Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Get Rid of Roaches - Home and Garden

Head of cockroach: image by Wikipedia commons

Stop the roaches from entering your home  by sealing cracks around your doors and windows and landscaping so that your gardens and shrubs are away from your foundation. 

Everyone at some time or another in their lifetime experiences roaches. It does not matter how meticulous your home is roaches will invade your home or business. 

There are 3500 species of cockroaches in the world and eventually, this insect will move into your home or business and scatter across your kitchen counter tops in search of food or linger in your bathroom for water.  

If you allow the roaches to stay in your home for a short period of time they will settle in and multiply and before you know it your home or business will be infested.  

Last week I noticed a cockroach in my laundry room and knew if there was one there had to be at least 30 or more hiding out in my home.  Roaches like to hide from humans and they seldom come out during the daylight hours, therefore if you want to conduct an inspection of your home then you need to turn off all of the lights, take your flashlight and open up your cabinet doors under your sink and also look behind your refrigerator, stove and in the bathroom under the sink cabinet.  

Look for droppings as they are signs of cockroaches.  The droppings look like specks of black pepper and are primarily in areas where there is food or water.  Should you determine that you do have roaches then you will need to inspect the exterior of your home for cracks, holes in your foundation, siding and crevices, also check around your windows and doors to make sure they are sealed. 

Roaches will also enter your home through your drains in bathroom or kitchen and the air ducts.  Seal all entrances to your home and place a drain cover in sinks and bath tub.  Deter the roach from infesting your home by landscaping three to four feet from your home.  

Many roaches reside in a moist habitat such as humus dirt or mulch.  Install cement or rock barrier in between your landscape and your home and this will cut down on roaches from penetrating your home. 

Move landscape away from home

When you complete your outdoors tasks of sealing all  entrances you will survey your living space.  Check your home for cardboard storage boxes or shoe boxes.  Shoe boxes are usually in a dark closet and roaches think of the box as an ideal living area.  Remove shoes from boxes and place in an over the door hanger or in plastic under the bed storage unit. Also remove storage items from cardboard boxes and put in plastic storage containers with a locking lid.  After the cardboard material is removed from your home you will need to concentrate on your kitchen and bath area. 

Inspect under your sink and behind your appliances at night.  Use a flashlight to look for roaches and or droppings.  Remove roaches by killing them. Mix boric acid with granulated sugar and white flour. 

Use equal parts for all ingredients. 

Set the boric acid mixture in small open containers and set them behind the refrigerator, oven, and under the sink. The sweetness of the sugar will attract the cockroaches the flour is a binding ingredient that holds all ingredients together and the boric acid kills cockroaches, fleas, ants, ticks and other household pests.

Learn more about roach control:  Youtube video


 Cockroach head by Wikipedia commons

Monday, November 1, 2010

Toad Lily Growing Tips

Toad lilies are dainty flowers that resemble an orchid.  Gardeners who reside in USDA growing zone 5-9 plant the shade loving toad lily amongst their hosta’s, ferns,  astilbe, or in a woodland  setting..  The toad lily will start to bloom in September and will continue to bloom into October, thus adding eye appealing color and interest to ones shade garden.

A few years ago, I discovered  toad lilies growing in my garden.  I took several pictures of the orchid-like flower and went to the library to research the flower. The botanical name is Tricyritis Toad Lily and it is grows in shade to part shade. A woodland setting is ideal for growing the toad lily.  
The following spring I planted the yellow with red dots and the white with purple dots toad lilies in my shade garden.  In the later part of summer the stems pushed up through the soil and grew very quickly. 

When fully grown the stems have a hair texture and the leaves are dark to pale green.  Toad lily stems will grow to the heights of 18 to 28 inches and the spread is that of the same. T

Toad lily flower buds as a cluster and are funnel shaped and open from the tip of the bud.  The flowers come in a variety of colors: White with purple dots, white with red dots, yellow with red dots or white with light purple dots.  If you are like me I know you will want to grow all of the color combination's.  
Plant the toad lily rhizomes in early spring after the danger of frost has past. Toad lilies grow best in an area of shade to part shade, with moist hummus rich well-drained soil.  

Clear the planting area and amend the soil with compost.  Dig a hole that is three inches deep and plant the rhizome, pointy side up.  Fill the hole with soil and water well.  Keep the soil moist during the growing season. 

You can also grow these lilies from seed.  The toad lily will reseed itself or you can buy seeds to fill your garden with this exotic looking flower.

Caring for Toad Lilies

The toad lily is very easy to grow and is cold weather; frost, snow and icy hardy.  For best results plant according to requirement and water so that the soil is evenly moist.  Do not let the soil dry out.  I water my toad lilies daily to keep the soil moist.  In late August I will feed the toad lilies with a liquid fertilizer and in a few weeks my toad lilies will have many clusters of buds.  

Care for toad lilies after a hard frost by cutting stems back to soil level.  Do a hand pull of any weeds in the garden and then apply two inches of compost topped with 3 inches of organic mulch; pine needles, freshly chipped wood, or grass clippings.


If you were unsuccessful in growing the orchid, then grow the Toad Lily.  For small yards, garden, or shady apartment balconies you may grow the toad lily in a container.

This orchid like perennial will continue to grow in my shade garden for many years to come.

*The toad lily image with multiple cluster buds is an original photograph of the flowers that grow in my garden.