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Question: Orchid experiments
Hello, 12 orchids now live in my house, of which 10 are phalaenopsis, 1 cymbidium and 1 dendrobium. The oldest will be 3 years old, the last one arrived as something like 6 months. They are fine, so much so that they have put new leaves, stems and flowers, although I have never fertilized them until today (I finished ten minutes ago, like). Some time ago, I repotted one that had grown out of proportion and was no longer in its jar.
To do this, living in the countryside, I used the pine bark of pinewoods under my house: I put the pieces of bark soaked with water and lemon juice (since they are acidophilic ...) and the result was excellent.
A little of this "homemade bark" advanced and then I had an idea: I drained it, put it in glass jars (like those of jam) and kept it all. Now that I need to repot one soon, I am undecided whether to use my bark or not.
I reopened one of the jars and as I imagined the pine fermented: it has a sulphurous but not rotten smell ... I have no idea of the chemical reactions that may have occurred and that may have involved the substances in the pine bark, so I rely on your judgment .
Excuse the strangeness of the question but I love doing these kinds of experiments.
Thanks in advance, Isa.
Answer: Orchid experiments
in the cultivation of epiphytic orchids, very incoherent compounds are used, consisting of various materials which, although retaining humidity quite well, tend not to compact and to leave the roots of well-ventilated plants; this is because in nature your orchids do not sink their roots in the ground, but rest them among the trunks of trees, or in the hollows between the rocks, where there is a little organic material, a few pebbles and nothing more. In an attempt to simulate these conditions of development, one of the preferred materials for orchid growers is the bark, cut into small pieces; typically they are not excessively resinous barks, and already by acid ph; it is not absolutely necessary therefore to wash the barks in lemon juice, also because this action does nothing but introduce into the substrate a substance that with great ease will mold, and therefore will attract fungi and bacteria that could also attack the roots of the plants. Especially now that the barks have been preserved and fermented, it is precisely the case to throw everything away, carefully avoiding using this rotting compound to your beautiful healthy plants. In any case, rather than using a compound consisting only of barks, try to mix pieces of polystyrene, or sphagnum moss, or even cosso fiber to the substrate. It is not easy to find a soil for orchids that is excellent in nurseries, usually they are made up of more than half of peat, which retains a lot of moisture, rather add some chopped bark (without lemon juice) to a ready-made compound. in order to make it softer and freer. As far as fertilization is concerned, even orchids need fertilizer, but remember that their roots do not tolerate the excesses of salts in the soil; for this reason, fertilizer is supplied on already moist soil, and specific fertilizers for orchids are chosen, which tend not to return to form crystals, once they have been dissolved in water, and therefore do not create deposits inside the substrate. The doses must be minimal, and are supplied every month, or even less often, avoiding the winter rest period.