Day in and day out, many of us, after brewing up that delicious cup, pot, or vat of coffee, end up throwing away our used coffee grounds or old tea bags. Do you have a flower or vegetable garden? Do you love your shrubs? Playing with the idea of composting? Why not give new life to those used coffee grounds and tea leaves and use them as compost or a natural fertilizer for your garden. Now you AND your plants can start your day with a caffeinated smile on your faces ;-)
According to Sunset magazine, by tilling in your used grounds 6-to-8 inches below soil surface, you will increase the amounts of phosphorous, magnesium, copper, and potassium available for uptake by your plants. It's important to keep in mind that you want to incorporate used coffee grounds into your soil as they have a more neutral pH...fresh grounds are acidic and could potentially harm your beloved plants.
Worms LOVE used coffee grounds and tea leaves too, and we know that the more worms in the soil, the more natural aeration occurring in your garden allowing for water and air to increase around the roots of your plants. Vermicomposting totes coffee grounds (and used tea!) as a favorite for worms. Composting and tilling the especially compacted, clay-laden soil that we have in our local area is necessary for happy, healthy plants, so why not add a little coffee ground treat for the worms in the soil too!
As an added bonus, coffee grounds can also be used as a natural slug and snail repellent. Essentially, the caffeine from the coffee grounds stops slugs and snails in their ooey-gooey tracks and they high-tail it out of the area. See the summary from Nature Journal of Science here.
As you can probably imagine, as a coffee roaster and special event coffee vendor, we at Erie Coffee Roasters tend to produce a significant amount of both coffee grounds and chaffe, both of which are great for gardening. Head roaster Nate worked with Kris Korba to find ways we could divert waste from our roastery and help out local gardens and farms.
Kris Korba is a beginning farmer, entrepreneur, experienced landscaper, and whole systems designer. Abundance Ranch, located at Hwy 52 and CR 5, is just one of the places Kris has gone from gardening to farming. As Kris points out, "Building soil is the first step in harvesting yummy veggies! By diverting waste streams such as chaffe and coffee grounds from Erie Coffee Roasters, I'm helping to reduce waste sent to landfills and making beautiful soil possible through worm composting." When not hands on at the farm and "on-call" for folks like us to pick up our natural waste, Kris uses his free time to explore the mountains on his bike. He searches for discarded materials he can use to build with--repurposing with a purpose!
If you have any leads on waste streams or want to talk composting, compost tea, or landscaping with a healthy conscience, please feel free to contact Kris at 303-709-9176.
Happy gardening, happy farming, and Happy Spring!