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no more winter sun for my nepenthes


lesthegringo
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Guys, just got back from a trip to find that the house next door have erected a tall fence on the borders of our two gardens which means that my greenhouse will be in permanent shade during the winter months. It still gets lots of daylight, but I estimate that between mid April and mid August, the sun will not shine on any part of the greenhouse.

 

The greenhouse is heated, but I am concerned that the lack of any direct sun may cause them to grow poorly. I don't want to have to go to the trouble of gro-lux lighting if I don't have to, so am interested to know anyone else's experience with plants growing in this condition. Short of keeping moving the plants to another part of the garden where the sun does still shine, I am at a loss as to what I should do.

 

Cheers

 

Les

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Are you able to move the greenhouse to another part of the garden?

 

Or maybe ask the neighbour if he will reduce the height of the fence next to the gh?

Edited by Ares
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The ground level of the neighbouring plot is also higher, so the fence is probably only six feet high, but sits on a ground level five foot higher.

 

As for moving the greenhouse, unfortunately I am limited as to where to put it due to a combination of factors, not least that as a rented house I cannot make any changes to the layout of the garden. Also, anywhere else and it would essentially stop the garden being usable for anything else, as it isn't very big.

 

So I suppose what I really need to know is whether the lack of direct sunlight will be a big negative factor, based on other people's experience

 

Cheers

 

Les

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It will more than likely stop them growing over winter, or at least slow them down a lot and you may not get many pitchers or any at all. That said, the ambient light levels over there may be a lot higher than we get over here in the winter so the effect may not be as bad.

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My wife has just suggested using some mirrors to bounce the sun in there, which may work

 

However another guy who keeps marine tropical fish has suggested the LED setup he uses for his invertebrate tanks, which are resistant to the humid conditions. Would they give the right type of light?

 

Les

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Youll get more opinions on LEDs than there are stars in the sky. I'm currently using 50w corn bulbs on a terrarium, daylight white and warm white, both seem to work ok, close to the plants.

Edited by manders
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Thanks Manders; the LED setup has the advantage of being 12V, which would be safer in the greenhouse with the high humidity and misting.

 

Ebay has a load of the Chinese made (aren't they all?) red blue ones which fix like external lighting and are sealed, has anyone any experience of those? The advantage, assuming they work, is that they would be really easy to set up in my greenhouse, and I could put multiple units in making sure I have light where it's needed. Still not going to be cheap, whichever way I go.

 

L5 Fluorescents would not be practicable in my small setup and HID would probably be too expensive and need higher voltages too

 

Any info on experience welcome!

 

Cheers

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Just dont expect miracles with low wattages. The output of some those strips is very low. I have two 50W bulbs over a 3ft fishtank and its just about doing a decent job for the plants (ampullarias).

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I think that the important point here is that I am supplementing the natural light, rather than having to replace it completely. The greenhouse still receives a lot of daylight, just zero direct sun.

Hopefully that reduces the need for powerful lights somewhat, and it is only during the period of time when sunshine is not available

i've decided that positive action is the only way forward. There are a load of the LED type lights on ebay, which are not too expensive, but of doubtful use. As no-one knows what spectrum they give off, I am going to buy one, and make a light spectrum analyzer to see what it actually gives out. The analyzer can be made from an HD webcam (got a couple of old ones), an old DVD-R (got stacks), some suitable black card and an old electronics box. An open source program exists that allows you to calibrate and use the analyzer to see the spectrum on a laptop.

by using this and some data on the web, we can compare the cheap lights to see how well the colours are tuned for growing and how much light they give out. Philips and other respected companies have info on their products that we can use as a starting point for comparison, although life and reliability will still be an unknown.

I'm a bit of a tinkerer and have made a load of little bits and bobs like this before, so I'm reasonably confident that I can do it, plus apart from the LED light I have everything I need already.

I'll start with the analyzer, and once I have that working will send for the light

cheers

Edited by lesthegringo
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