ucg question for ggg (and others too)

trivedi_south(8)June 2, 2011

Good Morning GGG (Georgia's gardening goddess!!).

I have a question for you (others can contribute too). I have been dumping UCG (used coffee grounds) like mad woman around my plants for last 6 wks. I am not composting it or anything like that. I am using it raw, straight from the starbucks garbage straight to the soil.

My question is: Is it OK? Are there any negative effects? Do you have personal experience with using UCG directly into soil with composting it first?

Personally I love it (smells great each time I water plants). I think it may deter the deers too due to strong smell (so far)....once they decompose the smell of coffee might go away.

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bleedenver(z7 GA)

I'm not ggg but which plants are you dumping the UCG under? Be aware that the USG will make the soil more acidic so plants like blueberries and hydrangeas will love the acidity (to a certain extent) since they take up nutrients better in acidic soils.

Other plants prefer a more neutral soil and don't take up nutrients as well when the PH is too low. And some plants like tomatoes and peppers will get more BER (blossom end rot) becuase of it.

Also, note that using UCG as a fertilizer mainly supplies nitrogen so you should also supply the P and K as needed.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2011 at 12:06PM
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Thank you bleedenver.

I have been reading articles and they all seem to be saying that UCG being acidic is a "persisten myth" about the UCG and various studies conducted prove that UCG are neutral.

However some studies/articles say do not use it without composting it first (do not spread UCG directly onto plant beds). I have ordered products from gardenalive before and was wondering on reliability of this source.


So in the end, instead of researching it furthur and getting confused, I have decided to ask people who have been spreading UCG directly onto plant beds and get THEIR experiences and rely on that.

Personally I love the stuff and will keep getting them. I may put it in my compost pile first and use it once composted.

I am newbie as far as gardening is concerned. I added green grass clipping on my tomatoes last year and ruined the whole crop...so didn't want to make similar "mistake" with UCG and wanted to run it by some smart folks here.

Thanks again for your help.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2011 at 2:45PM
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girlgroupgirl(8 ATL)

bleedenver certainly gives a great answer to your question trivedi_south! Coffee Grounds are SUPER for those acid lovers: azaleas, camellias (to some degree, I put a bit but not much on them) - I do occasionally but not often put coffee and tea (less grounds, more of the "wash out bottom of the pot" stuff on my lorapetalum and roses. Normally coffee grounds go directly into our compost.
When I spread the compost in my vegetable garden I temper it with Lime *if needed* (I have a lot of lime in the beds now, I probably won't add any more for a year).
The only time I've used coffee grounds directly in the soil is when I am building lagsana beds (which I am doing in the far back). I have coffee grounds AND many crushed up egg shells spread around. They will eventually tempter one another. I'm only putting these in areas that I will be planting neutral (don't much care about acid: like dwarf abelia) or lower fruit bushes (aronia).
At church we've used coffee and tea on our blueberries after a good pruning with wonderful effect. The plants have been much stronger and the fruit much better tasting and sweeter for the acid.

Some information on Gardens Alive is very good information, some related to some products is not information I would give (I would not sell people a product I don't believe in anyway).

If you can get large amounts of the coffee grounds, why not start a lovely compost heap. If you can keep it running hot enough you can put all of your garden waste in there and turn it into garden gold!!!

    Bookmark   June 2, 2011 at 3:16PM
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ggg and bleedenver seem to be perpetuating the "UCGs are acidic thing". Not true, according to that I've read, and that's been a lot, a lot.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2011 at 8:40PM
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Thank you all kind folks for helping and contributing your thoughts. Much appreciated.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2011 at 10:02PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

See the link below for an interesting article on used coffee grounds.

Chalker-Scott is almost always worth consulting on controversial gardening subjects.

Here is a link that might be useful: Linda Chalker-Scott on Used Coffe Grounds

    Bookmark   June 4, 2011 at 11:44PM
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I use them directly in my garden occasionally - mostly because they seem to deter ants and slugs. I've put them around beans and huckleberries (with ants), eggplant, and around chinese cabbage being devoured by slugs and flea beetles. I don't know that there's a big enhancement from the nitrogen as I'm not applying much, but they do seem to keep ants and slugs out temporarily anyway. I did try a shallow layer all the way around my cabbage/brocoli bed for the slugs and it seemed to work for a couple of days, then they were back... The iron stuff was more effective for slugs.


    Bookmark   June 16, 2011 at 5:44PM
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Thank you Cindy.

I have been dumpting it un-composted into plant bed since posting this as well.

I did see a "water barrier" created when UCG dried up a bit and used a garden three pronged tool to scratch and blend it in.

In winter I plant to add UCG into compost and compost it first.

Thanks for your help Cindy.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2011 at 11:26PM
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