Crushed egg shells

Tennessee(z7TN)December 19, 2005

Please comment - I have about five or six inches of shredded leaves on my vegetable garden & I am adding my coffee grinds & crushed egg shells to the leaves. My vegetable garden is mostly clay & I want to enrich the soil. Can I till all this into the soil in the spring?

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You could, but there may not be any good reason to do that if the microbes move that material into the soil for you. I would look closely at that soil in the spring to see what is going on before deciding whether to till it or not.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2005 at 7:12AM
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Yes, till it in. The organic matter will help break up the clay soil. Till it in now if the soil isn't too wet.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2005 at 7:59AM
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Coffee grounds are usually best applied to the top of the soil. There are some allelopathic compounds in coffee grounds that can inhibit the growth of some plants.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2005 at 11:32AM
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AbbeysDad(z5 CNY)

Generally speaking it is a bad idea to till in leaves in the spring. High carbon materials will tie up nitrogen in the soil during the decomposition process, which could inhibit plant growth in spring when you need it most. Either opt for no till, or remove the leaves before tilling in the sping.

On the flip side, I shallow till leaves into the garden in the fall. mixing them with the soil speeds decomposition and prevents the leaves from blowing away. Since there's nothing planted until mid to late spring, there's no worry about nitrogen depletion in the soil and the leaves are completely broken down by planting time.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2005 at 1:48PM
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I wouldnt use anything but raised beds where Im at. Hard packed (by construction when the place was built) super lousy rocky soil. If we were staying for more than a few years, we might try...

    Bookmark   December 22, 2005 at 7:29AM
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I am interested in your comment stating that there are 'allelopathic compounds in coffee grounds that can inhibit the growth of some plants'.

Would you be able to elaborate on this? What plants? Any literature? Just curious because I compost with UCGs as my main nitrogen scource (300 lbs./week) and have seen nothing but great results in both sandy and clay soils which I have. I started composting seriously a couple of years ago, and the finished and semi-finished product began going into the garden areas on our new property this year.

Thanks for any more info which you may have.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2005 at 3:54PM
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Miss_Mudcat(SE Indiana z5)

I would say YES, do till those in but try to do so a few weeks before you plant there. Regarding the organic matter tying up nitrogen in the soil, here at my place I have clay soil, too. We are very rich in Nitrogen (judging by the types of weeds, wildflowers and how the root crops perform) and try to use whatever method that will reduce the nitrogen. So here, tilling in leaves or heavily mulching is always helpful.


    Bookmark   January 5, 2006 at 10:13AM
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jwmeyer(Z8 OR)

You may be better letting them first decompose a bit before adding them to the garden....

    Bookmark   January 19, 2006 at 7:03PM
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