Roses, Coffee & A Plant Hack

roses

Do you know the countries that supply the world with roses? According to an article that I just read in Quartz, for this past Valentine’s Day, the top cut rose exporter was Netherlands with 42.4%. Coming in second was Ecuador with 20.9%. Kenya was third with14.7%. Fourth was Columbia with 12.8%. Rounding out the top five was Ethiopia with 4.3%.

When I think of Kenya, I often think of coffee. Now that I look closer at this list, my mind often links Ethiopia and Columbia with coffee too. There are rich nutrients in the soil of lands where coffee beans and roses flourish.

A few days ago, I wrote about my problems growing roses. Back then, I hadn’t learned about the coffee hack for plants. Years ago, I heard that putting coffee grounds in or on the soil would help house plants. That never worked for me.

The coffee rose connection reminds me of the pH level of soil. I’ve never tested the pH level of the soil that I use. Maybe it’s something I can see on the packaging? I’ll have to look. According to a Homes & Gardens article, pH stands for “potential of Hydrogen.” I know I learned this back in grade school at some point! Acidity and alkalinity are measured against the pH scale. The scale measures different types of things, not just soil.

Water is also measured with this scale. The U.S. Dept. of the Interior states that the pH scale goes from 0 to 14, with 7 being neutral. A pH under 7 indicates an acid and over 7 indicates a base, also referred to as alkali. Medical News Today states that the purest water is right in the middle with a pH of 7. An acid like vinegar has a pH of 2. Bleach, an alkaline, has a pH of 13.5.

Coffee Hack For Plants

Coffee is acidic, with a pH level ranging from 4 to 5, according to Healthline. I’m not sure of the pH level needed for the soil best to grow coffee or roses. However, it seems that depending upon the pH level of soil that you’re starting with, you’ll either make the soil more acidic or get it closer to being neutral if you add coffee grounds.

The Homes & Gardens article states that most plants prefer somewhat acidic soil (pH 6.5) but vegetables prefer more alkaline soil (7.5). I’m a proud plant parent with 30 plants at the moment and they mostly do quite well. Cacti, roses and African violets tend to be challenges for me. However, a few things changed. Snake plants used to be a problem and now one is thriving! A former neighbor gave me two baby snake plants. The soil was a different mixture than what I usually used. They grew a lot after just a few months. I repotted them together into one pot for a fuller plant. This plant is getting so tall now! The coffee hack isn’t the miracle here though.

Likewise, my cebu blue pothos and zz plant are both growing like crazy now after doing nothing for a year. My aunt suggested adding coffee. Not coffee grounds. She said to reserve a bit of the coffee that I would normally drink and use it to water the plants. I tried. Within a couple of weeks, the zz started growing new shoots! The cebu blue grows so fast now that I made cuttings and have several of these plants. The coffee hack absolutely works.

I water the cebu blue once every seven to ten days. For the zz, I water once every 10 -14 days. I also water my impatiens with coffee water and it has more flowers. Impatiens like a lot of water, so I water twice a week. I don’t use coffee water each time I water the impatiens, but at least every other watering. It’s an ongoing experiment though. The timing changes depending on the season and with each plant.

Recently, I’ve tweaked the coffee hack a bit. Instead of taking from the coffee that I drink, I remove the coffee filter with the grounds still in it. So more coffee for me to get my morning jolt. The coffee hack works for people too! I put the filter in a small glass of water, so the grounds don’t come out, but continues filtering into the water. After a few hours, I take out the filter and use the water for my plants.

If you try the coffee hack for your plants, let me know! ☕

Condemning Trump’s Comments Regarding the African Diaspora

A few months ago, I did an Ancestry DNA test. Now for the first time, I have the names of African countries where my ancestors came from: Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, Congo, Mali, Benin, Togo, Senegal. It’s an amazing feeling to have that information.

In direct opposition to that feeling, each day Donald Trump’s increasingly racist comments are an assault on my mind and soul. He is morally repugnant. Ignorant and hateful. I condemn him and all that he represents.

The most recent abhorrent statements by Trump referred to Haiti and African countries in general as “s***hole” countries. The context of these statements were in regards to immigration policy. He then went on to say that he’d prefer that people come to the United States from countries like Norway.

Many have since denounced his comments. The Government of Botswana issued a statement asking if they are considered one of those countries and further stating that they “view the utterances by the current American President as highly irresponsible, reprehensible and racist.”

The African Group of Ambassadors to the United Nations met in an emergency session yesterday to consider Trump’s remarks. They issued a statement demanding a retraction and an apology.

Among other things, they said they are “extremely appalled at, and strongly condemns the outrageous, racist and xenophobic remarks attributed to the President” and further stated that they are “concerned at the continuing and growing trend from the US Administration towards Africa and people of African descent to denigrate the continent and people of colour.”

In the wake of all of this, there are a few things that I would like to state.

There are 54 countries in the African continent.

The birthplace of human kind is in Africa.

Africa is brimming with precious resources. Called a new form of “colonial pillaging,” African bio-resources are exploited by the West.

In September 2017 at the United Nations General Assembly, Trump stated, “Africa has tremendous business potential, I have so many friends going to your countries trying to get rich. I congratulate you, they’re spending a lot of money. It has tremendous business potential, representing huge amounts of different markets. … It’s really become a place they have to go, that they want to go.”

Donald Trump Jr. has a history of visiting Africa to kill wildlife.

The conversation around Trump’s comments has degenerated into talking about “s***hole” countries that people have left to come to the United States. I hate the focus on that word.

Instead, I wish the conversation would elevate to how the Continent is rich with resources and beauty that everyone wants.

Further, the people from this magnificent continent make-up the African Diaspora, who have shown unshakeable resilience and bravery in the face of terror and horror over centuries and brought beauty and culture throughout the world.

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Image: Public Radio International