With over 45 years of orchid-growing experience, and as a guy who likes to discuss pretty much any aspect of their culture, Ray can probably speak extemporaneously to your group on any of them. A few subjects have become quite popular, so below are summaries of the subject matter for presentations often given to orchid societies and garden clubs:
Biologicals in Horticulture
Microorganisms play import roles – good and bad – in the lives of all living creatures. Using a human analogy, microorganisms living in the gut help us digest food and control some pathogens. If we take antibiotics to help cure a disease, those microorganisms can be wiped out, sometimes with disastrous results (thinking of bathroom issues here). So we eat specific foods (yogurt, for example) and take probiotics to remedy that.
So why not do the same with plants?
As orchid growers, we focus all of our attention on eliminating the “bad guys”, but that can have a negative impact on the plants, the environment, and even ourselves. The proper application of biological agents in our routine culture can prevent problems, solve them when they do occur, and yield far healthier, more productive plants.
Water Your Orchids
We, in the orchid world, are second only to cannabis growers in the search for that “holy grail” product that will make our plants grow better. We experiment with fertilizer formulas, stimulants, inoculants, grain alcohol, worm teas – anything – that anyone, anywhere, has even suggested might be beneficial. What we often fail to recognize however, is that all those things, as beneficial as they may be, are merely supplements to a far more basic and essential parameter – water.
Plants are affected by water quality, how-, and how often they are watered, so we can use the science behind nature’s guidance to help us do a better job with our orchids.
Semi-Hydroponic Orchid Culture
Ray developed the technique over 25 years ago, simply as a way to keep his plants alive while he traveled extensively on business. This has turned out to be an extremely good growing technique for many, and has been one of the more popular subjects for society presentations.
Not long ago, Ray gave the presentation as part of the American Orchid Society global webinar series, and generally does not do so in person any longer. Please go to the AOS website to view it.