Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Caffeinated Garden

Attractive and transportable container
A little coffee gets me going every morning.  Believe it or not,  it can also perk up your garden.  A while back, a contributor to an online garden forum mentioned that she saved her coffee grounds to spread over her garden.  She said it would enrich the soil and attract beneficial earthworms.  So rather than dumping my spent grounds in the trash,  I stated dumping them in the garden.

An article that I read from Sunset magazine reported that these grounds provide generous amounts of phosphorous, potassium, magnesium, and copper.  As the grounds decay, they also release nitrogen into soil.  After several seasons, I have also noticed an increase in earthworms in my Hamptons garden.  In return for this tasty treat, these ground dwellers have been aerating the soil as they burrow.  A perfect symbiotic relationship.

Running outdoors after each brew with a dripping filter became a bit too much for me.  I found a countertop compost container that looked similar to my other ceramic storage canisters. With its charcoal filter, it keeps my coffee refuge odor-free.  When my gallon container fills up,  I go out and lightly spread the grounds over the beds and lawn.  I do this all year long, including winter.  In spring, I also mix some grounds into the potting soil mixes that I blend for container plantings. Those hard-working annuals need a daily fix too.

If tea is more to your taste than coffee, don't fret.  I discovered a while back that Starbucks has a "Grounds for the Garden" program where they actually package their used grounds in five-pound bags and give them away free for the asking.  But it's best to call ahead.  Those baristas go through a lot of grounds, but don't start packing them to take away until you ask.

So during these cold mornings when you're savoring your cup of Joe, don't forget to spread the love.

Fueled, in part, by coffee grounds


Brenda said...

I can vouch for your findings, we have been doing this for a few years and it really does make a difference - love the composter - I have the same one and it works quite well.

Great post with lots of info!

Jeff, Gardener in Chief said...

Thanks Brenda. Since the contents of one canister only spreads so far, I think I need to create a log of the areas covered each time. Want to make sure that I spread the love to all the beds.