Thursday, June 4, 2009

Coffee is good for everything.

I frequent a coffeeshop in Los Alamos and I've been collecting tons of coffee grounds for them to put in the garden.

You can mulch your garden with coffee grounds, add them to the soil directly, and you can compost them. You can even water plants with your cold coffee, though I have only really done this with the lawn, I haven't really dared on my vegetables yet for no good reason.

You might think coffee grounds are super acidic since liquid coffee is acidic. Sunset Magazine sent some coffee grounds to a soil lab for analysis, and it turns out they are a bit acidic (~6.4, 7 is neutral pH.)

Slightly acidic anything is good for the highly alkaline soil covering New Mexico and most of the West. I imagine someone with super acidic soil might want to compost them, as finished compost is supposed to end up pretty close to neutral for some reason or another.

So anyways here is how I use coffee grounds: I mainly compost them along with their filters (I'll do another post on how I make my compost pile at some point). I've also mixed them directly into my garden soil and I've mulched with them. The downside to the mulch is it tends to wash away after a good rain. I'd like to experiment at some point to see if a coffee mulch repels ants.

So a final thought -- you can buy compost made from mushrooms, steer manure, cotton burrs and a ton of other agricultural by products. I'm surprised there isn't coffee ground compost that you can buy at garden stores. I imagine I could make a killing off of composted coffee. "Fair Trade Organic Coffee Compost." It think a catchy name is needed though -- that way you can sell it in small bags for a fortune. Have to do it before *$ beats me to it.

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