Does coffee help a flower or vegetable garden?
Hi Ken, Do you have tips for using coffee grounds or old coffee water in and around the flower or veggie garden? I had heard to use coffee grounds at the base of fruit tree. Celeste Hi Celeste, Coffee in its raw form is naturally acidic, but once it is brewed, the rinsed grounds become almost pH neutral. The pH level for rinsed grounds is in the low 6s.
You can use coffee grounds to amend the nutrients in your soil. By working the grounds into your soil at a depth of 4 to 5 inches, you will be increasing the levels of phosphorus, copper, potassium and magnesium. In addition, they facilitate better aeration, while increasing drainage.
Coffee grounds can also be used in your mulch pile to increase the levels of nitrogen.
Some folks swear by using grounds to control ants, while others say they do absolutely nothing.
Some years ago, I read an article that said coffee grounds can be used to control snails and slugs. Never having tried it myself, I can’t say yea or nay on this one. Thanks for the question. *** The Cecil County Master Gardeners have been alerted to yet another pest that we will have to deal with. The following are some ex- cerpts from a message sent from Jerry E. Brust, who specializes in integrated pest management for vegetables with the Central Maryland Research and Education Center Upper Marlboro Facility.
Another new pest – the allium (or onion) leafminer – has been found in Pennsylvania. Is seems to be worse in organic systems and in home gardens, but it is something we should watch for over the summer and fall. It seems to like leeks the best, but will infest any allium.
The allium leafminer Phytomyza gymnostoma (also known as the onion leafminer) has recently been detected and confirmed from infested leeks in Lancaster County, Pa. This is the first confirmed infestation in the Western Hemisphere.
The allium leafminer has been reported to infest species in the genus allium. Leeks (A. porrum) tend to be described as the most damaged host, which may be influenced by the timing of the second generation and the planting of leeks. Infestations have also been reported in onion (A. cepa), garlic (A. sativum), chive (A. schoenoprasum), shallot (A. cepa) and green onion (A. fistulosum). There are many ornamental species of allium, but the full host range is unknown.
Adults are small (about 3 mm), long grey or black flies with a distinctive yellow or orange patch on the top and front of head. Yellow color also present on side of abdomen. Wings held horizontally over abdomen when at rest, white halters. Legs have distinctive yellow “knees.”
Damage: Adult females make repeated punctures in leaf tissue with their ovipositor, and both females and males feed on the plant exudates. These punctures may be the first sign of damage. Larvae mine leaves, and move towards and into bulbs and leaf sheathes. Both the leaf punctures and mines serve as entry routes for bacterial and fungal pathogens. High rates of infestation have been reported: from 20 to 100 pupae per plant, and 100 percent of plants in fields.
Cultural Control: Covering plants in February, prior to the emergence of adults, and keeping plants covered during spring emergence, can be used to exclude the pest. Avoiding the adult oviposition period by delaying planting (after mid-May, we think) has also been suggested to reduce infestation rates. Covering fall plantings during the second generation flight can be effective. Growing leeks as far as possible from chives has been suggested.
Organic Chemical Control: Azadirachtin (Aza-Direct or other formulations) or spinosad (Entrust or other formulations) follow label instructions for leaf miner.
Penn State has put out a lengthy article with pictures that can be found at http://ento.psu.edu/extension/vegetables/pest-alertallium-leafminer.
The Cecil County Master Gardeners and I thank you for helping create a healthy environment that will last for years to come. Happy gardening, Ken Fischer Please submit all your gardening questions and available photos to kfischermaster firstname.lastname@example.org.