After sleep walking my way through some fasting lab work, I couldn't get to the nearest coffee shop fast enough. Ummmm... Hot, Ummmm... Creamy, Ummmm... Sweet. Now, I can move forward with my day.
I somehow imagine my garden microbes under go the same transformation when I feed them coffee grounds. Can you hear them? "Ummm... Nitrogen, Ummm... Phosphorus, Ummmm... Potassium. That slightly acidic PH really excites us, and those micronutrients are so yummy."
Do you feed coffee grounds to your plants? Do you compost them? If you're a gardener and you're not taking advantage of everything coffee grounds have to offer, you're missing out.
So, you say you don't have a good source for spent coffee grounds? Maybe you drink your coffee at the office, or you hit up your local coffee shop. Aha, there it is, the local coffee shop. Think of all the coffee grounds they produce. Wouldn't it be great to be able to have some of those coffee grounds to use in the garden?
Have I got a deal for you!
I've recently become involved in a program that strives to keep nutrient rich coffee grounds out of the landfill and puts them into the hands of gardeners. The program is called Ground to Ground. The idea of the program is to create a network of businesses who are willing to save their coffee grounds and allow gardeners like you and me to pick them up for use in our landscapes.
One of the first businesses to join the program was the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf at 4100 Red River. The store manager, Jessica Anello, is an avid supporter of the program. On my husband's first visit to her store, he garnered six - 5 gallon buckets of coffee grounds. That's a lot of coffee grounds folks. Aren't they wonderful?
Our compost pile has been slow and inactive due to the dry weather and a large influx of fall leaves. Adding coffee grounds to the compost pile provides the additional moisture and nitrogen that the pile needs to heat up.
Coffee grounds, paper filters and tea bags are all welcome additions to my compost pile.
An active compost pile with temperatures of 135 - 160 degrees is optimal for killing pathogens and weed seeds. This steam tells me that the coffee grounds are really helping to heat things up.
The compost bins were built with our tractor in mind. The width of the bin allows the tractor bucket to fit in nicely to turn the pile, or move compost from one bin to another. The simple beams that keep the compost neatly in the bin can be removed. Look at the interesting layers. It's definitely time to mix things up.
Removing composting material from bin three and placing it in bin one is an effective way to mix the pile. Easy peasy!
Compost is a valuable soil amendment in the garden. Because of it's value, finished compost is often referred to as black gold. This wheel barrow is headed straight for the asparagus bed, which has been cleaned and prepped for the spring harvest.
I hope you'll consider visiting the businesses that are now supplying post-use coffee grounds to consumers. The list and map are on the Ground to Ground page of the Compost Coalition's web site. We are striving to add new businesses all the time, so continue to check the list for a store near you.
So, how about it? Give your microbes a little jolt of Joe! They'll thank you for it!