Used Tea Leaves/Coffee Grounds/Compost bin

divaelpasotx(8)July 8, 2008

Can anyone tell me the best way to utilize my used tea leaves and coffee grounds? I have over 30 house plants and am a container gardener(apt.dweller) and would also like to know which plants can't tolerate tea or coffee added to the soil, used for watering, or as a foliar spay. One more thing, what is the minimum size for a compost bin?



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Vermicomposting, or composting with worms in an enclosed bin works very nicely in a house. There is a forum just for this topic on Garden Web.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2008 at 10:16PM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

I can't offer much in the way of plant tolerance, but a compost pile usually needs to be about a cubic yard (3x3x3) for it to heat up properly, a little bigger would be better. That's not to say you can't cold compost in smaller quantities, it would just take longer. As for putting coffee grounds in containers, I usually scratch a little into the top inch or so of the soil. Left on top it will mold and if too much is added it will form a crust that repels water. You may want to check out the "Soil, Compost & Mulch", "Vermicomposting" and "Container Gardening" forums for more specific info.


    Bookmark   July 8, 2008 at 10:22PM
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Thanks for the info! I called a local nursery to see if they sell worms for composting(saw it on TV once). I was told I didn't need worms but I could by Liquid Compost mix for $5.99!!!
I need to find worms!!!
I was concerned about the coffee grounds causing mold, so I'm drying them out and then I'll scratch them in. I add cinnamon to my coffee grinds to help curb my appetite, will the cinnamon affect the plants?

    Bookmark   July 9, 2008 at 3:35PM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

Some say cinnamon deters fugus gnats, although I've never tried it, so I doubt it would hurt the plants.


    Bookmark   July 9, 2008 at 10:12PM
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I think you would be able to use the cooled leftover coffee to water your plants with. The only concern is it will stain the saucer or patio where it drains to. You can use the used coffee grounds or tea leaves to make a new batch of coffee or tea for a foliar feed or soil drench. You can use the grounds or tea leaves scratched into the soil. If you have a lawn, you can broadcast the grounds/tea leaves onto the lawn as a sort of fertilizer. I've never tried vermicomposting, as I have 2 compost piles outside, but I think it would be fun and create nice compost, and allow you to feed any other kitchen scraps as well. Laurie

    Bookmark   July 9, 2008 at 11:05PM
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Thanks Laurie,
will the foliar spray need to be refrigerated or should I just make enough for one day?

    Bookmark   July 10, 2008 at 12:16PM
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If you want to try out worms, check out It is my favorite website, next to GardenWeb, to learn stuff. Bentley has lots of info on making your own bins, rather than buying expensive ones. He also sells worms, now, but I haven't bought from him yet.


    Bookmark   July 10, 2008 at 2:47PM
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Thanks for the info Jenifer. When I first thought about composting, I thought (about the worms) "If I save it they will come" because I would usually find them when I was re-potting a plant. The kids want to save a portion of each meal for the worms. They think I want to buy worms and grow them!
I can't wait to get the worms, I'm sure there'll initially be a lot of screaming involved...
(on my part too)!

    Bookmark   July 10, 2008 at 3:46PM
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Re the foliar spray or drench. I would make enough for the one day, using the old tea bags, or just use my un-drunk coffee. You could also refrigerate and use as needed.
Have fun with the worms!

    Bookmark   July 10, 2008 at 10:38PM
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Here is a link that might be useful: cafe grounds

    Bookmark   April 29, 2011 at 11:37AM
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Google C:n ! Get carbon; Nitrogen ratio. Then create your Sale ABLE compost Keeping it mixed ( Breathing) & balanced. Add worms for WORK & Money if u like.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2013 at 8:09PM
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Jennifer - You don't need to buy worms; if you build them a good environment, they will find it. A good environment includes damp well-drained material, which should include some green matter (grass clippings), shredded leaves, manure if available, vegetable/fruit scraps, coffee grounds and any other non-toxic organic matter you have. Meat and meat-eater poop is not acceptable due to the potential for desease. If there is no bottom in your compost pile, the worms will come.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 7:45AM
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