Humidity Tray "grid" - there's got to be a better way

sparklemotion

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For ease of watering (and upping the local humidity) I'd like to put some of my tropicals on humidity trays.

I am not a fan of the tray+gravel+pot method, even though the gravel does look pretty. I'd prefer a nice, sciencey looking grid, like these Humidi-Grow trays that Bonsai Boy has.

The Humidi-grow products look good, but they are spendy, and I'd prefer to standardize on 10"x20" trays on my indoor lighting/grow setup. This is for ease of storage, setup, and availability of accessories.

So, I'm looking for a hard plastic "insert" that will fit in a standard 10x20 propagation tray. Enter the Grodan Gro-Smart Tray Insert. These seem perfect, but the price ($11+ each) does not. Since I'm not going to be filling the little cells with trademarked "plugs" or "blocks" I think that the price includes precision that I don't really need.

I feel like there has to be some application for a hard plastic (able to hold up a grow pot + substrate) grid or mesh that can fit in a 10x20 tray, and lift the pot about 1-2" from the bottom in some industry (even something non-plant based) that I can buy for a couple of bucks and re-purpose for my needs. I'm willing to combine smaller units, or cut down larger ones. But I'd like it to be cheap and not too much of a pain.

For now, I'm using upside down saucers in my 10x20 trays. Which works, but is less than ideal.
 

sparklemotion

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Jiffy trays, 10 x 20, can be modified easily, and dirt cheap
Thanks! I'm not sure that this gets me what I want though...the 10x20 trays I have are basically Jiffy trays (slightly spendier, but more durable). They are about 3" deep. I'd like to take advantage of that by having them hold 1-2" of run-off before I need to worry about draining them.

The system in your previous post (bottom to top: solid jiffy, plant flat, jiffy with holes) doesn't look like it would allow the bottoms of the pots to be up out of the water, basically undermining all the nice drainage that you get from fancy bonsai soil.

I'm liking the "light diffuser grid" option (google has also turned me to the "egg crate louver" terminology). I'm going to try picking up a sheet of that, and use some scrap PVC/plastic thingies* as risers to get the job done.

*I feel like a standard height duplo brick in each corner (and maybe in the center) would be just about right, this is probably the only time in my life that I will regret not having toddlers in the house -- less durable plastic to repurpose.
 

GrimLore

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I'm liking the "light diffuser grid" option (google has also turned me to the "egg crate louver" terminology). I'm going to try picking up a sheet of that, and use some scrap PVC/plastic thingies* as risers to get the job done.
That is most likely a lot more expensive then you think, also it is a bish to cut properly - just so you know before purchase...
The 10 x 20 free plant trays that come from the nursery I use to support the Jiffy trays could be used standalone - upside down, they are robust.

Grimmy
 

sparklemotion

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Do the flats, when upside down, fit inside the jiffy trays? From your pictures, it looks like they would kind of meet up at the lip:

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I'm looking for more like:

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If homedepot.com is to be believed, a 2'x4' (24"x48") egg crate panel should set me back $13. That should get me four 10x20" sheets, and some just under 8" square "waste" pieces. That's already a big win over four of the Grodan inserts which would be $44.

Cutting wise, I find it hard to believe that this stuff would be too hard to handle with a coping saw with a skip-a-tooth blade (if tin-snips won't fit in the squares easily enough).
 

Paradox

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I use trays I bought from grrenhouse megastore and I put the pots on 3-4 two inch bathroom tiles do they aren't sitting in the water. 3 tiles under a round pot, 4 under a square or oval.

You can buy the sheets of bathroom tiles pretty cheap and just cut them apart

When I go away for a few days, I take the pots off the tiles and let them sit in the water and they are fine
 
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I don't "cut" the light diffuser grid, I break a row with needle nose pliers. Slide the pliers, slide the pliers over, grab and twist. Drop piece in trash. It takes some time, but it's pretty easy.
 

sparklemotion

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Read up --------- humidity trays are believed to not work.
I've skimmed posts in both directions re: humidity trays/misting/tents. I won't pretend to be able to sort out who is more authoritative on the subject.

I do know that I'd like to be able to water until runoff without worrying about pouring the excess out every time. So I need a reservoir regardless.
 

Anthony

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Ever thought of a large plastic tray, with a slight tilt and a line to
take the extra water away?
Good Day
Anthony
 
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I'm seeking something similar for my indoor tropicals, but I would prefer a bit more lift. In the Northern hemisphere winter my tropicals have to come inside, and I have been putting them in an aquarium with LED lighting and a cpu fan to keep the air moving. I'll be going to Brazil for the holidays in December for 3 weeks, and was planning on lifting the plants up off the bottom of the aquarium by 10 cm or so so that I can fill the aquarium as a reservoir. I have rayon mop strands dangling out the drainage holes already.. the plan is to water the plants via capillary action during my absence.

I am thinking of taking a hack saw to a 24 quart milk crate. so that I can maximize the height/reservoir while leaving enough clearance not to scorch the tops of my trees. I was also thinking of adding a bubbler and debatably some snails or guppies to the reservoir, but not sure how the animals would agree with the dyna-grow.
 

GrimLore

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Does anyone ever consider a humidifier for growing indoors?
Even a small vaporizer from the drug store works well.
Our plant room has a MoistAir Tower Humidifier. 6 Gallon Output with a Digital Readout. Set and forget, fill every few days in the Winter when the heat is on. I still use inexpensive plastic serving trays from DG under most of the plants with a little crushed marble in them but that is just to catch any runoff. Also use a boot tray or two for the larger stuff, jiffy tray light setups for the cacti and such.
Trays here are just to catch water and we added the Humidifier after I started to monitor Humidity - the trays were of no help according to my gauges.

Grimmy
 

Bonsai Nut

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I'm with @Anthony on this one - I am of the opinion that humidity trays don't really work to create a localized zone of humid air around your bonsai - in the middle of a room of dry air. I think you either want to humidify a small enclosed area (like an aquarium, grow closet, or similar), or else humidify a room, or humidify your house.

Depending where you live, your entire house might benefit from a little extra humidity during the winter months.
 

GrimLore

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Depending where you live, your entire house might benefit from a little extra humidity during the winter months.
I put our humidifier in front of the cold air return in the plant room. With forced hot air heat in Winter the rest of the house stays at 50 percent which is considered healthy and keeps it static free. The plant room itself is higher and varies at different heights because I have the ceiling fan running in reverse 7/24 but each area and height is stable and vary enough I can determine what plants go where.

Grimmy
 

M. Frary

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I'm with @Anthony on this one - I am of the opinion that humidity trays don't really work to create a localized zone of humid air around your bonsai - in the middle of a room of dry air. I think you either want to humidify a small enclosed area (like an aquarium, grow closet, or similar), or else humidify a room, or humidify your house.

Depending where you live, your entire house might benefit from a little extra humidity during the winter months.
Up here the humidifier runs almost all winter.
 

petegreg

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Read up --------- humidity trays are believed to not work.
Reported by Ms.Iris Cohen on IBC some years ago.
Good Day
Anthony
If really not...they're good for escaped roots on the other hand or for little mame/shohin trees. Outdoors included.
 

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