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coffee grounds right onto the soil?

Kelda Miller


Joined: Jun 30, 2007
Posts: 763
I love coffee grounds for my compost and wormbins, but just this weekend learned that others will use them right on their soil.

What are some stories about that? Does anyone know what the nutritional benefits are, how much it could alter the pH?

I regret to say I know nothing more than it super-activates worms and cuts down remarkably any worm bin 'funkiness'. For those reasons alone I'm a big fan.

What else?


Divine Earth Gardening Project
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14828
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
Very high N.

You can put it right on your soil, but make sure it is not right next to your plants because it can burn them. 

Further, it is better spread out a bit rather than in gobs.  Gobs make for spots that are too hot and can hurt the roots under the soil. 

I generally avoid using decaf coffee grounds.  Most decaf has been processed with some nasty chemicals for which there is a residue.


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Joined: Mar 17, 2008
Posts: 3
I'm in the process of trying to recover my lawn right now, after years of pesticides and inproper fertilizing due to believing the labels on those products.  I'm not sure how coffee will work, but I am saving my coffee grounds and trying to use them in my yard.  I've heard it's very good for breaking up clay (of which I have a lot) and can be especially good for roses.

I have recently spread some directly on my lawn and am in the process of reseeding spots, so I'm mixing some coffee grounds in with some soil and grass seed to make the patch. 

We'll see.  At the least the worms will get a buz.  Who knows they might set up little cafes in the lawn.

btw - You can go into any Starbucks and pick up bags of used coffee grounds.  They usually have them packaged and ready to go.  If not, you can just ask.  The last time I did, I walked out with a 20lb bag. 
MJ Solaro


Joined: Feb 21, 2008
Posts: 131
Location: Bellevue, WA
Lol. I'm laughing at the mental image you just gave me of worms sitting around in little berets, sipping a cup of Joe. And then getting wildly strung out after they've drunk 30 of them.

That's such a great tip that you can get used grounds from Starbucks. What a great, cheap way to recycle their stuff and get it on your lawn.

I have heard that coffee grounds are a bit weak as organic fertilizers go, so as such you need to use a lot of it. Like a cubic yard per 1000 sq feet. Which would be like 1/3 of an inch of coffee spread all over your lawn. At those concentrations, I wonder if you'd actually be able to smell the coffee aroma when you were outside.

Chris, I think it takes like three weeks for the coffee to have an impact? Check back in and let us know how it's going!


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Casey Halone


Joined: Feb 09, 2011
Posts: 192
    
    1
yes chris, how did it work? please share!


                        


Joined: Jul 07, 2010
Posts: 508
I got some coffee grounds  to use for mushrooms and then the spawn wasnt' shipped because it was too cold, so I mixed them up with some potting soil (some fresh and some stuff that had got too dry last spring for the poor seedlings) so as to cut down on space. When I went to use some of it today to start some asparagus seeds there was a 4 inch bean plant struggling towards the light in the (covered) tub. So fresh coffee grounds don't seem to hurt.

I'm a big fan because aside from anything else  they absorb/hold water so well. 

Question though...what arrangements  do people make for getting the grounds?  I got almost a full 5 gallon bucket in a half a day and it was heavy as the devil because of the water content..I had had visions of asking them to fill a 55 gall drum but I have no idea how I would ever move it! I don't live in town so can't make arrangements to pick them up each day, but I would LOVE to be able to get all the grounds they now throw out. 
George Lee


Joined: Mar 15, 2011
Posts: 528
Location: Athens, GA/Sunset, SC
I've noticed cafe grounds act similar to sand, to open up the soil for aeration, and addtionally a nitrogen source. After you're done with your pot of coffee, leave an inch or so at the bottom and dilute it by filling it to the top with rainwater and apply as a diluted N source. I've had success with this, on house plants (climbers).


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Casey Halone


Joined: Feb 09, 2011
Posts: 192
    
    1
Pam wrote:

Question though...what arrangements  do people make for getting the grounds?  I got almost a full 5 gallon bucket in a half a day and it was heavy as the devil because of the water content..I had had visions of asking them to fill a 55 gall drum but I have no idea how I would ever move it! I don't live in town so can't make arrangements to pick them up each day, but I would LOVE to be able to get all the grounds they now throw out.   


whatever you can carry I suppose! I am going to be getting as much as I can for our lawn!
                              


Joined: Apr 03, 2011
Posts: 2
Location: Midwest
Hello, new member and first post 

I bury coffee grounds right in my raised beds and, when the raised beds are getting "full" of organic stuff I bury them a few inches deep in the compost pile. Sometimes I pick them up from the local coffee shop but most of the time I just recycle what I'm already using at home. It's not a lot but it adds up over time.


I grow peppers @ http://ThePepperSeed.com
John Saltveit
volunteer

Joined: May 09, 2010
Posts: 568
    
  17
I pick up coffee grounds from Starbucks starting about this time of year. I bring the trailer that we use for grocery shopping, and it works great.  I can get to a few different Starbucks in one trip.  I like the high N of coffee grounds because I have converted almost all of my lawn into growing edible plants areas.  I store the coffee grounds in a bag in the shade, and when I need more N to fill up my compost bins because I don't have enough grass clippings(I make a huge pile of brown leaves in the fall), I add them to the brown leaves in place of grass and it works great.
John S
PDX OR
                            


Joined: Apr 03, 2011
Posts: 2
Moderation is suggested.  My husband works for a large firm that had to stop composting coffee, so he brought home a few hundred gallons of used grounds.  In just a couple hundred square feet it made the clay looser, but way to acidic until it had decomposed.  A little is fine, but compost larger quantities.
John Polk
steward

Joined: Feb 20, 2011
Posts: 6425
Location: Moving to: NE Washington USDA zone 5 Western steppes to the Rockies
    
132
When I had a community garden patch, I dumped 4 wheel barrows full of semi-composted coffee grounds into a 100 sq ft garden a couple of weeks before plant out time.  Everything grew fantastic.
George Lee


Joined: Mar 15, 2011
Posts: 528
Location: Athens, GA/Sunset, SC
John Polk wrote:
When I had a community garden patch, I dumped 4 wheel barrows full of semi-composted coffee grounds into a 100 sq ft garden a couple of weeks before plant out time.  Everything grew fantastic.



I as well. If you compost just cafe grounds man does it have a nitric stench... It will knock your socks off.
Margaret Yoder


Joined: May 12, 2010
Posts: 7
I dumped all our grounds onto our beds over the winter. The first couple of times the temperatures went high enough for my neighbor's bees to venture out, they swarmed all over the coffee grounds, digging through them. Does anyone have any idea why they would do this?

Margaret
Casey Halone


Joined: Feb 09, 2011
Posts: 192
    
    1
Clarabear wrote:
I dumped all our grounds onto our beds over the winter. The first couple of times the temperatures went high enough for my neighbor's bees to venture out, they swarmed all over the coffee grounds, digging through them. Does anyone have any idea why they would do this?

Margaret


they probably dropped something in there they wanted.
George Lee


Joined: Mar 15, 2011
Posts: 528
Location: Athens, GA/Sunset, SC
Clarabear wrote:
I dumped all our grounds onto our beds over the winter. The first couple of times the temperatures went high enough for my neighbor's bees to venture out, they swarmed all over the coffee grounds, digging through them. Does anyone have any idea why they would do this?

Margaret

Digging thru them? As in burrowing? The break-down of coffee grounds is very aromatic, one sense bees rely heavily on.. That's a guess.

Peace -
Travis Halverson


Joined: Mar 25, 2011
Posts: 91
Location: Minneapolis, MN
    
    1
Maybe they were mason bees.  Don't they like to find gobs of mud to patch the holes they seal their eggs in?  Perhaps they thought the grounds would work, caught a buzz carrying it to their nest, then told all their friends.
            


Joined: Jun 21, 2009
Posts: 77
Location: Northport, Wash.
Not trying to be a killjoy or anything, but should there be some concerns about the chemicals used on the coffee plants?
Seems to maybe be a lot of them:
http://www.coffeehabitat.com/2006/12/pesticides_used_2/

Just wondering.
John Polk
steward

Joined: Feb 20, 2011
Posts: 6425
Location: Moving to: NE Washington USDA zone 5 Western steppes to the Rockies
    
132
I would be far more concerned with the chemicals used to "decaf" the coffee than I would be the chemicals used in the growing of the tree.
            


Joined: Jun 21, 2009
Posts: 77
Location: Northport, Wash.
As I understand it, being a decaf drinker myself, there is a water system that is used by some.  The people I buy mine from, use fair trade organic beans that use something called the Swiss Water Decaf system, that uses no chemicals.
George Lee


Joined: Mar 15, 2011
Posts: 528
Location: Athens, GA/Sunset, SC
We're all sustainably grown coffee drinkers here, or at least I think so.. Jamacians grow lots of sustainable coffee on hilltops..

I don't support the starbucks of the world, who short-change their minions to the degree that they do.. It's sickening & inhumane..

            


Joined: Jun 21, 2009
Posts: 77
Location: Northport, Wash.
Yes, what I was trying to say is that not all decaf processes use chemicals, the organic ones have to use the Swiss process as it is an all organic process.
Travis Halverson


Joined: Mar 25, 2011
Posts: 91
Location: Minneapolis, MN
    
    1
I guess I'm fortunate that all the 100% organic and fair trade coffee beans and grounds I could want are available at my job, Peace Coffee.  We get our beans almost directly from the farmers.  Almost.

Farmers harvest and dry their beans.  A local co-op buys them.  Cooperative Coffee buys from co-op.  We buy from Cooperative Coffee.

Our decaf is the result of a water process from Mexico.
George Lee


Joined: Mar 15, 2011
Posts: 528
Location: Athens, GA/Sunset, SC
Right on.. Do you have a site? I'd like to check out your selections...

Peace with you -
Travis Halverson


Joined: Mar 25, 2011
Posts: 91
Location: Minneapolis, MN
    
    1
http://www.peacecoffee.com/home.htm
Casey Halone


Joined: Feb 09, 2011
Posts: 192
    
    1
If you would, let me pose this question. please?

I mulched a few inches thick with bull pine wood chips, pretty fresh, under some fruit trees planted last summer/fall. From what I have read, only the top half inch or so of soil is effected by the chips tying up N for decomposition.

Would adding coffee grounds to the TOP of the mulch be of much benefit?

The way I see it, some of the grounds would get washed down thru the chips, into the soil when it rains, and the rain would also cold brew some amount of coffee, right?

would I be canceling out the negative effect of fresh arborist chips here?

if so, approximately how much should I be spreading? I have access to nearly 5 gallons of grounds per day if I wanted.
John Polk
steward

Joined: Feb 20, 2011
Posts: 6425
Location: Moving to: NE Washington USDA zone 5 Western steppes to the Rockies
    
132
Contrary to common belief, pine needles do not add to the acidity of the soil, BUT, pine bark, or chips MAY.  Coffee grounds are acidic, and in a combination with the pine chips, MAY cause a significant acidic change to your soil.  This could tie up some of the nutrients, making them unavailable to your plants.  Most pH changes you make to your soil are very short lived, but it would be to your benefit to get pH readings prior to adding anything that can cause a wide swing in pH.  Minor changes are acceptable to plants, major changes can be catastrophic.  Everything in moderation.
Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4433
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    8
the book I just read said that coffe ground and filters both are loved by worms


Brenda

Bloom where you are planted.
http://restfultrailsfoodforestgarden.blogspot.com/
George Lee


Joined: Mar 15, 2011
Posts: 528
Location: Athens, GA/Sunset, SC
Brenda Groth wrote:
the book I just read said that coffe ground and filters both are loved by worms
Absolutely. I thought that was a given. haha Very much loved.
William Lewis


Joined: Apr 18, 2011
Posts: 9
Location: Willamette Valley
Lane County (Eugene, OR) recently did a study on composting of coffee grounds, and the OSU Extension site has some info on using coffee grounds in the garden. I read the study a couple years ago and it was extremely interesting, but finding it on the internet has proven to be frustrating (finding the primary souce of anything on the internet is often impossible). Plenty of articles refer to it, and are self-referential.

http://extension.oregonstate.edu/lane/sites/default/files/CoffeeGrdTrial.pdf
                                    


Joined: Apr 14, 2011
Posts: 12
Location: Alberta Canada
Readers Digest has an article about what you can to with coffee grounds.

http://www.rd.com/home/extraordinary-uses-for-coffee-grounds/

                                    


Joined: Apr 14, 2011
Posts: 12
Location: Alberta Canada
Chris wrote:
I'm in the process of trying to recover my lawn right now, after years of pesticides and inproper fertilizing due to believing the labels on those products.  I'm not sure how coffee will work, but I am saving my coffee grounds and trying to use them in my yard.  I've heard it's very good for breaking up clay (of which I have a lot) and can be especially good for roses.

I have recently spread some directly on my lawn and am in the process of reseeding spots, so I'm mixing some coffee grounds in with some soil and grass seed to make the patch. 

We'll see.  At the least the worms will get a buz.  Who knows they might set up little cafes in the lawn.

btw - You can go into any Starbucks and pick up bags of used coffee grounds.  They usually have them packaged and ready to go.  If not, you can just ask.  The last time I did, I walked out with a 20lb bag. 


An easy fix for some dead patches, particularly those caused by dogs, is to use a square mouth spade or edger and severely cross hatch the area extending well into the grassy area.  Saves the challenge of keeping birds from eating the seeds.

Allowing your grass to grow the between 4 and 6 inches will encourage root growth, reduce the need for watering and choke a lot of weeds in the process>

http://www.rd.com/home/extraordinary-uses-for-coffee-grounds/

John
George Lee


Joined: Mar 15, 2011
Posts: 528
Location: Athens, GA/Sunset, SC
I just read a university experiment (Oregon). Coffee grounds showed no added benefit in their freshly brewed state as amendment. However, like other nitrogen sources, they're essential for a good compost pile. The plants without coffee ground addition grew quite a bit better actually.
Peace-
 
 
subject: coffee grounds right onto the soil?
 
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