uses for coffee grounds and tea

7 Outdoor Uses for Coffee Grounds (and Tea)

It’s hard to know what to do with leftovers in your home – especially coffee grounds. With many Americans drinking over 3 cups a day and spending nearly $20 each week, there’s a ton of waste! No worries though, because in this article, you’ll find many uses for coffee grounds (and tea) to help be green on the Earth.

uses for coffee grounds and tea

Source: Fix.com Blog




1. Use Your Coffee Grounds as Mulch

You can mix your used coffee grounds with another type of mulch in order to see benefits. You’ll want to be careful though as too much coffee can be a barrier to moisture and air. A perfect mix of coffee and existing mulch can help improve the growth of certain plants.

2. Make a Better Compost Pile

With a high nitrogen content, coffee grounds are perfect for adding into your compost. Another benefit is that worms can be attracted to the compost which will help with even more garden benefits.

3. Change the Color of Flowering Plants

In case you weren’t aware, some flowers actually change color when the pH level of soil is changed. Reducing the level will help give you bright blue flowers in something like a hydrangea.

4. Create Your Own Fertilizer

Mix 1/2 cup of coffee grounds per 1 gallon of water and you can use this for your plants. What develops is a homemade fertilizer that is kid-friendly for any area of your yard or garden. Plus, you can save a few bucks compared to a pre-made organic fertilizer.

5. Repel Insects like Ants and Slugs

Create a ring around your most precious plants to make these insects turn away from nipping on your plants. As an added option, take some used egg shells, grind them up, and add them in the mixture. Bugs will opt for another path around.

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6. Store Used Coffee Grounds for Garden

When you decided to reuse your grounds, they need to be dry. From our experience at home, storing them inside of a container with a lid is not a good idea! You need a place for them to dry out – maybe consider following these directions with a baker’s tray.

7. Suppress Those Weeds You Love

While not as surefire as some of the other ways to use your coffee, adding it to keep the weeds down can help. Although you’ll want to be careful as some plants that may be around the weeds (like tomatoes) will have an adverse effect.

How are your coffee grounds used? Leave something in the comments below to let others know your creative thoughts!

gardena-smart-system

Gardena Smart System: The Future of Automated Lawn Care

Thank you to Lyle MacLeod of easylawnmowing.co.uk for this Gardena Smart System review. It is packed full of details and features that the automated system has to help maintain your outdoor lawn needs.

For those out there that don’t want to get their hands dirty and work up a sweat maintaining their lawn, Gardena may have brought out the solution for you. They have combined their Sileno Robotic Lawn Mower, Smart Sensor, Smart Water Control and Smart Gateway into a nice little package so that you can get all that hard work done from the palm of your hand – the Gardena Smart System.

As of April 2017, The Gardena Smart System products are available in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Netherlands, Scandinavia, UK, France, Italy and Poland.

This system features a range of sensors which detects and keeps track of rainfall, sunlight, temperature and grass growth, and according to all these factors it will determine how often your lawn needs watered and mowed (but you can alter this if you so please). All the components are connected via the Gardena Smart System App and work as a unit to control the changing conditions of your grass to which ever specifications you would like.

Gardena Smart System Overview Video

Smart Gateway

This component produces an internet connection via an existing rooter to connect all the systems together and communicates wirelessly to all devices through the Gardena Smart App. With strong antennae in the smart Water Control and smart Sensor, this system guarantees cable-free connection from the Gateway to the rest of the components and ensures that this connection remains strong and stable even over large areas (1000m²).

It is in this way that the Gateway acts as the core of the entire Smart System.




Smart Water Control

According to the data sent through from the smart Sensor, the Water Control will automatically adapt how much water is supplied to your garden to make for more efficient irrigation of your plants and grass. The system will be aware of the outside temperature, light intensity and soil moisture, so if it’s damp, cloudy and cold it’ll put out a little less than usual and if it’s dry, sunny and warm it’ll put out a little more than usual.

But if you want to take a more control of the output and even arrange the Sileno mowing times so it coincides with the watering times, you can do so using the Gardena Smart App. You can program which days and times (1min – 10hrs) it operates, so it can be working away when you’re not at home, and you can alter the irrigation rhythm it uses.

Probably the best and most useful feature of the Water Control is that its temperature sensor will warm of any signs of frost, at which point you’ll need to disconnect, remove and store the device inside to keep it safe. It’ll also tell you when it needs new batteries, if anything is wrong with the system (with the use of LED lights) and provides you with relevant and up-to-date measurement data. This really is a very smart and effective system that could save you a boat load of stress and time.

The Water control is a small system with dimensions of 12.3×15.9×12.3cm and a weight of 404 grams so you shouldn’t have a problem finding a place for it in your garden. Allow you will need to make sure that it can connect to a legendary 3 x AA 1.5V alkaline battery from your house otherwise it won’t work.


Sileno Robotic Lawnmower

This device ensures that your grass is kept at the desired height throughout the year. It operates on a daily basis, only taking the tinniest of clippings so that your lawn is cut evenly at all times and will not have any visible stripes thanks to the Silenos SensorCut System. This makes for better lawn health and growth as the clippings will act as natural fertiliser to supply your lawn the nutrients it needs. In comparison to the regular push mower, the Sileno not only makes for easier lawn maintenance but also much better results!

The Sileno, as the name suggests, is a very quiet machine operating at only 58 decibels, this makes it not only quieter than your push mower but also every other robotic lawnmower in the market. This means you really can send it out whenever you want, be it in the middle of the day or during the night, you can rest assured that it won’t be annoying anybody.

You can program the unit either using its control panel or, like the other components, you can use the Smart System App. This allows you to change its mowing times, which you can align with your watering times, and its mowing height so that it adapts to the different growing seasons.

Now if you have a slightly more complicated lawn than most, i.e. with some narrow passages, then don’t worry the Sileno will handle these without a problem. With its EasyPassage function the mower can pass through these corridors with ease and won’t leave any tracks behind. All you need to do is make sure it’s boundary wires are set up correctly in these areas and the Sileno will work like a charm.




Smart System Sensor

Real- time updates from your garden. Light, temperature and soil moisture will be tracked and can be checked via the app at any time.

This unit gathers on the weather conditions within your garden – the temperature, light intensity and soil moisture – and sends out this data to its counterparts so that they can alter their actions and outputs accordingly. This data is also forwarded to the Smart App where you can make further changes.

In order for it to measure the soil moisture content it needs to be place within the ground and beside your plants, this makes for more reliable results as it’s right beside the plant roots. As the antennae provide a strong and reliable connection between all components, the smart sensor will operate in even large gardens without a problem.

You might also enjoy:

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Smart App

The Gardena app is completely free and can be downloaded onto all Android and iOS devices. As I have mentioned above, you can control mowing times, watering times and see all the important information picked up by the Smart Sensor. Provided you have data and signal, you can keep complete control of your lawn and adapt the systems settings as you so please with just the tap of the screen.




Brief Summary of the Automated Smart System

Overall I think the Gardena Smart System really could change the way we maintain our gardens for the years to come. It takes out all the hard work of maintaining the lawn, requires almost no effort to operate and gives everyone the chance of having a brilliant looking garden. It’s just a fantastic piece of technology!

Find out more about Easy Lawn mowing on their Facebook or Google Plus pages.

Grass Clippings – Issue #01

grass clippings featured

Grass Clippings - Issue #01

snippets beyond the lawn


Although it would be awesome to write a review for every outdoor-related product out there, it's not feasible with the millions of products on the market. But, sometimes there are things that deserve a mention with some highlights to go along with them.

Have a look through these items in this issue of Grass Clippings, a quick snippet of different stuff related (or not) to the typical outdoor lawn products. 

coleman inflatable hot tub

If you don't have the money to spend on a traditional hot tub, an inflatable version might be right in your budget. 

  • Fits 4-6 people
  • DIgital Control Panel
  • Bubble Jets!

Compared to putting up a new fence which can run $5-$100 per foot, using a wireless fence for your animal can definitely save some money!

  • Covers up to 1/2 acre
  • Adjustable levels of correction
  • No wires to bury!

Growing up with a pool vacuum, I know what it's like to have to worry about the hook up, maintenance, and clean-up of a pool vacuum. Why not let a robot do it?

  • Scrubs, Vacuums and Filters All Pool Surfaces
  • Preset timer for auto-cleaning schedules
  • Included remote control

The cost of a portable projector are really starting to drop. This pico projector supports up to 1080p and puts out 500 lumens!

  • Use apps like Netflix. Hulu, and YouTube
  • Fits in your pocket for portability
  • HDMI input to connect game system or laptop

World's first smart guitar. Connect this to your iPhone or Apple device and start jamming out. Uses a wireless connection so no wires!

  • Interactive teaching apps to learn chords
  • Display fingers on screen in real-time
  • Perfect for travel due to size

All of the items in this issue of Grass Clippings are definitely something worth recommending. I'd say that until we are able to get a fence in our backyard, my first pick would be the PetSafe wireless fence since our puppy things it's hilarious to run away from us close to the street.

We hope you enjoyed these items and look forward to the next issue of Grass Clippings! If you have any suggested items you'd like to submit, you can do so below.

Suggestion for a Grass Clippings Product?

electric weed eater string

10 Reasons You Should Switch to an Electric Weed Eater

If you're still thinking about making the switch to an electric weed eater from gas, these five reasons show the benefits of finally making the jump. With more power from cordless trimmers, there's not many scenarios where you should continue using a gas powered weed eater.

Just to clarify, all of the reasons listed here are for cordless options, not corded. In recent years, corded options are dwindling because of the capabilities of newer lithium-ion battery technologies.

1. No more mixing gas and oil improperly

Oops, that was a little too much gas. Oh well, that'll be fine.

Most of us are familiar with the times too much oil or too much gas was used in the gas trimmer. Unless you are buying pre-mixed solution, it's really hard to make sure the exact ratio is followed.

2. Electric weed eaters are stupid easy to start

I know it's the first start of the year, but twenty pulls on this string is ridiculous!

Even using the highest priced weed eaters the following year, I highly doubt they will be starting on the first string pull. Use the below guide to learn how to start an electric weed eater:

  • Insert the battery
  • Push the button

My ratio of oil to gas for my weed trimmer isn't working. Maybe it's time to switch to an electric weed eater. #electriclawn

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3. Less noise to annoy the neighbors with

"Hey Bob, how's life?" (Holding a conversation while trimming)

Compared with gas weed eaters, electric alternatives are proven to be more quiet. That means even late in the evening you can trim the yard without bothering the neighbor's dinner or movie time. In addition, no more need for earmuffs.

4. Absolute freedom from cords

[FACT] Two things people do: cut their own cord or trip on it.

Limitations suck. Period. It doesn't matter if it's a vacuum or a weed eater, running out of cable is frustrating and plain annoying. There are many other words that fit here, but these should work fine.

5. Eco-friendly: no gas, oil, or fumes to worry about 

Crap. Spilled gas again. And, there goes oil in my yard where my garden plants grow. And then I eat them.

Aside from the lovely thought of never needing gas again, not having to worry about oil or getting light-headed from the fumes seems like a good trade-off.

6. Super low maintenance

Let me grab my socket wrench so I can change this spark plug.

Let's do a quick comparison of maintenance required for both types of trimmers.

Gas-powered

  • Clean away dirt
  • Inspect for damage
  • Check and replace air filter
  • Adjust the idle speed
  • Clean or replace spark plug
  • Check and add oil
  • Change the oil

Electric

  • Clean away dirt
  • Inspect for damage
  • Follow proper battery care

Pretty clear here on the workload required. Depending on which trimmer you have, there might also be a fuel filter (for gas) to check and replace. 

7. Newer electric weed eaters do not lack power

My new cordless weed eater does just fine. It can slice through dandelions and single blades of grass effortlessly. -Said someone in the early 2000s

There were a few issues in the past with cordless weed eaters. No power, short use time, and long charge time. When the trim work was done (normally about 15 minutes or less), it took a long time to recharge the battery. Also, if anyone wanted to cut through something thick, they didn't even attempt it.

8. Storage is quick and painless

Hold on honey, I need to empty everything from the weed eater for storage.

Once done using the electric trimmer, just pull out the battery and put it in the charger. Lay the weed eater anywhere you'd like. It's that easy.

9. Lightweight: perfect for grab-n-go

Where'd that shoulder strap go?

Lighter means less strain on muscles and easier maneuvering for getting things done. I've never met someone who'd rather have a heavier piece of equipment -- speaking in weed eater terms of course.

10. Shared batteries with other electric equipment

Yep, I'm done with the chainsaw. Looks like there's still some battery left.

Many manufacturers are making universal lawn equipment that share batteries. You can remove the battery from a leaf blower and go directly to your weed eater. Even some lawn mowers can share with the trimmer.


Hopefully these reasons have shed some light on moving to an electric setup. Of course, there are other reasons to consider in your personal situation. 

Electric lawn trimmer on an oblique grass.

Best Electric Weed Eater: All Cordless Options

Cordless electric weed eaters didn’t used to be great with low battery life, long charge times, and minimal power. A lot has changed within the last decade. The following equipment on this page are the best weed eaters that have very similar features.

Since last year, I’ve become a big Greenworks fan. In my post about the new Greenworks electric mower, you can see some of the reasons why it is a great buy.

Even since last summer, there have been many other brands that I’ve noticed starting to gain traction in the electric market. Brands like Black+Decker, Toro, and even Dewalt branded electric trimmers.

Since it was a big move from a gas mower to an all-electric machine (with just batteries!) I have been thinking about getting the matching Greenworks weed eater. One of the neatest features of the Greenworks line-up is the ability to swap batteries between all of the tools.

One of the areas that Greenworks stands out (at least in the beginning) was the 40V option. Since many other cordless options were lower, 40V batteries are really the turn-around in the electric equipment industry.

In case you aren’t aware, this is really the beginning of using a battery that is consistent in power and actually provides capabilities for the outdoor work trying to be completed.

What is the Best Electric Weed Eater (or Trimmer) Right Now?

Although the marketplace is going to change, within the last couple of years to the present, many weed eater models have come out with their own set of features, so it’s hard to answer, “What’s the absolute best?”

For example, some come with a guide that folds down to help prevent cutting down plants, others will have a high or low switch to conserve battery power.

One of the biggest factors I think about is: does it do anything else? Can it also be an edger?

In previous years, power has been an issue. Trying to get the same power in a cordless weed eater that doesn’t have a physical connection to an outlet has been tough.

Now, with newer lithium-ion technology, batteries are stronger, more consistent, and provide equivalent power to a corded weed trimmer.

Without being partial to Greenworks (just because I own their mower) I thought it would be fair to list out other similar cordless electric weed eaters.

Greenworks 21302 G-MAX 40V Cordless String Trimmer

GreenWorks 21302 G-MAX 40V
GreenWorks 21302 G-MAX 40V

PROS

  • Edging Wheel
  • Up to 30-min runtime (2AH)
  • 3-position pivoting head
  • 13" Trimmer

CONS

  • Auto-feed line could be an issue
  • Over 9 lbs.

Did You Know? Greenworks offers great warranty coverage. A 4-year warranty for the equipment and a 2-year warranty for batteries.

Ryobi RY40210 Electric 40V Cordless String Trimmer Edger

Ryobi RY40210 Electric 40V String Trimmer Edger
Ryobi RY40210 Electric 40V

PROS

  • 10-13" adjustable string width
  • Up to 30-min runtime (2AH)
  • 3-position pivoting head
  • Variable Speed Trigger

CONS

  • Battery is only 1.6AH
  • Over 9 lbs.

Did You Know? Ryobi will extend your warranty to 5 years for all 40V Lithium-ion tools. 

BLACK+DECKER LST136W 40V MAX Lithium Ion String Trimmer, 13"

BLACK+DECKER LST136W 40V MAX Lithium Ion String Trimmer, 13
BLACK+DECKER LST136W 40V

PROS

  • Dial for max power or max runtime
  • Converts from trimmer to edger
  • Less than 8 lbs.
  • 60-min fast charger

CONS

Did You Know? Black+Decker offers a 3-year warranty as long as the equipment is used in a home environment (i.e. not commercial use)

DEWALT DCST920P1 20V MAX 5.0 Ah Lithium Ion XR Brushless String Trimmer

DEWALT DCST920P1 20V MAX 5.0 Ah Lithium Ion XR Brushless String Trimmer
DEWALT DCST920P1 20V

PROS

  • Brushless Motor
  • 5AH Battery
  • Hi/Lo power setting
  • No auto-feed, bump allowed
  • Instant-on

CONS

  • 20V Battery
  • Minimal guard for protection
  • High-setting consumes excess battery

Did You Know? Dewalt offers a 3-year warranty, but also includes a 1-year free service warranty for normal use or worn parts. 

WORX 32-Volt GT2.0 String Trimmer/Edger/Mini-Mower

WORX GT2.0 32-Volt String Trimmer/Edger/Mini-Mower
WORX GT2.0 32-Volt

PROS

  • Adjustable spacer guard to protect plants
  • Converts to a mini-mower!
  • Quick-release trigger for height adjustments

CONS

  • 12-inch cutting diameter
  • Charge-time approx. 3 hours
  • 32V Trimmer

Did You Know? You can get an extension of the Worx standard 2-year warranty by registering your product after purchase. 2+1 equals 3 year warranty.

If you have used a corded weed eater before, you know the struggle! Walking over the cord, yanking it back and forth as you walk around, and of course, being short-handed when you need it most.

Another problem arises with gas weed eaters. You have to worry about mixing the oil and gas (just right) and then filling it back up once empty.

It’s not a surprise that manufacturers are moving to more of an electric society and it makes sense. Plus, most of the equipment comes with a two or three year warranty covering regular use of the weed eater or trimmer.

I’m really big on having an #electriclawn and hope to move all the way to electric equipment for my yard. Ideally, the mower can be replaced, the trimmer, chainsaw, and other tools out there that are used each year. 

Stay tuned for another related post to electric lawn equipment!

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