Coffee Grounds

Ralph Whisnant(z7b-8 NC)December 15, 2008

Rich Duquense has a link in the Salvia Forum to an article about using coffee grounds in the garden and in making compost. I thought so much of the article that I am reposting a link here. I collect large quantities of leaves and an occasional truck load of wood chips for composting and for covering the paths between beds in the vegetable garden. I am finding that copious use of coffee grounds greatly speeds up the decomposition process when there is not enough green matter available to supply the nitrogen that the bacteria need. I am curious how many others are using coffee grounds and what your experience has been with this free organic fertilizer.

Here is a link that might be useful: Oregon State Univ. Study Re Coffee Grounds

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nckvilledudes(7a NC)

Use of coffee grounds, which are a nitrogen source, is nothing new. I have been collecting and using them for years to help speed up the decomposition in my compost bin.

The gentleman's name is actually Rich Dufresne who originally posted this on the Salvia Forum.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2008 at 4:47AM
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corar4gw(JAX9A)

Here in Florida, we use them not only for composting but to help control Aisian scale on our Sago. Thank goodness for Starbucks!! cora

    Bookmark   December 16, 2008 at 7:03AM
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ncrescue

I, too, collect from local Starbucks. The stores have been instructed to save them for gardeners, so if you find one that is NOT saving, you need to give them a gentle reminder. One locally in Greensboro had thrown them all in the trash! What a waste!

We put most of them in the compost pile but sometimes around certain plants. Also, the grounds "keep," i.e., if there is a little mold on them, it won't hurt the compost. I try to collect in the winter to stay ahead as in the summer there is huge competition for the grounds. One caution: you CAN use too much. A friend who has a plot in a community garden overdid it. The entire area smelled like coffee for weeks! And his veggies did not do well as they need a more neutral soil rather than acidic.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2008 at 8:57AM
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ncrescue

Forgot to mention that in today's paper there was a brief article dicussing the use of coffee grounds to make biodiesel. Now gardeners will really have competition.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2008 at 9:03AM
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woodsworm(7a NC)

I swear by coffee grounds. After trying various sources, I settled for the dependable Starbucks in my grocery store. The ladies have at least two bags waiting for me every Thursday. Life is good. Like you, I just incorporate them into the pile of shredded leaves, or sometimes into the church's tumbler.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2008 at 9:51PM
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Ralph Whisnant(z7b-8 NC)

I have often wondered how much is too much coffee grounds. It sounds like the person using them in the community garden had not composted them. If used directly on the ground, their decomposition initially removes nitrogen which may be why his veggies did not do well. Also, when composted, coffee grounds are reportedly almost pH neutral. I am glad to hear that they will keep because there are four Starbucks within 5 miles of me and now that other gardeners are not asking for them as often, I can get as much as a hundred pounds within 20 minutes some evenings. Even with a huge leaf and wood chip compost pile, I am running out of ways to use what I am able to easily accumulate.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2008 at 12:03AM
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rootdiggernc(Z-7A NC)

Love my grounds! We use them in compost and I spread them around my gardenias. Just a sprinkle once in a while or sometimes we'll use a little more but work it into the top couple inches. Be careful to not disturb shallow roots.

Worms love them too, and some people use them to feed worm bins. You can put some of the coffee grounds down before you start a new compost pile. They will come!

I've been reading that people are using the leftover whey from kefir and other cheese making processes to water acid loving plants. You dilute it quite a bit first. I just started using it recently on some evergreens. The kefir whey has a slight alcohol content after fermenting (1% or 2%) and I'm wondering how that will effect plants and bug resistance... We'll see what happens.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2008 at 8:52AM
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