(Greenhouses & Shade Netting)
As I have mentioned before I live in an apartment, so I often find myself daydreaming about how much I would love to have a greenhouse and what I would like the layout to be. However, building one yourself or buying one will end up costing you a pretty penny either way. An alternative would be to erect a few poles and cover it with shade cloth, but would it have the same effect? Sadly it won't. These two structures don't differ much to the naked eye, but ecologically they vary quite a bit. The choice between the two mainly comes down to what you want to cultivate.
Greenhouses serve as a shield between your plants and the elements of nature and thus allow growing seasons to be extended as well as possibly improved. They also provide shelter from excessive cold or heat, light, dryness and pests. One of the main attractions greenhouses pose is the ability to heat up from incoming solar radiation, which warms the inside, faster than heat can escape the structure. Thus it can allow you to control the climate in such a way that you can imitate an orchid’s and many other tropical plants' natural environment.
This adventure, as amazing as it sounds, does not come without its challenges though, but if you have the time and some spare cash, the rewards can be breathtaking.
One (and this included me) might easily fool yourself in believing that putting up shade netting is as easy as "Hold my
beer dear" and poof it's done, but no it's not. As my knowledge of shade netting needed to be expanded to help point you
in the right direction, I came about a topic that would keep you entertained for hours. It was all about the colour of the
netting one should use; I never realised how complex this topic could become. White, black and green are clearly the 3 most
used, but green is still the underdog. Although many use it, most would rather not. The reasoning behind it has to do with
photomorphogenesis, or the way plants respond to certain wavelengths of light and green is supposedly not the best
colour to use. Long story short, it seems most people prefer 40%/50%/60% shade netting in black and most agree on white as
Another important aspect to keep in mind is that netting helps prevent your plants' exposure against extreme elements like
frost, wind and direct sunlight, but it is by no means a greenhouse. Most orchids from tropical climates would not do well in
areas with winter rainfall patterns or very cold temperatures as they have adapted from summer rainfall where excess water on
foliage would evaporate in no time. The other aspect to consider is that many of them are warm growers and prefer a temperature
range between 12.7ºC and 32.2ºC.
There are, however, many other orchids like Cymbidiums, Dendrobiums (keep winter rests in mind though), Epidendrum, Ansellia and some Paphiopedilum that would be grateful for a simple shade net.