Category Archives: Pests

Coffee to Wake Up …The Garden

Coffee grounds are a great addition to the home garden and the growing plans around the entire yard. If you have discovered a local coffee shop with a supply of grounds ( larger than average family making 1 or 2 pots of coffee a day) and can bring them to your house and garden you now need to know how to use them.

The most obvious is COMPOST. Add the grounds to the pile(they tend to be 2% nitrogen and <1% phosphorous and potassium) and thoroughly mix with leaves, grass, paper, kitchen scraps and seedless weeds from the garden.

This post will be a list and attached articles will fill in some information.

COFFEE GROUNDS from a shop:

1. Add grounds to the compost pile, bin or container. {different blend percentages are suggested- look some up}

  1. Raise your own worms for casings, and the grounds mix well with other food scraps s food for the worms= they love them.
  2. Spread on the lawn, under trees and bushes(heavier for acid loving plants)
  3. Top dress the garden , especially in the offseason, with the grounds. They will break down and add nutrients to the soil
  4. Slugs and snails hate coffee grounds – protect susceptible plants with the grounds
  5. squirrels and rabbits can also be deterred by the grounds underfoot
  6. Acid loving plants will love a ring of grounds that are worked into the ground/soil around the base of the plant .

The following articles address some of these ideas.

The most obvious and simple use is as compost, but The amounts can be important:

More than compost- other uses for the grounds:

Some plants love the grounds directly on them:


Deer Do Not Like Eggs- Offer them an Omelette and they will Leave.

Here is a Mix ( and a variation or two) that will be effective in repelling most deer from your garden.

Eggs make powerful stinky impact on deer and keep them away. young deer

Both the white( proteins) and and sulfur in the yolk are problems for the deer and will send them to the neighbors.

In a gallon jug:

4 eggs ( scrammbled) and shells(crushed)
4 Tbs dish soap

1. Place the mix in loosely sealed container and place in sun for 2-3 days.
2. After 2-3 days pour/strain through cheesecloth or knee high stocking(Dollar store)
3.Store in the jug, covered tightly- out of the sun
4. Spray on plants from bottom to top
**5. Re-Apply after rain

The solids that are strained out should also be put out on the perimeter to deter the deer.


You can add either –

A]3-4 crushed garlic cloves at the beginning.
B] 4-6 Tbs hot sauce OR 4 chopped hot peppers

C] 4 tbs whole milk

Another option is to make a new batch every few weeks and alternate the EXTRAS- Add milk for the first round. Add garlic for the second round and pepper for the 3rd.

You could add all at the same time BUT the rotation will keep the deer aware of the smells and not develop a tolerance and just ignore it and come in for the snack.

Beautiful Deer -Unwelcome Visitors in The Garden

Deer are beautiful creatures and they roam freely throughout the USA and they can be challenging co-habitants of our gardens. They love to eat our greenery and fruits and generally wreak havoc in gardens and landscapes. BUT the buffet can be limited. 

FIRST THINGS FIRST-Unless you plan on building a FORTRESS of Solitude, Accept some losses and share with our fuzzy friends.


Young deer- looking for food?

Now that you accepted that premise what can you do to the  limit losses?

There are 3 basics- Barriers, Repellents,  and Scare tactics.

1. One option is to use less “tasty” plants in the garden BUT since many of the deer faves are also ours we need to plant to block their lunch.  

Barriers –   A.  Plant large, sprawling deer repellent varieties such as thick hedges of boxwoods or short needle spruces around the borders of your garden.

B. Plant hairy or thorny plants on the perimeter and near crops you want to protect. Plants like fuzzy lamb’s ear, barberries, and cleome are a good place to start. One perimeter location to focus on is any entrance spot. Though roses are a favored snack- some roses are particularly thorny, built for self-defense and are an attractive fence.


Jumping a Low fence

C. The obvious barrier option is to install a fence at least 6 feet high but since deer are capable jumpers a fence of 7-9 feet would be useful.

Repellents – 1. The first step is to plant strongly scented herbs—garlic, chives, mint and lavender (left)—can mask the appealing aroma of nearby snacks.  Many of these are also useful in the garden to prevent many insects. AND they are delicious and useful crops.

 2. There are some specific repellents to make and use that include

*fabric softener strips and/or wrapped bars of soap from trees

*hot pepper sprays 

*garlic and rotten egg mixtures

*ammonia soaked rags

*bags of hair ( or spread on the ground)  {call your barber/hairdresser} 

*blood meal
Most these are applied as a spray and should be covered from the ground and up the plants and around the perimeter. Most of these are water soluble and should be reapplied after rainfall. It may also be a good idea to rotate the sprays so the deer don’t develop a tolerance to the irritants.  Many of these are available in commercially packaged formulas. 

Most of these are water soluble and should be reapplied after rainfall. It may also be a good idea to rotate the sprays so the deer don’t develop a tolerance to the irritants.


Still healthy without Your smorgasbord.

Fighting the Good Fight – Weeds and Vinegar- not a salad but clearing the way

In the last 3 weeks I got busy and the weather was perfect for a great crop of wild things to grow in the pathways in the garden.  

ImageMost of the weds are just that weeds but there are a few wild edibles- plantain and lambs quarters. I sprayed the bulk with vinegar/salt/soap mixture and will take .

I mixed a cup of salt with a few tbs of dish soap in a gallon o apple cider vinegar and sprayed it liberally around the wild growth. 

I also sprayed a water, seaweed fertilizer and dish soap mixture on the veggies and herbs in the garden.     Image

I will take some more photos in a few days to see what the vinegar did. I t has worked wonders this year without the impact of the rough weed killing chemicals out there.

Now it is almost time to prepare for winter and the 2014 garden season.       Image

New place and a new garden- starting from Scratch +1

I recently moved and left the garden I was playing with and was without a garden for a while. I was able to rent a garden plot in the City of Charlottesville in the spaces at Azalea Park.

Image I said “from scratch+1” because this plot has obviously been tended before BUT it needs a couple hours o TLC before we start planting and harvesting. I plan to do some clean up this weekend and plan to bag / compost all of the vegetation in the picture.

I need to investigate the plot to see if there are any plants still in place or coming up for spring as I plan the set up of the plot and the items to grow this year.

This is in the open so there will be  A LOT of sun so fruiting plants will do well (planning to fight the bugs…)

The 3rd step to take will be the analysis of the soil to determine what i will need to add / blend/ or mix into the soil..

Beans / peas will be planted asap as they serve dual purpose- good food for me and a crop that will replenish soil nutrients.Image

There are a few items and tools left over so I will need to take an inventory and clean up some broken junk as well ( pots, buckets and tools).   Time for a fun new adventure- I am running late for the season but I will catch up and have some fun with it. Continue reading