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  • Beer and Butterflies, Hops and Commas January 26, 2015
    This is the time of year I think most of us gardening folk are itching to get back out there tending to our plants and critters.  I’ve been taking inventory of my seeds, shopping around for new bee boxes and bird houses and mentally designing new flower beds.  Since my brother and I spend so […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to see all the beau […]
    Judy Burris
  • Florida Winter Birds January 23, 2015
    I’ve had two recent avian visitors that for me are a real treat.  You see migrating birds aren’t exclusively a phenomenon of northern climes.  Florida also has migratory visitors, some merely passing through and some that stay a few months but don’t breed here. If you prepare a Florida winter wildlife garden to their liking, […] We love hearing from you! Ple […]
    Loret T. Setters
  • The Undisclosed Location January 22, 2015
    I love January in Southern California’s Santa Monica Mountains. Recent rain has brought new life to the drought-stricken soil, and new spring green seedlings are sprouting up everywhere. Trails are still wet one week after our 1-day rainstorm.  After waiting all year for rain, native plants waste no time in asserting themselves. This month, the air […] We lo […]
    Kathy Vilim
  • Dead Wood is Not Dead Weight January 21, 2015
    Dead wood from trees provides abundant habitat for wildlife in your garden. We talk often of the value of native trees in your wildlife garden. Trees provide all manner of ecosystem services, and provide food and shelter for many different kinds of wildlife. In fact, native trees support vastly larger numbers of different species of […] We love hearing from […]
    Carole Sevilla Brown
  • Arbor Day? Yes! And It’s All About Florida Trees! January 16, 2015
    Florida weather puts us ahead of the April National Arbor Day planting curve.  The third Friday of January is officially designated as Florida Arbor Day (in Louisiana too!).   Tis our dry season, so I suppose we plant now to get the roots reaching deep for water before rainy season hits and makes it easy.  This […] We love hearing from you! Please click here […]
    Loret T. Setters
  • Can I Make a Difference? January 15, 2015
    How many of you ponder this question? You’re living in a house with a small yard in an urban area. After you plant your tomato and pepper plants, there just isn’t much room left. You hung up a bird feeder – could you do more, you wonder? You hear about the problems with the bees […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to see all the beautiful photos […]
    Ellen Honeycutt
  • Resources for Planning Your Wildlife Garden January 14, 2015
    It’s the Dreaming Season–winter is upon us, and for most of us snow and cold are keeping us inside where it’s warm and cozy, and not outside working in our wildlife gardens. This is the perfect time to plan, and dream about, the steps we will take in our gardens in the coming spring to […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to see all the beautiful […]
    Carole Sevilla Brown
  • Start your rain barrels now January 12, 2015
    This is Old Man Winter’s time, which at a school can translate into a lot of indoor recess time and little to no garden time. Here’s a winter project to keep students’ minds on the gardens and focus their energy when they can’t get outside: Painting rain barrels. We have two rain barrels at Belvedere. Although we don’t use […] We love hearing from you! Pleas […]
    Stacey Evers
  • Planthoppers: Coming to a Lilypad Near You January 10, 2015
    I’m always trying to think ahead of ideas for articles here at Beautiful Wildlife Garden and Native Plants and Wildlife Gardens, two of the blogs where I regularly share tales of the flora and fauna finds in my own garden. In anticipation, I have been gathering photos which convey the biodiversity that American White Waterlily […] We love hearing from you! P […]
    Loret T. Setters

#GardenChat

Garden Grounds

If this is coffee, please bring me some tea;

but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee.

~Abraham Lincoln

Many gardeners wake to greet each day with a hot cup of coffee. If you are among those numbers, good news! You can enjoy your coffee twice by tucking away the grounds for use in the garden or your indoor plant containers. If you’re not a coffee drinker, a trip to the local coffee shop can yield free grounds that would otherwise be tossed out. A trip with hubby to the coffee shop yesterday for free “garden grounds” resulted in a large bag full.

Dried coffee grounds serve several purposes in the garden. Used as a mulch they:

  • Limit slug and snail damage on prone plants such as hosta and lilies.
  • Deter cats from digging in garden beds.
  • Are a source of slow-release nitrogen which results in larger, healthier growth in vegetables and plants. Tomatoes especially appreciate the extra boost from a mulch of used grounds.

Remember, spread the mulch no deeper than 1″ and refrain from adding more until the first have completely decomposed.

Other uses for the dried grounds:

  • Coffee grounds can also be worked into beds and pots before planting as a nutrient rich soil conditioner. Use one cup per garden bed and one tablespoon per average size pot.
  • Dried grounds can be added to acidify soil around acid-loving trees, shrubs and plants like evergreens, azalea, hydrangea, blueberry, lupine, butterfly weed, etc.
  • Dried grounds mixed with carrot and radish seeds results in higher yields and less damage from pests.
  • Use in vermi-composting.
  • Dilute 1/2 pound of grounds in a 5-gallon pail of water for a gentle and fast-acting liquid fertilizer.
  • The ideal use for grounds is in the compost pile.

It’s important to note that coffee grounds are a “green” (nitrogen-rich) additive to your garden soil and compost. To maintain a healthy soil balance, additions of “brown” (carbon) material such as dried leaves or straw is also necessary. The general rule of thumb for healthy composting/soil building is one part “green” to three parts “brown”. Thus, adding one pound of coffee grounds to the compost pile or soil should be balanced by adding three pounds of dried leaves, straw etc. (See here for more.) As with any soil amendment, moderation and observation yields the best results. Happy gardening!

4 comments to Garden Grounds

  • Happiness is a coffee smelling garden… yum…

    Thanks for the reminder about compost additions… I think I’m entirely too ‘green’ in mine…

  • Lisa Gustavson

    The carbon additions to the compost pile are always lacking for us as well. We have plenty of materials when we remember to use them!

  • My grandmother always used to toss out old coffee grinds into the bushes off her back porch and i must say her rhododendrons looked great.

  • Lisa Gustavson

    I’m tempted to try growing rhododendrons again knowing that. I just can’t keep them alive…Maybe one more try! :-) Thank you!

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