Drinking coffee has almost become an American pastime. It seems that coffee shops are popping up everywhere,h and home consumption is up, too. So, how do drinking coffee and gardening go together? Coffee grounds. You can use those leftover grounds to compost and enrich your garden soil.
Typically, in the fall and winter months many gardeners have less green or high-nitrogen materials, available for composting along with an increased amount of high-carbon/low-nitrogen materials. This can slow the decomposition process.
Coffee grounds have a carbon-to-nitrogen ratio of 20:1, roughly equivalent to that of grass clippings, which are hard to come by during late fall and winter unless you overseed your lawn with ryegrass, which most of us don't do.
After the brewing process, coffee grounds contain up to 2 percent nitrogen. For composting purposes, consider coffee grounds "green" material, similar to grass clippings. Fallen leaves have a 35:1 to 85:1 ratio of carbon to nitrogen. Use one part green material (coffee grounds alone or mixed with grass clippings) to two parts leaves or four parts green material to one part sawdust. Coffee grounds generate heat and will speed up the composting process.
Many coffeehouses would probably be more than happy to give you their used grounds. You can compost paper filters, too. To reduce fruit fly infestations, keep grounds in a covered container, and be sure to cover them in the compost pile.
LATE SUMMER AND early fall is an ideal time to lift day lily clumps, divide and replant them. To object is to get the new divisions to establish a good root system during the fall and late winter period.
The transplanting process is relatively easy. Divide the clumps, retaining as many of the roots as possible with each division. Prior to planting the division, cut back the foliage to one-third its original height.
Day lilies will respond to adequate soil preparation. Loosen the soil and amend with organic matter, such as compost. A light application of fertilizer can be added at planting time. A heaping teaspoonful per plant is adequate. If the soil has not been limed, 1-2 teaspoonfuls of dolomitic lime also can be added. Blend all amendments thoroughly with the soil.
Day lilies should not be planted too deep. A safe rule is to set the new divisions so that the point where the roots and foliage meet is no deeper than one inch below the surface of the soil. Proper planting depths is important in maintaining vigor and flowering of day lilies.
GARDENERS OFTEN NEGLECT their roses during the busy summer months. It is not too late to start rose care again in order to obtain excellent blossoms during the fall. Begin a spray schedule for control of insects and diseases. It is especially important to begin immediately to make a weekly application of a fungicide. This will provide a "protective shield" over the new growth that will greatly reduce black spot and powdery mildew problems.
If roses have not been fertilized recently, an early application of fertilizer in late August or early September would be beneficial. One-fourth cup of an analysis such as 10-10-10 would be desirable for large plants. Be sure to spread the fertilizer well beyond the drip line of the foliage and to "soak in" with a heavy application of water.
As most of you know, the fall months in Augusta are often quite dry. High quality roses must be well watered at least once or twice a week, depending on your soil type.
Sid Mullis is director for the University of Georgia extension service office in Richmond County. Call 821-2349, or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.