Column by Gary Church: Grounds good for garden, and the compost pile

Coffee grounds can be used to make compost and plant fertilizer.

Since I am quite a humble person, I usually don’t brag about what a wonderful husband I am.

One example of what a catch I was for my wife is that every night before I go to bed, I prepare the coffee so in the morning all she has to do is pour the water into the coffee maker. It doesn’t stop there. I lovingly pour her coffee for her, assuming she has placed the cup right in front of me when I’m pouring mine. I know, some of you ladies are drooling over what a gem I am.

There’s more! I throw the coffee grounds away, and clean the pot every night for the next day’s use. I’m sorry ladies, but no, I am not available.

There are other things you can do with your coffee grounds, besides tossing them out like I do, especially if you have a compost pile.

Compost piles are made up of two kinds of compost, brown and green. Coffee grounds are considered green, because they are rich in nitrogen. Food scraps and grass clippings are also considered green.

Brown compost is made up of dry leaves, hay, straw, sawdust, and, yes, newspapers. The ones with my photo in it add a little extra zip to the pile.

A 4-to-1 ratio of brown compost materials to green compost materials is usually needed. If you have too much green, your pile may start to smell, and your wife will complain. If you don’t have enough greens, the pile won’t heat up.

Turning the pile every week or two, and adding water, is also a necessity. Blood meal can also be added to speed up the rate of decomposition.

There is no need to remove the coffee grounds from the coffee filter. Just throw the whole thing in the pile. Just be careful carrying the coffee filter to its final destination. Sometimes it spills, which may or may not be something I’ve done.

You can also make a coffee grounds fertilizer, or as the higher-ups call it, a tea. I guess they call it a tea because it has to seep. Just add two cups of grounds to a 5-gallon bucket of water, and let it seep for a couple of hours or overnight. Stir and pour over your plants as a liquid fertilizer.

Guess who else likes coffee grounds? Riley the worm and his buddies enjoy coffee about as much as you do. You can feed your worms every week or so with a cup of grounds mixed into the soil. Adding a thin layer of coffee grounds, or mixing it into the garden soil, will also attract worms to your garden.

You may have heard that coffee grounds are acidic and will lower the pH in your garden. This is true if you use unprepared coffee. With the price of coffee nowadays, I don’t know of anyone that would open a can of coffee and pour it into the garden. Plus, it may keep the worms up all night, and you know how loud they like to party.

Grounds are not good for a thick mulch around your plants. The water has a hard time getting to the roots if the grounds have meshed together. A thin layer is fine.

Coffee grounds add organic material to help with drainage, add nitrogen fertilizer, and gives our friends the microorganisms a hand.

The alternative to adding the grounds to the compost is tossing them in the garbage can. The garbage can method is much easier, and, to a hard-working guy like myself who waits on his wife hand and foot, may be the simplest method.

Make your space a green space.

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