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comment by kleinbl00
kleinbl00  ·  419 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Creative types of Hubski, share something here.

That's a green wall.

We had our open house Saturday. $1500 worth of catering. Prolly 75 people showed up over the course of three hours. Resounding success. All we had left over was four bottles of champagne and some honeydew and grapes. I finally got to talk about it.

It started out as an idea and a demo. That's eight plants lit by LED off-road lights, deliberately in the darkest part of the apartment, to see what I could do with lighting and how the plants would respond. Proof-of-concept was a go so on we went.

It's like pixel art - figure each pixel is going to cost you between $20 and $30. How many pixels can you afford? How many pixels do you have room for? And what do you have to work with besides different shades of green? Green that may have extremely varied lighting and watering requirements, by the way. Pantone as agriculture. And you're buying enough pixels that you need to pre-order them so the nursery can get your starts going. We had to cancel three times because our city delayed our construction over and over and over again.

Eventually you go with what you can get, because they aren't going to grow anything for you anymore. If you're lucky, your construction coincides with their spring sale so that you can get them for $1.29 instead of $2.99 (or the $7.99 ea the retail nursery wants).

And then it's done, and the heat delta between the top row and the bottom row is enough that the top row will die before the bottom row dries out. So you stack carved up triangles of plastiboard so that the plants are sitting in less water. And you realize that the orchids are in bark, which retains water like a mutherfucker, while the baby tears are semi-aquatic so really, they'd be happy underwater yet here they are, baking under three 300W torchiere bulbs. And your watering regime better accommodate that.

But nobody notices this. Nobody knows this. Nobody cares how stoked you are that you went with the 4" pot system rather than the burlap-on-plywood system because you had to replace six baby tears before they got your HVAC worked out (measured 94 degrees in there on weekends). Nobody gives a rat's ass as to the spectrum of tungsten vs LED. They just say "oh my god, they're real?" as if you'd cover a wall in fake plants and you remind yourself they're paying you a compliment, not denigrating your commitment to a project.

Success is pruning your will-it-work indoor gardening project ahead of its public debut because the pothos are growing too well.

elizabeth  ·  419 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I love this! I don't know much about plants, I only ever see them in the context of bettering your instagram pictures lately (yes, seriously. many articles written about that)

Will you have to replace them often or could they theoretically last forever with proper care on that wall? Is there some kind of rotation for the flower plants?

kleinbl00  ·  419 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Theoretically, they could stay up there forever. There's a watering system that runs from under the sink, through the wall and to the top row and then water tickles down to the bottom into the crawl space. I've got a couple estonian watering sensors in there right now that chirp at us when the top row is dry; eventually I'd like to hook them up via Arduino to a solenoid under the sink so that it auto-waters when conditions are right. All that aside, because of the replaceable nature of the wall we can do obnoxious shit like

- a swath of lilies at easter

- a cluster of poinsettias at christmas

- red and pink cyclamen at valentine's

etc etc etc

The question is how crazy we feel like getting with it and so far, "make it work" has been the goal.

The orchids flower in winter, which is nice. On the downside, they won't flower unless they get the proper day/night cycle, which is one reason I replaced three of the MR16 LEDs with 300W halogens; it allows me to get the cumulative light into a space more closely approximating the actual day (rather than cheating the way I was by bombing it with 16 hours of light.

On the plus side, however, they were all grown by my father-in-law, who used to sell orchids on the side. So he cultivates them in his greenhouse and then pulls them out when he feels they aren't properly representing his craft. And, as an orchid grower frustrated by his inability to spend a lot of time growing orchids (he splits time between Seattle, where his greenhouse is, and Minneapolis, where his job is), he's gotten in the habit of grabbing phaleonopsis from the hardware store and replacing the jewel orchids with them. So even though the jewel orchids finished blooming about two weeks ago, we've got four Phals in bloom right now:

user-inactivated  ·  419 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Dude, that wall is beautiful.