Hello Fellow Readers,
I had a good laugh when I heard from my youngest brother who lives in Tennessee. Rick texted a photo of his cup of joe with a frothy smiley face smack dab in the middle. “Look at my message this morning in my coffee.”
His suspicious sister writes back, “Come on. A template or magic?”
“It just showed up. I was laughing so hard…It was even right side up.”
Magic indeed! My little brother has been one of my most humorous students of Garden Dilemmas. You may recall his tent caterpillar dilemma chomping his roses. He learned an environmentally kind way of removing them rather than using nasty sprays he fessed up too. Then a scarlet-and-green leafhopper took up residence. No nasty chemicals used. “She’s too cool to disturb. Even if it’s bad for the roses!” (Link to Rose is a Rose for the whole story). And, I’m sure dear Rick, you no longer put edibles in the nifty air-conditioner screen / walled garden combo you built with pallets now that you know they’re often infused with chemicals. Such a good student…(Check out Rick’s impressive Pallet Garden & AC Screen project.)
Rick’s Smiling Cup of Joe recalls the beneficial uses of coffee grounds (A Cup of Joe in the Garden). I started collecting them from pods that are taking over landfills. It was soon after Curt moved in with a handy K-cup machine. I found biodegradable ones but still cut the encasing from the grounds. Sadly, I don’t have a “proper” compost bin with kitchen scraps and such because of our resident bear. And the Worm Composting indoor option made me too squeamish. Especially separating the worms from the castings part (a subtle way of saying worm excrement). We’ve been layering the coffee grounds amongst the leaf debris and grass clippings. Late in the fall, I top-dressed garden beds with the rich black composted soil mixed and leaf mold. For sure the soil is busy soaking in the nutrients.
There are other uses too. They say grounds scattered around plants will deter slugs as well as aphids (see previous Ugly slug and Aphids on Roses columns). And, they can serve as a substitute for damaging road salt to give you a grip on ice. John from Mount Bethel PA shared he burns used coffee grounds on aluminum foil, placing them upwind, to deter mosquitos and bees during picnics. Apparently, they hate the smell and the smoke. Perhaps you’ll experiment with that, my dear brother the engineer, and report back if the smell deters picnickers too. It’s nice starting a new day with a good hard laugh :^). Garden Dilemmas? AskMaryStone@gmail.com