Plant Tips: Beer or Coffee and Other Fancies
Here are a few tips to help you in your garden.
Acidic soil sometimes is deficient in magnesium. If this is true for your soil, add dolomitic lime, which will increase the pH level and add the deficient mineral. When magnesium levels are low but the soil’s pH level is at or near neutral, use Epsom salts instead.
Coffee Grounds in the Garden
With many coffee houses and espresso stands giving customers used coffee grounds, the grounds have become a popular compost material. There are several things to consider when using them in the garden.
Coffee grounds add nitrogen (2 percent) and small amounts of phosphorus (0.3 percent) and potassium (0.3 percent). When applying, sprinkle on top of the soil; do not incorporate ground into the soil, because the nitrogen will be tied up (unavailable to the plants) until broken down. This is the case for any uncomposted vegetative matter.
Many believe that spent coffee grounds are acidic and using it in the garden will lower the pH level of the soil. In reality, once brewed the grounds become neutral.
Coffee appears to have allopathic chemicals, which inhibit the growth of some plants, including many weeds. Lettuce benefits from coffee grounds; however, tomatoes, ryegrass, and wheat are negatively impacted. Using grounds after they are composted insures that plants will not be adversely affected by coffee. Use care when using them fresh in the garden bed.
Sure, you’ve heard some “self-proclaimed” garden experts recommend the use of beer for fertilizer on lawns and in the garden. I sometimes wonder if these “experts” come up with creative concoctions after consuming a few too many. Yes, there are vitamins and minerals in beer, which in larger amounts might prove beneficial to plants. However, beer contains alcohol, which in worse case scenarios can cause plant death or leaf burn, or at the very least stunt plant growth.
Instead of using liquor products in the garden, save the beer for human consumption. Buy a quality fertilizer (organic is the best choice), or mix your own organic fertilizer, formulated to feed plants what they really need.