Thursday, July 9, 2009

Update in our hot summer

Hello all,

So July is here and temperatures in the greenhouse are soaring, to 110 degrees recently, probably 115 or higher with the humidity. And this isn't the end. However, Dr. Pattison has generously donated light-meter measurements that a student of hers will be making twice weekly by stepping into the greenhouse and measuring the light intensity (lux). This will help to create a record, over time, of how much light comes into the greenhouse, and, more importantly, how much shade we need.

Speaking of shade, I'm looking into buying a large roll of aluminet, probably 50% light blocking. Aluminet has the advantage of diffusing light and retaining it much less than simple black shade cloth. This property, however, makes it at least 1/3 more expensive than the usual cloth. Nevertheless, aluminet it will stay.

Recently, I visited AAA Texas Hydroponics & Organics(Street view here). It's a great store, and Chris, the manager, know tons about greenhouses. He recommended moving the entire volume of air in the greenhouse once a minute, shuttling it in and out. Without the movement, the heat and humidity are too much for most plants, just as we are experiencing right now in our own greenhouse. His fan costs $400, but he told me to get a large exhaust-type fan, from (great site). He also identified a fungus afflicting our eggplants just by looking at a leaf, and sold me exactly what would solve the problem, namely, SP-90 wetting agent at 5ml/gallon. Overall, definitely a place to go to if you need urgent troubleshooting or for any greenhouse and hydroponics needs.

That's all for now, so be well. Remember, if you are in the greenhouse, spray the thermometer of the large MODINE heater/cooler with cold tap water for a bit so that it turns on. In addition, drink lots of water (I don't want to be liable for your heat stroke). There are bottles of water under the heater.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Summer Work in the greenhouse

Well, it's been a while since I last posted, probably because of the low activity in the group. Changes are afoot for next year, including a membership fee change and an organization name change. In addition, we will be at several freshman orientations this summer, hopefully, to introduce people to the group. (As an aside, this group is unique because it's probaby the only one on campus that is most active during summer, and winds down in the fall.) Anyone who is interested in joining during the summer semester (if that's possible), can send us a message on Facebook or by email.

On the growing note, it's an exciting time. As the temperatures continue to rise, it's becoming too warm for tomatoes, so warm weather plants will be potted, like eggplants and zinnias. We are always on the lookout for tropicals that can be acquired for the greenhouse. The Venus flytrap is doing well and is even flowering. Look for red zinnias come July, as well as other drought- and heat-tolerant plants. I recently purchased a great fan for the greenhouse, which sounds like an airplane propellar and has rubber "feet" to keep it from moving backwards. It REALLY cools down the greenhouse, so much that within a week some tomato plants set more fruit, even as it got hotter. I'm thinking of adding another fan and rigging up some type of makeshift evaporative system.

In addition, I'd like part of membership in the group to be about learning. Part of what happens in the greenhouse (maybe even most of it) involves experimentation, as most members have never had experience in a greenhouse environment. In order to be successful and have fun, it is necessary to learn as much as possible about greenhouse growing. To this end, I recommend some of the books in our library, whose ISBN numbers and names I will post below. They are located in the basement of the Anderson library. To get them, ask the librarians below for them, as they are in a no-access section (with the awesome moving shelves). While this is not required, I strongly recommend everyone to read some books, since the benefits are self-evident.

I look forward to seeing some more people in the group in Fall 2009 and this summer. If you have any suggestions, email them to me.


ISBN - 0813431700 - Introduction to Horticulture
ISBN - 0809425629 - Greenhouse Gardening

Greenhouse - Place of Magic - Potter

These are just some possible books - there's a shelf more.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Upcoming Meeting

There is a meeting, in the greenhouse, this Friday, April 17th, at 3:00 PM. There will be light refreshments.

That's Room 102 in the science building.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Welcome to our new blog!

Welcome to the blog of the Environmental Horticulture Society at the University of Houston (or just Horticulture Society for short). Pictures, news, and information will be posted here, and probably on our Facebook page, too.