Composting with Coffee Grounds



Composting With Coffee Grounds


Coffee grounds are so useful in your compost that they can actually replace manure or like substances altogether. Thanks to their nitrogen rich nature, after composting they can be spread about in your garden or growing area by directly sprinkling a layer on the topsoil or turning over the top 2” or so of your soil, adding the composted material as you go. Despite what most believe about coffee grounds, they are not acidic. In fact, after brewing they are nearly a perfect 7 or neutral pH. They also strongly benefit the beneficial bacteria in your soil and compost bin and are digestible by worms or other helpers in your compost as well. This makes them the perfect replacement for manure or like materials, having a carbon-nitrogen ratio of 20:1 and there is no danger of the passing of pathogens either, particularly in the handling of the compost. While coffee grounds appear to develop mold, particularly in storage, this is actually yet another beneficial property of the grounds. The natural mold and fungus on coffee can suppress all pathogenic or non-beneficial fungi, including fusarium, pythium, and sclerotinia varieties. Add to this the fact that coffee grounds increase the temperature of the compost, you also have a perfect material for wiping out harmful bacteria and aiding beneficial bacteria in your compost as well.

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Tea Bags – Recycling Tips for Garden use



You may not be English and have a cup of tea at various times throughout the day but many people do drink tea quite often.  There are so many different ways to reuse a teabag (other than obviously making another cup). Here are some favorite gardening recycling tips for tea bags that you can incorporate into your tea drinking ritual.


Coffee Grounds a Good Substitute for Manure in the Garden



Coffee grounds can be an excellent addition to a compost pile. The grounds are relatively rich in nitrogen, providing bacteria the energy they need to turn organic matter into compost. About two percent nitrogen by volume, used coffee grounds can be a safe substitute for nitrogen-rich manure in the compost pile, explained Cindy Wise, coordinator of the compost specialist program at the Lane County office of the Oregon State University Extension Service. “A lot of people don’t want to use manure because of concerns about pathogens,” she said. Contrary to popular belief, coffee grounds are not acidic. After brewing, the grounds are close to pH neutral, between 6.5 and 6.8. The acid in the beans is mostly water-soluble, so it leaches out into the brewed coffee. Since 2001, Wise has trained and coordinated OSU compost specialist volunteers who have collected and composted nearly 200 tons of coffee grounds from 13 coffee shops and kiosks in Eugene, Springfield, Florence, Cottage Grove, and Veneta. That’s the equivalent of about 25 large dump
trucks full of coffee grounds.

Lane County alone is estimated to generate 1 million pounds of used coffee grounds per year, Wise said. “Recycling this valuable soil amendment and compost ingredient makes sense both economically and environmentally,” she said. Wise is encouraging gardeners and those that compost in other communities to arrange to collect coffee shop grounds for composting. But be sure to make prior arrangements with a coffee shop to collect grounds. Then, take a clean five-gallon bucket with a lid, label it with your name and telephone number on the bucket and lid and leave it at the shop and then pick it up at the shop’s convenience. Here are some suggestions for using composted grounds in the yard and garden from the OSU Extension compost specialists:

-Mix grounds into soil as an amendment. Make sure to keep them damp. 
-Spread grounds on the soil surface, then cover them with leaves or bark mulch.
-Add grounds to your compost pile, layering one part leaves to one part fresh grass clippings to one part coffee grounds, by volume.Turn once a week. This will be ready in three to six months.
-Or, put them in an existing unturned pile. Just make sure to add a high carbon source, such as leaves to balance it.
-Grounds may be stored for future use. They may develop molds but these appear to be consumed during the composting process. Or a large plastic bag works for storage as well.
-Paper coffee filters may be composted with the grounds.
-Keep in mind that uncomposted coffee grounds are NOT a nitrogen
fertilizer. Coffee grounds have a carbon-to-nitrogen ration of about 20:1, in the same range as animal manure. Germination tests in Eugene showed that uncomposted coffee grounds, added to soil as about one-fourth the volume, showed poor germination and stunted growth in lettuce seed.

Therefore, they need to be composted before using near plants. Wise and her composting protagees have been conducting informal research on composting coffee grounds. So far, they have observed that coffee grounds help to sustain high temperatures in compost piles. High temperatures reduce potentially dangerous pathogens and kill seeds from weeds and vegetables that were added to the piles. They have noticed that coffee grounds seem to improve soil structure, plus attract earthworms. When coffee grounds made up 25 percent of the volume of their compost piles, temperatures in the piles stayed between 135 degrees and 155 degrees for at least two weeks, enough time to have killed a “significant portion” of the pathogens and seeds. In contrast, the manure in the trials
didn’t sustain the heat as long..

“We were amazed at the results we got with coffee grounds when we did thetrial,” Wise said. Jack Hannigan, an extension-trained compost specialist, is pleased with the results he gets from the coffee grounds he collects from the Fast Lane Coffee Company in Springfield to use on his farm in Pleasant Hill. “I make hotbeds that run about 150 degrees,” Hannigan said. “It kills the weeds. I can get the piles hotter and break down the compost better with coffee grounds than I can with manure. It works great.”

Coffee grounds also can be added directly to soil but the grounds need a few months to break down, Wise said. “We’re not certain about how coffee grounds act with the soil, but anecdotally people say they do dig it into the soil,” she said. An additional benefit of diverting coffee grounds from the landfill is that it helps cut greenhouse gas emissions, said Dan Hurley, waste management engineer for Lane County’s Short Mountain Landfill. “To keep organics out of the landfill is a good thing for reducing greenhouse gas emissions because organics decompose and produce methane. Methane is about 25 times as bad as carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas,” Hurley said. Recycling coffee shop grounds also fosters interactions between community residents and local businesses. The coffee grounds stay in their communities, meaning that fuel isn’t being used to truck them from far-flung areas of the county to landfills.

6 great reasons to compost


The Beauty of Compost

Compost is simply decomposed organic matter, but it’s the best gift you can give your garden. Here are just a few of the many benefits of compost.  (click link for article)



If you’re one of those people who throws away food thinking, “I wish I knew how to make a compost pile,” — this article is for you!  The good new is… you’ll be pleased to know that setting up a composting system at home isn’t as much work as it sounds.

A compost pile takes some prep work.  Start by clearing the perfect patch of ground by:

1.   Choosing a space which is away from trees or fast growing vines as the roots of these plants can enter the compost pile and take away much needed nutrients.

2.   Removing weeds from the area you are going to make into your compost pile so that the seeds from the weeds don’t germinate when you lay your compost on your garden beds.

3.   Identifying a space which is slightly elevated so that it will have good drainage.

4.   Positioning your compost pile away from the house and shed as the pile can attract insects.

5.   Placing your compost pile away from a wooden fence or deck as the compost can stain and rot wood.

5 EASY STEPS FOR FAST COMPOST Get garden-ready compost in about 30 days.


Making compost is probably the single most important thing you can do for your organic garden. The success of your garden depends on the soil, and the health of your soil depends on the compost you give it. And making compost isn’t difficult. With very little effort on your part, you can turn throw-away materials into this sweet-smelling, nutrient-rich, no-cost soil conditioner. So how do you start this easy composting?