The place where the dark background hurts my eyes after a while, but it's better for the battery consumption to keep it this way.
Vanilla. The most underated stuff in a kitchen. You know, food producers use it in everything, but we are a bit scared to do so. Which is weird, because it makes things taste a lot better. Adding a vanilla 'stick' to a jar of sugar causes me to actually use sugar in my coffee. The taste is just so much smoother.
I think smooth is the keyword for vanilla.
A few years ago I was inventarising (is that a word?!) my grow set up, my terrarium and basically my entire bedroom. I found that I had a little bit of room left over between the old books, dirty laundry and.. well, dried up tissues. Come on! I was 21 years old!
It was the middle of the winter and I love the cold. However, my room being in the attic, winter comes fast and winter comes hard. It's the only room in the house without heating, except for my body heat. I decided some shit needed to change. To start with the tissues, of course.
My pet snake got into winter sleep every night, because the temperature would actually drop to below zero C. And that was stressing the little animal out. I don't like it when that happens. I went to the local woodshop, ordered myself some pressed wood sheets, a sheet of glass, some mesh, some electrical wires and I started building a new terrarium. I love building things, and I love taking things apart even more. I wish more people of my generation did, because damn.. If they find out you can do anything well, they will ask you for every goddamn moving/painting/carpenting/electrical/hobby/building/whateverneedsahandyman-job there is. And of course they will be offended when you don't want to help out painting, carpenting and plumbing an entire monastary (true story!). I CAN'T HELP IT THAT I'M GOOD WITH A LOT OF PRACTICAL STUFF!
Anyhow, so, my pet snake needs heat. I could have just bought a heat-mat. But who am I kidding?! How awesome is a 2x36W T-neon set with 'daylight' blue spectrum? It's healthy too, because this spectrum keeps your brain awake and active. I have had a wake-up light for years, after a few months, I just stopped waking up from it, but nothing wakes me as nicely as a blast of lightbeams from my terrarium. I added a few 23W fluorescent bulbs as well, to balance the spectra.
Yeah, Yeah, I know, reptile enthusiasts will and should be angry with me now. Nobody in his right mind would use Neon or fluorescent bulbs due to their frequency. Reptiles are a bit slow, so they would see whatever you see when you try to take pics of a HPS lighted area; black bars. It all comes down to the frequency your camera can't handle. But I made my decision, that doesn't mean you should do it too. Be wiser than me, and use my advice!
So after a while the terrarium was finished. I made a little stealth grow cabinet beneath it, just for shits and giggles.
There I was, stuck with this beast of a terrarium and inside of it was just a little snake. The poor thing was barely 100cm in length.
At that time, I was investigating cash crops. Like any plant enthusiast does sometimes. Just to try and get an idea of what makes the most money the easiest way. If you like plants like I do, every crop seems easy. It's just the scale that's a problem. So I decided to start small, and just fiddle with these things until I got the hang of it. And then, when I would become a rich man and move to the America's I would have all the knowledge and skills to do whatever needed to be done to support myself and a family.
Ah, do you remember the dreams of when you were just 21? How many of them came true? That's right. Same here.
A quick google search for vanilla turned up nothing in my own country. Who was I kidding, trying to find exotic vanilla orchids in the Netherlands?! After some time searching to no avail, I decided to go international. Heck! Did you know the German garden centers sell Vanilla orchids as regular house plants?! Who the hell would want a vine type orchid, that doesn't even flower in at least 4 years?
I ordered it and a little while later a package arrived with my very own vanilla orchid. I ordered another type of vanilla orchid, to maybe cross breed or see whatever would happen if the two would pollinate (or at least grow next to) each other. The second one died as fast as it arrived.
The first orchid, is thriving in it's habitat. I'm getting to understand what type of roots form when, how and where. And the growth factors that make these things grow faster, taller and bigger are something I found out as well.
As every snake owner would know, those animals ravage everything. Maybe on purpose, maybe just because they like climbing. That 'why' doesn't really matter, because within a few months I had to take my first cuttings. The snake leaned on the vine for climbing support, causing it to snap. Now I have two orchids. Just a week ago, I obtained my third one. Thanks to my serpent friend.. It's like he/she knows when the shoots are becomming too tall.
Where am I going with this story? I don't really know man. I just want to avoid doing chemistry and math by typing for too long.
Well, I should be doing chemistry and math, I mean, come on! I replicated a study on endophytes (the bacteria that fix nitrogen from the air and provide it to plants in exchange for nutrients) and the work is almost done. Leaving me with a product that makes plants grow better, stronger and faster without addition of nitrogen to the soil. How awesome is that?! But sometimes, I just don't feel like it. That's me being a poor student; I fix stuff, I build stuff, I create stuff, I research stuff, but I don't have the money to do anything with it to get my investment back. But hey, I don't have debts either. That's the other side of the coin of course. Aaand I learn how to research with minimal amounts. Stay positive.
tl;dr: I built a terrarium and put an orchid inside.
For those who are interested, vanilla orchids care:
- pH: try to stay around 5.5-6.5
- Sunlight: BLAST THEM!
- Humidity: the closer to 80% the better. Much higher would cause rot, lower would cause them to stand still.
- Temperature: 25-34 degrees C. Try to stay around 30. I noticed a significant growth speed (5-10cm per week) around those temps.
- Hormones to use: Trade secrets. I got them to grow faster, shorter, longer, more branched, less branched. Oh boy is that awesome to watch.
- EC: I don't know or measure this stuff. They like a nice amount of nutes every few months. Don't overdo it, that's the only advice. Stay around 50% of the cannabis EC and you'll be fine.
- Tapwater: Nah, don't use that. The salts in tap water will dry out the roots. Use rainwater instead.
- Don't try to bend them, if you have to, do it in stages, because they will snap and break.
- Cuttings: just take the vines with roots. Put one root in water, the rest against your preferred media (wall, branch, whatever).
- Spraying: they love it. Rainwater, remember?
- Pests: none that I can find. Not even root eating nematodes/larvae.
- Sugar?! Yeah, sugar. The roots of every ( I hear you think: EVERY?!!?!!) yes, every orchid, are covered with fungi. These help the plant get to the nutrients locked in/on the substrate (how else would a plant growing on a tree trunk get its nutrients?). Give these fungi a little boost every now and then. Use a little honey, cane sugar, molasses or something like that in a foliar spray. Trust me. Or don't, it's your plant of course. And your sugar. Don't listen to people on the internet, they're not to be trusted.
- What else? I don't know. You ask me.
Oh, of course. Pictures. Yeah, I forgot those on purpose. I can be lazy like that. That's why I love plants; they don't care if I forget something and they will just try to get it themselves. So many women could learn from plants..
Ok, ok, a bridge too far. I'm on a roll now, so I don't care. Please find some humor in this, my girlfriend is laughing out loud.
Relationship lessons from plants, for people:
- Never let a man freely pollinate on you. You'll never know what will come out of it.
- If someone pays a lot of money for you, give something in return or at least sit still and be pretty.
- Get your stuff for yourself if somebody forgets to bring it for you.
- The sun is free, use it.
- If you smell bad, you will be dumped. Exception: when you want to attract meat flies, or when look ridiculously pretty.
- If your roots are rotting, you're using too much water.
- Grow when you have the chance, not just when your caretaker wants you to.
- If you get a lot of attention, it means people care.
- Unopened flowers are not to be touched.
- Don't ever touch anything with unwashed hands. Especially reproductive parts!
- If it goes dormant, toss it, or leave it be.
- If someone sits through your defoliation process and still takes care for you, be grateful. (ok, that one might sting. But I wrote it down anyways.)
- Too much nutrients are bad for everything.
- If you need chemicals to make it work or grow, you're doing something wrong.
- When it looks sad, spray it with a hose and talk with it.
- Taking cuttings of a loved one is never a good idea unless you're absolutely sure it will regrow.
- Make good use of hormones, the bad ones and the good ones.
- If you claim a piece of nature, make sure you can care for it properly.
- Never make babies you can't give room to grow.
- Getting to know the basics is THE way to become an expert. Try a little bit. Experiment!
- Don't just stick it where the sun don't shine. Unless you both know what you're doing.
- If you want to involve someone else, make sure you're not doing illegal stuff.
- If the temperature is too low, make it warmer.
- Keep them in your heart and mind, and you will stay in theirs.
If you want to copy this and use it somewhere else, make sure you mention this page and/or my nickname. I did all the work making these things up, it's the least you could do.
Hey, thanks for reading! I hope you guys enjoyed it.
See you next time, hopefully with pics.