Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Supplementing my compost with Starbucks?

I've heard coffee grounds were great for the compost bin as well as directly on the garden, but not being a coffee drinker myself, I figured we'd just have to rely on other discarded goodies to get that rich beautiful soil.

Now maybe I'm the only one who didn't know this, but yesterday, Chile (of Chile Chews) included a segment on getting free coffee grounds from Starbucks. Really? Immediately, I was on the phone to the Starbucks just a few blocks from my house. I wasn't expecting much since it's just a counter and a couple tables inside the Kroger grocery store. But they said, YES! In fact, they did have a coffee ground bin for gardeners and that I was welcome to stop by. Five minutes later, I was at the Starbucks counter, eager and just a little bit sweaty (geez, what happened to the cooler September temperatures???).

Anyway, they had 3 grocery sacks full just waiting for the next gardener to come along. I was going to leave some for the next person, but the attendant encouraged me to take all 3. They'd just make more, after all.

Next time, I'll be sure to take my bike, because three grocery sacks full of coffee grounds is a little heavy, even for the short 5 minute walk home. But I made it!

After a little research, I decided to put the bulk of the three bags in the compost bin, which adds nitrogen to the compost as well as assists in keeping the bin hot, thus speeding up the composting process. Sweet! I did save just a little of the grounds out to sprinkle at the base of one of the tomato plants just to see if it makes any difference. Stay tuned...

Ok. Seriously. How cool is this? I really think it's neat that you can pick up coffee grounds from from any Starbucks in North America. Not only are they reducing waste by giving those grounds an opportunity to fertilize the Earth (and out of the landfill), but gardeners can get this resource for free. Very cool! Thanks for sharing, Chile!

So how about all you out there... Have you used coffee grounds in your compost bin or directly in the garden? Have you noticed a difference in results? If you apply it directly to the garden, on what plants does it work best? How often do you apply?
For more information on the Starbucks "Grounds for your Garden" as well as nutrient content of the grounds and general tips, visit the Starbucks website here.
Happy Gardening!

9 comments:

Beany said...

Yay for coffee grounds!

I know know how I know this, but I've always composed tea leaves and coffee grounds when I have plants around me. It may be something my family always did.

Sending you some cool air your way

Seraphim said...

They did this at Starbucks in Cyprus too when I lived there... not sure about England though, I'm not a coffee drinker and their tea is appalling, so I don't visit often!

Chile said...

I pick up their grounds periodically and when we drank coffee at home, I'd put the grounds out on the plants that liked them. Tomatoes, in my experience, did not care for the grounds... Vitex and lilacs really liked the grounds, though. And my husband's research shows that worms love coffee grounds. (The guy at the tackle shop told me that, too.)

andrea said...

an added bonus is that the coffee grounds increase the acidity of the compost, which can only help lower the pH of our relatively high pH soils. so be sure to set aside some of this compost for your plants that like it on the lower end of the pH scale...
i wonder if buzz offers his coffee grounds free to local gardeners...?

Heather @ SGF said...

Beany - Thanks for the cool air. It worked! :) 68 right now. Woohoo!

Sera - I think I've only gone to a Starbucks twice. One for the free internet while I was on vacation and the second time to visit with a friend who was in town and wanted a cup. Otherwise, I just never thought twice about. I'll sure be visiting now - but only for the freebees :)

Chile - I read that too, about the worms. Perfect since you are getting ready to start a worm bin. Any plans for that bin? A friend of our used it to make homemade paper. I have no idea how, I just know the two were connected...

Andrea - Good question! I'll email him and ask...

Chile said...

Hubby's already set up a plastic tote for the worms. He made some drain holes and covered them with screen. Don't know what else it entailed.

Darren (Green Change) said...

I take home all the coffee grounds from our machine in my office. I get about 1/2 kg (1 pound) a day.

It's great in the compost, and I also spread it on garden beds that I'm about to dig over. It's good to help acidify the soil around blueberries, too.

Heather @ SGF said...

Chile - Your hubby is adventurous, I'll say that. I'm not good at keeping things like that alive. Thankfully, the dog knows to bark when she's hungry. I'm not the most maternal being...

Darren - Thanks! That gives me an idea of how much to add to my bin. I was thinking about picking up grounds once a week to add to the old pile. And I'll add it to my "recipe" when I hoe up my beds (dry molasses, compost, and now coffee).

Heather @ SGF said...

A report back from What's the Buzz Coffee Co here in BCS:

"I compost all my waste (coffee grinds and chaffe from the roasting). There is someone that picks them up already. He is a gardener and adds them to his organic compost. Thanks for asking."