MondaySeptember 15, 2014,

Rusty Nails And Coffee Grounds PDF Print E-mail
Written by Connie Moore, Food Editor   
Wednesday, 08 December 2010 22:20

            Ginger ale in cut flowers. Epsom salts in the watering can. Rusty nails in African violet pots. Odd remedies perhaps, but the results can be amazing.





            For years, gardeners have been using household products to boost the growth and blooming of houseplants. A woman in California uses water drained from soaking bean sprouts to boost her Christmas cactus. She eats the sprouts, the cactus gets the water.

            A local reader informed us she puts pencil shavings from her children’s pencil sharpener on top of the soil around her houseplants. She claims it repels aphids and mites. Another reader works a spoonful of used coffee grounds into the soil of large houseplants such as pothos, dracaena and ferns to keep the soil loose, much like our mulching the garden.

            We try these ideas out whenever possible, enjoying houseplants, knowing they make a valuable contribution to a healthy, pleasant looking home. We’ve had a wide variety of plants throughout the years. Some do well, others don’t.

            My grandmother always kept African violets. For years we tried them to no avail. Then a friend whose windowsills were overflowing with blooming violets mentioned that her pots had rusty nails in them. Rifling through cans of rusted nails in the garage, we planted them in the violets. The violets thrive, blooming almost continually.

From my childhood, I remember vines of pothos wrapped ‘round and ‘round large pots here and there in the house. Upon moving five years ago, I tossed the one sickly pot that came with us, only to find hubby digging it out of the trash. He nurtured, repotted and watered with chlorinated water. Last winter we had to shift the winding tendrils across the carpet as it headed for the front door and beyond.

Orchids didn’t do well in my first apartment, but pothos and fern did. I even accepted a hand-me-down flowering Maple, four feet tall. It did well with coffee grounds dug in around it.

There have been Boston ferns and Dallas ferns, palm trees, philodendrons, angel-wing begonias, pine trees. At present the windows are full of geranium, nine pots of blooming Xmas cactus and African violets; and of course, hubby’s pothos. Rusty nails still nourish the violets, coffee grounds the pothos. The cacti have to do without bean sprout water; we’re not much on sprouts.

Muffins go well with morning coffee. Save the grounds.

Fruit Muffins

1 ¾ cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

¼ cup vegetable oil

1 large egg

1 cup sour cream

1 cup sugar

1 cup frozen blueberries or drained

Diced peaches


     Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease or

line with cupcake papers a 12 cup muffin tin.

     In mixing bowl, combine flour, soda, salt.

In another bowl, beat together oil, egg, sour

cream, and sugar. Stir wet ingredients into

dry ingredients. Stir in fruit. Batter will be

very thick.

    Divide batter between cups. Bake for 20

minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center

of muffin comes out clean. Remove muffins from

pan and cool.


     French Muffins


2 cups flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

½ cup sugar

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1 lg. egg

2/3 cup milk

1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted, cooled

Topping: ¼ cup sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon

                ¼ cup butter or margarine, melted


     Sift together flour, baking powder and salt.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease or use

paper cupcake liners for 12 cup muffin tin.

     Stir the ½ cup sugar and cinnamon into flour

mixture. In separate bowl, beat egg and milk.

Blend in 1/3 cup melted butter.

     Stir wet ingredients into dry. Portion out batter

into cups. Bake 15 minutes or until toothpick inserted

in muffin comes out clean.

     Stir together sugar and cinnamon for topping.

Remove muffins from pan. Dip tops in melted butter,

then in sugar mix. Serve warm.

Adapted from Martha White’s Southern Sampler.

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