness.
  13. Yes a pressure gauge is a very handy addition. I added one on mine as it allows me to quickly check at a glance that the mains pressure is where it should be and will indicate if a leak ever occurs.
  14. Yes you can get a rebate if you can prove that none of your surface water drainage (i.e rain guttering enters the sewer). I don't think simply saying you use water butts would cut it though, even if you had one on every downpipe, as the way the diverters work is by letting a fraction of the rain into the butt so you're still having some go down. With this current heatwave and water shortages looming, with some districts already being asked to "kindly restrict use of non essential sprinklers and hoses", if I did try for a rebate, they'd probably come back telling me to stop using so much water... just for plants!
  15. The one Chris has and posted is very good value and comes with everything you need. I doubt you'll find ones much cheaper than that, and if you do I'd be dubious of their quality.
  16. Stu

    ASDA plant

    Nice looking purp and with tender care, it'll only get better. I've seen those pots in my Asda as well, nothing much to interest me yet but good to see CPs still turning up in mainstream shops.
  17. Actually yes that is correct! I just looked into it and sewerage is charged at % of water used (as read from the meter)... 92.5% for my Water supplier. You can apply for a rebate if you can prove you are not using that much, i.e. in my case of drawing a lot for RO but not using the sewer to return it. Might look into that and what evidence they would need. Otherwise, I may as well just run the waste down the drain. Deltango; definitely fix that leak as RO systems need to work under pressure and a pressure loss will affect your output production volume. Chimaera; any RO unit can be attached easily to a hosepipe via a standard 3/4" female bsp to 1/4" push fit quick connector, which are very often supplied with RO units (as is the case with the one Chris recommended.)
  18. Forgot to say; if not already obvious, those on a water meter want to avoid letting the waste output run down the drain. There will be a large amount of waste water (4x good output or more) and as sewerage rates are higher anyway, this is where costs can soar. Just run the pipe onto a garden and/or a soakaway instead, then you only pay the rate of drawn water from the mains.
  19. I'm guessing the people that report clogs and poor performance are those that do not follow advice such as what I posted about proper (wet) storage, periodic flushing and good practice. As an example, I stopped using mine late autumn last year, finally disconnected and stored indoors over winter, and re-commissioned into use around April/May this year. Therefore, it had been unused for about 5-6 months and I hadn't bothered flushing during that time (my bad!). When I first hooked it up, I tested the output and it was at 80ppm. Oh dear, I thought I may have to get new filters as it didnt change after flushes for a few minutes. However, as a last effort I left it flushing for about an hour and low and behold I was back down to under 10ppm. This is the importance of a flush kit and why I advise everyone installs one. Without it, I would probably never have resurrected the RO membrane and had to replace.
  20. Stu

    Psittacina advice, please

    Yes, this has always been a concern for me... I currently keep my psits in individual deep trays of water but thought about chucking them all into a very large water trough, but never decided on a way to easily keep them uniquely identifable.
  21. Stu

    Floppy Drosera

    Ah, yes that sounds like the culprit. Lilac is nice and the aromatic flowers are a bonus but it does grow fast!
  22. De-Ionised water is not guaranteed pure but probably is nine times out of ten providing a clean setup is used in manufacture. I have used De-Ionised water (2.5L Carplan make, sold in supermarkets) in the past for my indoor CP setups before i got my RO unit. It's important to understand it's probably fine but you cannot guarantee it's constituents without at least a TDS meter. (I have a TDS meter and if I remember correctly, I think it did read pure at 0ppm.) RO water can be purchased from aquatic stores or if you need very large quantites, ask around where local window cleaners get their supply from (as they use RO water heavily).
  23. Stu

    growing medium

    Try independent garden centres rather than chains. That being said, I think B&Q used to stock the small packet of sphagnum moss by Gardman, as it's used in hanging baskets for water retention. If you can't find any locally, there are a few guys that sell portions on ebay.
  24. The stages relate to the individual processes of filtration and although fairly straightforward, different manufacturers explain differently and try and upsell their kits by promoting more stages than they have or necessary, which just adds confusion! The first stage is a sediment filter, with fine material that will screen out particles above a certain threshold size (things like fine sand and grit). The second stage is activated carbon and will remove chlorine and other simple chemical traces and odours from the water. Stopping there would be a simple 2-stage filter, and whilst would improve drinking water slightly, it would not be any good for CPs. The third stage is a Reverse Osmosis (RO) membrane filter. This is the main process filter and will reduce the TDS down to levels suitable for CPs (usually under 10ppm, but can creep up with a dirty filter). The first 2 stages MUST be present in an RO unit otherwise the contaminants will quickly foul and block the membrane, thus you should never run an RO of less than 3-stage. The units are described as 25/50/75/100/150 (etc.) GPD... this refers to the membrane size and theoretically how many (U.S.) gallons of RO water it can produce per day (24 hours). The actual throughput will be lower than this based on length of piping, mains water pressure, condition of membrane etc., but it is a good ballpark figure to work out what size you need. You pay more and replacement filters are more for the higher rated systems, but they produce water faster. The addition of a DI (De-ionisation) resin stage, after the RO membrane is highly advised as it further cleans up the water and removes any last traces from the output, getting the water down to a pure 0ppm TDS. This will be called a fourth stage or sometimes 3-stage+DI. Incidentally I have a 75 GPD 3-stage+DI and am very happy with it... It's a lifesaver. When companies advertise a 5, 6 (or more!) stage system, they are referring to additional carbon or sediment filters, either before or after the RO membrane and will claim to improve even further but it's basically snake oil. Unless you are inputting very filthy water (i.e. that would never pass through water mains) then additional filters are unnecessary. Also, post DI stages are usually used in drinking water (under sink) units and actually usually re-introduce minerals to improve drinking taste, which would be counter productive to CP use. In terms of maintenance, there are a few things you should do if you want to keep it running efficiently and prolong the membrane life for as long as possible before replacement; They don't survive frost and freezing temperatures... if operating in greenhouse/outbuilding, make sure you either bring it inside during the winter or very thoroughly insulate the entire unit by some means. They don't survive frost and freezing temperatures... if operating in greenhouse/outbuilding, make sure you either bring it inside during the winter or very thoroughly insulate the entire unit by some means. The membrane benefits from a flush at regular intervals. This is easily done by installing a flush kit which bypasses the flow restrictor and pushes water quickly through, dumping almost all as waste but importantly carries away anything that may have previously been clogging the RO membrane. It's advisable to flush for a minute or so every month (or after so many gallons if you are using heavily). Also a long flush is needed if the unit hasn't been used for a length of time. The membrane (once first used) should never be allowed to dry out. This is most easily achieved by adding ball valves close to the unit on the input and output pipes, so you can easily shut off the unit, trapping water within when it is not in use. Filters (sediment/carbon) are recommended to be replaced every 6 months-1 year, but depends on how much water you produce and quality of input water from mains. If the filters fail to remove contaminants, the RO membrane will not last long. Look on ebay for a few trusted sellers on there. That's where I got mine from and the prices are good.
  25. Stu

    Floppy Drosera

    It's not uncommon for the binata species (inc. dichotoma) to be droopy and hang down. Some of my clones do it, whereas others remain held perfectly upright. See this example of a habitat photo, where it grows literally out of a cliff face and hangs down... http://www.biopix.com/zoom.aspx?photoid=101032 All my filiformis grow upright and only the outermost leaves can sometimes start to droop, but only slightly as they die back. Make sure they are getting enough full sunlight for many hours of the day. Some of the binata growth looks a little lime green and etiolated.