Posts tagged organic

Using Old Coffee Grounds in the Garden


If you come to my house, one of the things you will always find is coffee in my coffee pot.  I am truly a coffee addict. I drink it all day long and never start a day without it.  My love of coffee has however left me with a surplus of leftover coffee grounds.  As I was dumping yesterday’s coffee grounds into the compost bin last night, it occurred to me that maybe it was time for a post on all the awesome ways to use your coffee grounds in the garden.   Without further adieu…

1. Put coffee grounds in your compost bin:

Coffee grounds are a wonderful thing to add to your compost as they are high in nitrogen and will make great compost for nitrogen loving seedlings like tomatoes.  Coffee grounds have a ratio of 20:1 nitrogen to carbon which is great for compost.  The only thing you want to consider if you add a lot of coffee grounds to your compost is that for approximately every 11 lbs of coffee grounds you add you want to add about 2 tsp. of lime.  This will make sure that things are well balanced.  If you don’t already have a compost bin, check out how you can simply make your own compost bin from an old Rubbermaid container.

2. Spread coffee grounds around plants:

Some plants will love it if you spread the coffee grounds on the ground around the plant.  Spread them approximately as far out as the branches reach.  Plants like hydrangea, tomatoes, blueberries, cranberries, citrus fruit, camellias, gardenias, rhododendrons, and vireyas all love a ph of between 3.0 and 5.0 and coffee grounds will help to achieve this.

3. Make your hydrangea blooms blue:

Did you know that you can alter the color of your hydrangea blooms by controlling the ph of the soil. Blue hydrangea can be achieved through lowering the ph of the soil. Coffee grounds are a great way to achieve this.  On the other hand, if you prefer pink hydrangea you can add lime to the soil to help encourage the blooms to be pink.  For more information about hydrangea check out think article.

4. Using coffee grounds as mulch:

If you have access to a lot of coffee grounds (like if you live next door to a coffee shop), you can use the coffee grounds as mulch for your garden. Just remember to add about 2 tsp. of lime for every 11 lbs of coffee grounds. Also, don’t spread it on too thick as it will mold if it is too thick.  No more than 1/2″ is perfect.  On a side note, I have heard a rumor that Starbucks gives their used coffee grounds away for free for gardeners!

5. Make a liquid garden feed:

If you would like to make a wonderful liquid feed for your garden, place left offer coffee grounds in a bucket and fill with water.  Let the bucket sit for a day or 2 until it turns a nice rich brown color.  Then use the liquid to feed your garden.  My tomatoes go wild when I do this. They LOVE it.

6. Coffee grounds will deter some garden pests:

Did you know that garden slugs hate coffee. Maybe that’s why they move so slow LOL.  Anyways, if you sprinkle coffee grounds around your garden it will help deter slugs and snails from inhabiting your garden.  You can even use the grounds to make a sort of barrier around the garden.

7. Worms love coffee grounds:

If you are luck enough to have a worm bin :0 then you can add some coffee grounds to your worm bin.  About a cup a week is good for most small worm bins.  Maybe this is why I have so many earthworms in my garden.

8. Coffee grounds may fight some garden mold and fungus:

Some research suggests that coffee grounds might help fight off some  common garden fungus and mold such as Fusarium, Pythium, and Sclerotinia species.  This may be a great organic way to keep common garden mold and fungus in check.

I am hoping this article inspires at least one person to save their coffee grounds and reuse them in the garden.  I am sure there are many other uses for coffee grounds both in the garden and around the house.  Do you know one that I have not listed?  I would love to hear from you.  I hope this article was helpful. Happy gardening!


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Home Remedies (that you already have in your pantry)

Here is a list of home remedies that I read a while back and have found very useful.  Some of these I already knew, but many of them were new.  Who knew chocolate milk could help your body after a workout?  The best part about this list is that there were not any crazy ingredients I could not pronounce.  These are things that people actually have in their home.

Common Healthy Remedies That Are Right In Your Home

The below are commonly found in the average home and can help in many ways.

1. Water:   Because dehydration can cause a range of symptoms from fatigue to headache, a simple glass of water can sometimes work wonders. Other problems that can arise from lack of water include increased heart rate, dark urine, muscle cramps, and nausea. To avoid these, make sure you get your eight to ten glasses a day.

2. Club Soda : Not only useful for getting out stains, it can also help with an upset stomach or dehydration. Because it is free of the sugar and additives of regular sodas, you can get the benefits without the negatives.  Click her for more about club soda.

3. Chocolate Milk : Often thought of as more of an indulgence than healthy remedy, there are actually benefits to your childhood favorite. When drank after a rough workout, chocolate milk can actually be very useful as a recovery drink.  Still don’t believe me, check out this video.

4. Honey : From healing wounds to fighting infections, honey is said to be one of the most ancient and turned to remedies across the world. It is even used to combat diarrhea, indigestion, stomach ulcers and gastroenteritis. Click here for more about the health benefits of honey.

5. Apple Cider Vinegar : From Hippocrates to modern day doctors, apple cider vinegar has been used to treat many ailments. They include aches, pains, lack of energy, warts, and are even used on animals. This is a great resource to learn lots more about apple cider vinegar.

6. Lemon Water : That yellow wedge on the end of your glass can be so much more than a garnish. Combining lemon with water helps alkalize both your blood and body, keeping it from becoming too acidic. This blog offers lots of great information about lemon water.

7. Cinnamon : Studies have shown that a half of a teaspoon of cinnamon per day can lower LDL cholesterol. Cinnamon can also help with diabetes, arthritis, and even leukemia. More about amazing cinnamon.

8. Ginger : Used as a healthy remedy for centuries, the ginger in your home can actually help with many modern ailments. They include ovarian cancer, motion sickness, heartburn, and more. Wow ginger really is amazing.

9. Garlic : This clove has been used on everything from preventing the flu to the Bubonic plague. Raw garlic has also been used on a range of ailments including both acne treatment and managing cholesterol.  Click here for more about garlic.  I sure hope all this is true because then I am going to live forever. I LOVE garlic!

10. Hydrogen Peroxide : The subject of much controversy, this substance can help with everything from allergies to gingivitis.  Check out this link about hydrogen peroxide. It has tons of information.


Did you already know all these thing?  Do you currently use any of these things as your own home remedy?  What is your favorite home remedy? I would love to hear from you!

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One Trick to Double Your Strawberry Plant Yield

This is short and simple, but so important. If you want your strawberry plants to produce more strawberries you have to pinch off the runners. The runners are those long tubes with a small little plant that grow off the main strawberry plant and often seem to appear overnight.   That means following the runner to the base of the plant and cutting it off about an inch from the base.  Doing this will allow the plant to put its energy and growth into berries rather than its runners.  You will be amazed how this one little trick will drastically increase your yield.  Thanks for reading and happy gardening. I am off to check my strawberry plants for runners that need to be removed :).

Check out this website for all kinds of great info about growing strawberries:

Growing Strawberries

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The Magnificent Marigold in Your Vegetable Garden

It was not that many years ago that I saw a picture of a beautiful vegetable garden that had dozen’s of marigold’s planted in it.  My initial reaction was wow isn’t that beautiful and what a great idea to incorporate flowers into your veggie garden.  Now I still do think that it looks beautiful, but I have learned the importance of planting these flowers in your garden.

Marigold’s are a gardener’s secret weapon when it comes to keeping pests out of the garden.  This is by far the most organic way I know of to keep many of the pests that gardeners dread from eating your precious plants.  Marigolds work very well at keeping away Mexican bean beetles, squash bugs, thrips, tomato hornworms, and whiteflies. They are also known to repel harmful root knot nematodes that attack tomatoes, potatoes, roses, and strawberries.  Marigold roots also produce a chemical that kills nematodes in the soil.  There are many types of marigolds and the one easiest trick to getting a variety that will work well is to pick whichever variety is the most fragrant.  The stronger the smell, the better they work at repelling insects.

Now I know I have made Marigolds look like a star in the garden and they really are.  However, you should always remember that every garden is different and that what works well in one may not in another.  Marigolds are a great choice for your vegetable garden unless you have a problem with spider mites or snails because both of these pests actually like marigolds. I am lucky to have not had either of these pests in my garden in the past.

Wow do I wish I had a garden like this! Beautiful!

There are many other amazing plants that you can plant in your garden to help keep away harmful insects and attract helpful insects.  Remember you garden needs insects and bees to pollinate your vegetable so think twice before you use many of the insectacides on the market because they will likely deter the bad and  the good insects.  I will discuss companion planting more in a future post.  Until then, happy gardening!

Do you plant marigold’s in your veggie garden?  What other plants to you use as natural pesticides in your garden?  I look forward to hearing about your success in companion planting.

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DIY Fruit and Veggie Wash

Over the last several months, I have been making some changes to the foods that my family eats.  One of them has been only buying dairy products that come from cows not treated with hormones.  This includes milk, cheese, yogurt, etc.  I am also only buying meat that comes from animals not treated with hormones, antibiotics, steroids, etc.  This all started when my husband and I had chicken breasts for dinner that were so big we both felt pretty disgusted by it.  I mean seriously, that chicken would have had to be 15 pounds and that does not sound “natural” to me at all.  I got to thinking, what else are we consuming that we don’t know about?

Over the last couple of years, I have read a lot about buying organic and what things really matter and what things are not as important to buy organic.  One of my motivations to increase the size of my garden this year is to have more organic fruit and veggies without having to take out a line of credit to pay for them.  There is a group of fruits and veggies called the dirty dozen that have the highest pesticide level and the clean 15 which are less likely to have high pesticide exposure.  I have to admit that many of the things on the list of the dirty dozen are things that I do not often buy organic because the cost is just so much higher.  I guess in an ideal world I would just buy everything that is the most healthy for my family, but in reality cost does matter.

I have researched fruit and veggie washes, but have not found any that really seem to work better than the homemade kind which is a fraction of the price.  Now before I tell you how to make your own veggie wash, let me say that it will not remove 100% of the pesticides, but it will certainly be much better than using just water alone.  It will remove almost 100% of the bacteria and mold that is on your produce.  You make the veggie wash with just three simple ingredients…water, lemon juice and white vinegar! That’s it.  How does it work you might be asking yourself? Well lets take a look at that. Lemon juice has many disinfecting properties in it. The ph of lemon is 2.3 which makes it 6 times more acidic than vinegar leading it to be a wonderful disinfectant. The high level of acidity in lemons changes the pH level in bacterial cells, creating an acidic environment in which microbes can’t survive. White vinegar is another great disinfectant working in much the same way.  By pairing the vinegar and the lemon juice together you are creating a great veggie wash that is completely edible, so you don’t have to worry about the residue that can get left behind from some other cleaners.  If you want the veggie wash to be completely organic don’t forget to buy an organic lemon!

Here is how you make the veggie wash. Combine 1 part white vinegar for each 3 parts of water.  Add 1/3 c. of white vinegar to your spray bottle along with two tablespoons of lemon juice. Then add 1 cup of water.  Shake to combine.  I use the spray bottle to mist all of our fruits and veggies when I clean them.  Spray on the produce then use your hand or a soft brush to clean produce.  I have heard recommendations of letting the wash sit on the produce for 2-5 minutes.  When I buy strawberries, I spray them generously with the mixture and let sit for a couple of minutes before giving them a good rinse.  Don’t forget to rinse your veggies well.  When I buy grapes, I make a big batch of veggie wash in a bowl in the sink (1 part vinegar to three parts water and 2 tbsp. of lemon juice per cup of water) and let my grapes soak in it for a few minutes before giving them a good rinse.\

Ok so there you have it. A simple and super inexpensive way to wash your veggies and remove the pesticide (a least some of it) and kill virtually all of the bacterial and mold that may be on your produce.

What do you buy organic?  Do you currently use any type of produce wash? I would love to hear your feedback! Thanks for reading!

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