Hot Tub Of Death

Odd title, you might be thinking. Has some poor relaxing soul slipped under the bubbling brew of one hundred degree Fahrenheit water and drowned? Was there a jealous spouse with a chainsaw crashing into a pair of lip locked lovers submerged in bubbling brew? Did a poor enthusiastic sports fan get electrocuted when the television fell from the shelf above as the waterlogged cheerleader leapt up with glee at the winning touchdown interception and run back and bumped said shelf? Well, no, nothing as dramatic as those scenarios. But it is time to prepare the orchids to come inside with the yearly ritual of double dipping in insecticide.Still using the milk jug of insect elimination first seen here , and the potent chemical Sevin mixed in a gray plastic tub used only for this purpose, the hot tub plays the vital role of work surface as the orchids and other tender plants are cleansed of creeping crawling life.There are also some larger mounted plants that will be drenched at another time, including the stag horn fern that has grown almost too large to bring into the greenhouse/sunroom. This was a project that we did while living in Texas after reading an article about how to mount one of these beauties on a piece of treated plywood. A four inch pot was seen for sale at a nursery and we gave it a go. The results speak for themselves in the above shot. However proud we might be of the thriving fern, how are we going to get all the insects out that have no doubt moved into the damp root mass? Hmm. That is a problem to be solved another day.The shelving unit stands empty except for a pot of foxglove seedlings that can stay out of doors to be planted in the ground next spring. The shelves are lined with copper mesh screening that does an excellent job of keeping snails and slugs away from the orchids as they summer outside on the shelves. While those scoundrels are very damaging to hidden roots, the sowbugs, ants and millipedes are not deterred by the copper. The dunking does more than deter these and any other pests that have moved into the pots. Little carcasses are found on the now defunct hot tub covering of genuine leather looking vinyl after the first dipping. A second dip will be done in case new living insects have hatched or moved in just before the transport to the waiting cedar shelves inside.We abhor the use of pesticides out of doors, but we are willing to rely on the chemical industry to keep our precious orchids, like Paphiopedilum ‘Honey’ here, alive and well during their winter sojourn in the greenhouse/sunroom.


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16 Responses to Hot Tub Of Death

  1. Gail says:

    I like a post that is entertaining and informative and you have delivered. Thanks for the copper reminder, that is good to know! Having a plant eating cat and no safe place to house plants means no debugging for me. Coal says hi, btw.


    Hi Coal, and hi Gail too, thanks. I was hesitant about posting admitting the use of bad chemicals, but have tried bringing the orchids in without doing that and having a house full of millipedes! Yuck. We have the serious plant eater Hazel and have to keep the door closed at all times to the room the plants are in. That is a problem because during the summer the greenhouse is open and the littler boxes are in there with the tile floor and drain it is the perfect place for them. Now we have to move the littler boxes to another site, none are as good as that room. Sorry cats, time for another adjustment on all our parts.

  2. Racquel says:

    You gotta do what you gotta do! I wouldn’t want to bring the bugs in with the plant either. I use to do the same thing with my houseplants (when I had some) that I put out on the patio for the summer. By the way your scenarios of the hottub were cracking me up, lol You are too funny Frances, I think you should definitely thing about a career in either writing or comedy! 🙂

    Hi Racquel, you flatter me! Thanks and keep it up. ;-> Some people might think this is not necessary but they never woke up with a giant millipede biting their arm in bed!!! That really happened in Texas when we had a big window seat in our master bedroom that seemed like a good place to set the orchids! Freaked me out the door! LOL

  3. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    This is such an entertaining as well as informative post Frances. I think everyone resorts to the dreaded chemicals from time to time. Luckily we don’t have to often.

    Hi Lisa, thanks for understanding. See my reply to Racquel for a horror story about insects. ;->

  4. tina says:

    I thought at first you were getting rid of the hot tub. It looks just like ours btw; which is getting good use. Good idea to dip the plants and Sevin has such a LOW LD (Lethal dose) rate to humans that it is quite safe to us. Not the bugs though.

    Hi Tina, getting rid of the hot tub is a very appealing idea. We did use it a lot in the beginning. It broke and we got it fixed then it broke again and we just haven’t gotten it fixed and don’t even miss it. It makes a great table top however. Sevin is my killing agent of choice. I saw malathion at the store though and thought that had been removed from the market. I use neem oil if the orchids have any fungal problems, but have adjusted the watering and last year had none of that problem so no dipping, hooray.

  5. Cameron says:

    Do what ya gotta do! Informative as well as entertaining. Cameron

    Hi Cameron, thanks. Glad you enjoyed it.

  6. Marnie says:

    Gosh, I thought this post was gonna be like one of my favorite mystery stories. Instead it’s more like a good old fashioned sheep dip. Just kidding of course.

    I’m glad I found you again–not that you were lost. I lost you because I didn’t pay enough attention and follow your links. Sorry, I’m slow, I admit it.

    I hope WordPress will work with my blogroll so I can see when you make a new posting.

    Hi Marnie, thanks and welcome, so glad you found me, I have been lost to many it seems. I am still getting lots of looks at the blogger site, don’t know if they come here or not, hope so. ;-> I am a big fan of mysteries too, just trying to jazz up a boring topic. I have seen my wordpress posts, the only place I am posting now, on blogger blogrolls so hopefully it works. Thanks for adding me with wordpress. I am still trying to get the word out. Love your helenium and perovskia idea!

  7. skeeter says:

    I was looking for the perfect sized 1 big boobed cheerleader falling into the hot tub! lol..

    Bugs and nibbling cats are the main two reasons I do not bring many outside plants inside. I had the guest bedroom door closed off all winter long and did not like it one bit! Nor did the cats. A closed door in this house is a no no big time. They are soooo offended at a closed door. I am debating a plant coming in this winter and hope the plant wins for if it does not, it will die not from a hot tub dipping but rather a freezing night… Cats, why do I love them so?

    Hi Skeeter, that is something out of a made for tv movie! LOL. Believe me, the cats are quite offended when the door gets shut to the greenhouse/sunroom since their litter boxes are in there for the summer. Quite an adjustment for us all. The orchids are not your regular houseplants though, some I have had for more than ten years, attachment issues I guess. ;-> The cats will just have to wait until next spring to move back into their room.

  8. Brenda Kula says:

    I have never grown orchids. I always thought they sounded too exotic and delicate for me to try! I love that Staghorn fern. I’ve seen them in nurseries, but never bought one. Maybe I’ll do that. I love ferns, and many ferns grow wild here in East Texas.

    Hi Brenda, orchids are more readily available to the general public now than they used to be. Some types are adaptable to home windowsills, like the phals. Do some research for they are very different from regular plants and their needs are very specific. The staghorn fern might not be able to come into the greenhouse in a year or two. That will be very sad. You can check and see if one would live outside year around in your climate. Good luck!

  9. DP says:

    What an interesting way to get rid of all those pesky bugs. I’ve never seen anyone use milk jugs for this purpose. But I guess dipping them in this sanctuary is as good as anything!

    Hi DP, way to be polite! LOL The milk jug is to pour the liquid over the potted plants for good saturation. We wouldn’t want to miss any of the millipedes lurkin within. ;->

  10. I just can’t resist a title like that – it sounds like a B movie. In high school, my sophomore biology teacher had a huge, beautiful Staghorn Fern mounted over a door in his classroom. (Yes it was bigger than yours.) It fascinated me. I think I’ll take a pass on Orchids. I’m allergic to insecticide.

    Hi MMD, you are so funny. I wear rubber haz mat gloves to do this job, BTW. Orchids are not for everyone. What you could do is treat them like cut flowers, buy them in bud or bloom, enjoy them wherever is convenient and then toss them when the bloom is finished. The blooms can last several months so the price isn’t bad. I’m not tryiing to talk you into them, just wanted you to make an informed decision. ;-> Get anything in the mail lately?

  11. walk2write says:

    We have had an ant invasion in the apartment this week, so I understand your vendetta completely. I can’t say I’m a big fan of orchids, but I do love that staghorn fern. It looks kinda spooky itself.

    Hi Walk2write, arghhhh, ants are the only insect that give me the creeps. I know that is weird but there are so many of them, you never just see one or two. The will conquer the world! The staghorn fern is finally getting to the size that it has a presence.

  12. Rose says:

    Frances, No wonder you were nominated for best writing at Blotanical! Your title drew me in, and then I was “hooked” by all the scenarios described in the first paragraph. Great post!
    This is the best use of a hot tub I’ve seen in a long while:) Your staghorn fern is magnificent.

    Hi Rose, thanks so much, blush. I am truly honored to be among the five nominees and feel like a winner already for that. Glad you liked the spicing up I felt was necessary for a boring topic. Too bad the staghorn cannot winter over outside, it does look at home on the fence.

  13. Kim says:

    Very funny post – oh, the visuals of the cheerleader and the poor guy getting electrocuted. This weekend is my “bug patrol” on my plants that have spent the summer on the screened porch. I will hose them off and then spray with insecticidal soap. A few days later, they’ll get another spray and then a wipedown, and then I’ll bring them in. I’ll probably miss a bug or two . . . . .

    Hi Kim, thanks. My orchids are now safely on their cedar shelves in the greenhouse/sunroom with the fan running 24/7. They will get misted from the coiled hose thingey and we feel confident that all bugs were terminated. Some come through the drains in the floor and we will deal with them appropriately as the need arises. Good luck with yours. ;->

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