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! ☕

Tax Day: Tax Tips for Bloggers

*This post is not tax or legal advice. See full disclosure below.*

1040 Tax form

It’s Tax Day! At least for those of you not in Maine or Massachusetts. We have until April 19th to file our returns, because of Patriots’ Day today.

Back in 2012 and 2014, I wrote some posts with tax tips for bloggers. Since the subject of blogging income interests me and many readers as well, I thought I’d revisit the topic. There’s always a new crop of bloggers out there!

Generally, if you earn money blogging, that is considered income. You may have accidentally become an entrepreneur by turning your passion project into a job. Or maybe from the beginning, you wanted to earn money by blogging.

The way you think about your blogging work is key, especially when it comes to the IRS. Once you have the intent to make a profit and you treat your blogging like a business, then you may be considered self-employed.

While you may not be earning full-time money that you can live on, it doesn’t matter. You may be considered self-employed even with a part-time business. The threshold for earnings is surprisingly low according to the IRS.

You have to file an income tax return if your net earnings from self-employment were $400 or more. If your net earnings from self-employment were less than $400, you still have to file an income tax return if you meet any other filing requirement …

There are benefits to treating your blogging as work that you are doing for profit versus a hobby. Below is an IRS rule to remember.

In general, taxpayers may deduct ordinary and necessary expenses for conducting a trade or business or for the production of income. Trade or business activities and activities engaged in for the production of income are activities engaged in for profit.

If you are paying to eat at a restaurant, so you blog about your meal and you are earning advertising revenue on your blog, you might be able to deduct the cost of your meal as an ordinary and necessary expense for conducting the business of your blog.

These are just a few things to think about when you earn money from blogging. Below are links to some recent articles that go into more detail. You may find them interesting and helpful as well.

If you already filed for 2015, this post may come to late, but you can always start planning for next year!

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Tax Tips for Bloggers [Intuit Turbo Tax]

Travel Blogger Denied Tax Writeoff For European Backpacking Trip [Forbes]

Tax Time: What Bloggers Need to Know [Katy Widrick]

Business Expenses for Bloggers (What can I deduct?) [Brilliant Business Moms]

Taxes for Food Bloggers: Deductions. [Fervent Foodie]

The Blogger’s Guide to Tax Deductions [Kimi Who?]

Tax Filing Tips for Freelance Bloggers in the US, UK and Canada [Be a Freelance Blogger]

Home Office Tax Deductions for Small Business Owners [NerdWallet]

Favorite tax deductions of personal finance bloggers [PolicyGenius]

Blogging and Taxes – What You Need to Know [Making Sense of Cents]

Tax Tips for Freelancers in 2016 [Artisan Blog]

Blog Tip Thursday: Tax Tips for Bloggers, Part 1 [Healthy Living Blogs]

Blog Top Thursday: Tax Tips for Bloggers, Part 2 [Healthy Living Blogs]

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Disclaimer: While I am a Massachusetts licensed attorney, I’m not in private practice and not seeking clients. This post is not meant as legal or tax advice. Every individual has unique circumstances and questions. While I love comments on this blog and emails, no tax or legal questions will be answered here or via email. Please consult an attorney or accountant licensed in your jurisdiction for specific questions. The information contained in this post is for general informational purposes only and geared toward bloggers in the United States.

Photo: Image courtesy of Arvind Balaraman / FreeDigitalPhotos.net