Guest Author - Susan Taylor
Kill those slugs
Spray slugs with straight rubbing alcohol and it will kill them. The only problem is finding the slugs to spray! Another remedy is to put a cut apple out overnight where the slugs can find it. They generally can be found on the underside in the morning. Then apple and slug can be disposed of. Slugs can be a major problem in a collection, so if you see any signs of them don't ignore it. Treat them immediately.
Monitor plants by checking them out on a regular basis
Talking to your plants has been a joke and a piece of conventional wisdom for years. But as much folklore, it has a great deal of common sense attached to it. When you pay attention to the plant, by talking to it, you are much more apt to notice any change or invasion of pests. Thus it is a good tip to monitor your plants on a regular basis. Check out a couple plants a day, or a certain area of your collection regularly. You will be able to see any problems much earlier this way and take care of problems before the plants are adversely affected.
Attack your ant problems
Ants tend scale and aphids just like we tend sheep and cows. They will carry in eggs and deposit them on your plants so that when they hatch the ants will have honeydew to harvest. You need to be sure to use an integrated (and aggressive) approach to eliminating these pests. Bait outside the greenhouse or area where you have your plants should reduce the number that actually makes it to your orchids. Use of DE (Diatomaceous Earth) in pots will make life difficult for the ants. Spray any area where you see them with water with soap in it which will kill them. Use bait that kills the queen when you have a mound.
Use children's hairclips to as plant clips
A reader sent this idea in and it's a really good one. The hair clips come in different sizes and shapes and colors. You can use just the right size for the specific plant and stake. And you can color code the clips to your flowers, too! They are easy to find in almost any store that carries hair products and come in an amazing variety of sizes and colors.
Garden hoses and bacteria
In a recent presentation a speaker mentioned something that had not even entered my mind -- the garden hose used to water orchids outside or in a greenhouse. Especially during the summer months the water that is in the hose in the sun gets warm enough to provide a wonderful growing environment for bacteria which we then spray on our plants. It is a good idea to clean this water out before using it on plants that you are fond of. Let the water run for about 30 seconds or more in order to get clean water in the hose.