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Soil and Composting: Coffee grounds

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Forum: Soil and CompostingReplies: 188, Views: 2,665
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juttz
Muskegon, MI
(Zone 5a)

March 31, 2007
2:46 PM

Post #3340145

I just posted a question on what mixture of soil should go in my new raised beds..and idea came to me and thought to ask if I should be collecting a large amount of coffee grounds to add to the mixture...I can call the starbucks around here and see if they would give me what they have...any thoughts?...Judy
mqiq77
Danielsville, GA
(Zone 7b)

March 31, 2007
3:04 PM

Post #3340184

Great for acid loving plants.
happy_macomb
Chevy Chase, MD
(Zone 7a)

March 31, 2007
11:28 PM

Post #3341849

Starbucks is usually great about donating their grounds.
vadap
Aurora, CO
(Zone 5b)

April 1, 2007
12:22 AM

Post #3341974

My gf just brought me two 5 lb bags from them. Happy compost!!!!

tcs1366

tcs1366
Itasca,IL&Lk Delton, WI
(Zone 5a)

April 1, 2007
5:16 PM

Post #3344235

my son walked in this morning with a #5 bag for me to!! what a great kid.
RatherBDigging
Akron, PA
(Zone 6b)

April 2, 2007
10:53 PM

Post #3349332

In my area, all the Starbucks are doing it a little different. Check with each one. Some save them for you and you pick the up. Some have them in a copper bucket in the foil packaging and it is first come first serve. One did not even save them, so I was speaking with the manager to talk to the other stores and see what works for her. It is great that most are recycling them for we, the gardeners. My garden smells like a Starbucks now!

tcs1366

tcs1366
Itasca,IL&Lk Delton, WI
(Zone 5a)

April 2, 2007
11:51 PM

Post #3349526

I'd think if you contacted your local starbucks and let them know you are interested... they would save them.
My son worked at a kiosk for 2.5 yrs and they didnt save them... but he would on occasion on days he worked and brought them home for me.

Our local one is first come first serve... though you can call to "reserve" them.
Peckhaus
Long Island, NY
(Zone 7a)

April 3, 2007
1:37 PM

Post #3351069

How exactly do you use the grounds?

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

April 3, 2007
1:41 PM

Post #3351082

Hi mqiq77,
Which are the acid loving plants in the garden? Do you just mix the grinds up into the top layer of potting mix? I have all sorts of ferns, caladiums, Sago Palms, geraniums, zinnias, marigolds. Any of them want grinds? Let me know. Thanks!

tcs1366

tcs1366
Itasca,IL&Lk Delton, WI
(Zone 5a)

April 3, 2007
2:32 PM

Post #3351252

I dump'em in my composter & spread them into my flower beds and just work it into the soil. I also use it around the small evergreen in my back yard.

more info i found ==>

Spent coffee grounds are the perfect compost input:

* They smell good.
* They absorb and hold moisture which is so critical to the compost pile.
* They are one of the few sources of nitrogen that is widely available year-round to people in urban and suburban areas.
* They are easily stored for days in a closed plastic bag.
* They are free.
* They are available in large quantities.

more info -->

http://gardening.wsu.edu/stewardship/compost/coffee.htm

http://www.sustainableenterprises.com/Business/coffeefert.htm

tcs1366

tcs1366
Itasca,IL&Lk Delton, WI
(Zone 5a)

April 5, 2007
4:28 PM

Post #3358999

can a garden or compost bin have too much coffee grounds?

my kid seems to be bringing home a bag a week. I have about 8 pounds on my counter that i have yet to get outside.
wineaux
Tucson, AZ

April 5, 2007
4:32 PM

Post #3359011

the only problem with coffee grounds is they lose potency within a very short time (days) so don't just depend on that alone.
Illoquin
Indianapolis, IN
(Zone 5b)

April 5, 2007
4:36 PM

Post #3359028

Terese,

You'd better get them outside, they mold after not too long.

I get coffee grounds by the half-garbage bagful. They are so heavy, I have to take Mr. Clean to carry them (oh, yeah, taking trash out of Starbucks in his pressed pants is just up his alley! LOL!) I have a fairly big pile -- not as big as a lot of people's on here, but still pretty big -- and I add them there.

You could use them right on top of the soil, I imagine. There was a chemist-guy who did the pH test on them and they were almost neutral, and certainly not as acidic as you'd think. I can't find the thread, and am not even 100% sure it was DG, tho.

Suzy

tcs1366

tcs1366
Itasca,IL&Lk Delton, WI
(Zone 5a)

April 5, 2007
4:39 PM

Post #3359047

Thanks Suzy.

and yea -- i know they mold. He brought me home a HUGE bag last year, probably 10# or more, and i just pushed it under the sink til i was gonna use it, and forgot about it... whole thing molded. I felt bad, but he can get me about 100# a week if i needed it.
Clementine
Chapel Hill, NC
(Zone 7b)

April 5, 2007
11:14 PM

Post #3360389

What does it mean "they lose potency", wineaux? Are the useless after a few days?

tcs1366

tcs1366
Itasca,IL&Lk Delton, WI
(Zone 5a)

April 6, 2007
9:25 AM

Post #3361243

on the starbucks bag, it says something about using them in 2-3 weeks.

sometimes, i spread them right in the garden (flowerbeds) but since i'm really not working in them yet - due to the cold - i'm dumping them in the compost.
Clementine
Chapel Hill, NC
(Zone 7b)

April 6, 2007
4:25 PM

Post #3362502

Right, I have seen that on the Starbuck's bag, but did not pay attention to it. I usually want to know WHY. Most of the time I put them on/in beds or in the compost anyway. But other times I have so much that I "save" it up for a project. So, what happens - for argument's sake - after those three weeks?
johnsonjrbm
Olympia, WA
(Zone 7b)

April 6, 2007
5:55 PM

Post #3362766

They're totally useless, so mail them all pre-paid to me (smile).

I'm not sure what was meant by losing potency, unless they were referring to water leaching some of the nutrients out of very wet grounds. If that were the case, using the diluted leachate (coffee) as a liquid fertilizer would preserve the nutrients. The biggest loss concern would be nitrogen, but if the grounds don't smell like ammonia, you're should be OK.

tcs1366

tcs1366
Itasca,IL&Lk Delton, WI
(Zone 5a)

April 7, 2007
12:07 PM

Post #3365170

more info on the grounds
http://www.sunset.com/sunset/garden/edible/article/0,20633,1208232,00.html

>>So, what happens - for argument's sake - after those three weeks?

I'll see if i can figure that one out.

this morning my son said "Mom, I've got something for you" (I was like "It's not chocolate is it?" he knows better)

he said, "I collected ALL the grounds for the day, i think it's about 70 pounds"

holy cow!! I'm gonna have to share with my neighbor.

Clementine
Chapel Hill, NC
(Zone 7b)

April 7, 2007
1:23 PM

Post #3365455

johnsonjrbm, sorry I can't part with mine, can't you drink more coffee to produce the amount you need???? As for the idea of good stuff leaching out, actually quite often when I put grounds on a bed or in the compost I rinse out the bag in which they came and pour it on too.

tcs, that site is good. What I thought was particularyl interesting was the amount and depth (6-8") that they recommend. I usually just sprinkle it heavily on top of layer on the bed. Nice son you have, tcs!!

Sheila_FW

Sheila_FW
Fort Worth, TX
(Zone 8a)

April 7, 2007
1:46 PM

Post #3365532

Clementine ,
When I have gotten grounds and not planned on using them for a while, I pop them in my freezer.
johnsonjrbm
Olympia, WA
(Zone 7b)

April 7, 2007
3:53 PM

Post #3365898

Clementine, I was just joking about sending me grounds. My gym has a snack bar where they make smoothies and espresso, so I get lots of banana peels and grounds.

I think the 2-3 week consumption period recommended by Starbucks is due to the "yuck" factor of moldy coffee grounds.

Regards,

Bobby
creadman
Rockford, IL
(Zone 5a)

May 17, 2007
10:44 PM

Post #3508664

Hey tcs1366,

Can I borrow your son for awhile? So he can gather all those coffee grounds all round town?

LOL

Linda

tcs1366

tcs1366
Itasca,IL&Lk Delton, WI
(Zone 5a)

May 20, 2007
8:08 PM

Post #3517381

Linda -- sure , no problem!!

Terese

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

May 21, 2007
5:13 PM

Post #3520027

I read on another thread that the mold won't hurt anything. After all, there's an element of "mold" once the detritis begins breaking down.

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

June 19, 2007
4:23 PM

Post #3633530

Will moldy coffee grinds hurt anything?

tcs1366

tcs1366
Itasca,IL&Lk Delton, WI
(Zone 5a)

June 19, 2007
4:49 PM

Post #3633637

I dont think so... i've used'em
creadman
Rockford, IL
(Zone 5a)

April 10, 2008
11:28 PM

Post #4789057

Last year, I have been gathering Starbuck coffee grounds and dumped them in several areas in my garden. There was a particular spot that was hard to grow, and I mostly put it there. Boy, what an amazing results, my plants looks great. My mother was impressed and wanted to know what I did. I just smiled, and said, "That was Starbuck coffee grounds!" Now, we both go and get some from time to time and haul them home for our gardens.

So, if you're a lucky gardener that goes to their local mall, near home. Pop-in, and asked if you can take home some Starbuck coffee grounds for your garden. They'll be glad to give them to you. I tell them that I'll be shopping and be back for them, so it gives them time between customers and preparing the grounds for me to haul home.

Happy hunting for Starbuck coffee grounds!

LOL

Linda


Linda
mraider3
Helena, MT

April 12, 2008
10:17 AM

Post #4796409

The sunset.com hyperlink posted by tsc1366 got my attention while making a quick review of this thread. I recently potted up several hundred hot pepper seedlings using a scoup of coffee grounds in the potting mix. I was going strictly on several previoius DG comments about using coffee grounds in their pepper potting media. It surprised me to see how low the PKN concentrations were. Looks to me like the coffee grounds are a pretty safe media addition for potting up new pepper seedlings.

sallyg

sallyg
Anne Arundel,, MD
(Zone 7b)

April 13, 2008
6:30 PM

Post #4802645

Just a suggestion- if you're shy like me, maybe print out a page from the SB website about saving grounds , to show them when you ask. I have gotten blank stares so far.
Composters unite- if we all start asking maybe they'll notice!
jasmerr
Merrimac, WI
(Zone 4b)

April 13, 2008
6:36 PM

Post #4802671

Maybe calling ahead and talking to the manager would be helpful, too.

Here's the link to the SB page sallyg mentioned: http://www.starbucks.com/aboutus/compost.asp

tcs1366

tcs1366
Itasca,IL&Lk Delton, WI
(Zone 5a)

April 14, 2008
1:01 AM

Post #4804410

My kid works there.. .and they gladly give them away. I was at one once and a lady walked in and asked for them, they told her they were already gone for the day.

I'd probably call in the AM to say when you would be in to pick them up.

Sheila_FW

Sheila_FW
Fort Worth, TX
(Zone 8a)

September 4, 2008
5:42 AM

Post #5506174

I pick up the grounds whenever I can and freeze them. I take them to plant swaps to trade. We drink coffee and use what we make in my compost and extra from Starbucks when I run out of room.
gen2026
Camden, AR

October 6, 2008
7:46 PM

Post #5640084

Do they have filters in with the grounds? Do you just leave them? I make one pot of coffee per day at home, and was trying to save the grounds - but putting them on my flower bed seemed futile since it was just a small amount in a huge space... how does everyone else handle this??

Thanks
jasmerr
Merrimac, WI
(Zone 4b)

October 6, 2008
8:45 PM

Post #5640261

I throw the grounds and filters into my compost pile.

tcs1366

tcs1366
Itasca,IL&Lk Delton, WI
(Zone 5a)

October 6, 2008
10:36 PM

Post #5640647

gen -- Starbucks does not add the filters in with their grounds.

I sometimes will add the filters to my compost ...
gen2026
Camden, AR

October 7, 2008
1:06 AM

Post #5641261

Thanks. Do you have any trouble with them breaking down? I guess I need to get me some type of official bin to put my things in... A friend just told me to start piling it on the ground - but it just seems to be a "mound" of stuff and doesn't seem to be doing anything except getting covered with grass and weeds. Is there a thread on here for newbies to look at different composting "products" or containers?? I could sure use some help figuring out what to use - because I obviously need LOTS of compost!! LOL

Genna

tcs1366

tcs1366
Itasca,IL&Lk Delton, WI
(Zone 5a)

October 7, 2008
5:06 PM

Post #5643638

Geena -- I really have only been composting for a lil over a year i think.

I purchased a "tumbler" and was finally getting some good compost ... but my neighbor was adding too much "wet" [green] stuff, and pretty much ruined it ... i actually dumped it out and will have to start over.

I did read a lot of the threads in here and googled Composting, and found some pretty good sites.

you need a balance between "greens" and "browns" to make good compost.

I dont feel i am knowledgeable enough to explain it all.

but what i did with my filters is rip them into smaller pieces.

Last year when my compost was very wet, i posted a message in here and was told to add 'browns' ... so what i ended up doing was putting an old phone books, less the glossy pages, thru our paper shredder... yes that too a long time and i had to unjam it a few times... but that added a lot of paper to my compost ... in the spring i had some pretty decent compost.

hope this helps a lil bit,

Terese
gen2026
Camden, AR

October 7, 2008
5:14 PM

Post #5643661

can I ask what type of "tumbler" you purchased? How long does it take to produce compost...a month, 6 mos, a year?? I have NO IDEA...
Thank you for the ideas. I have plenty of newspaper and junk mail that I had considered using as well, but my compost pile is "not" working as is and I need to modify something...

thanks!
genna

tcs1366

tcs1366
Itasca,IL&Lk Delton, WI
(Zone 5a)

October 7, 2008
5:25 PM

Post #5643688

here is a thread on Tumblers... look for my post, where i added a link to the one i bought... there may be some other good into for you in there.

http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/714921/
gen2026
Camden, AR

October 7, 2008
7:03 PM

Post #5643891

Have you been pleased with the one that you purchased? How long does it take to make compost for you??

tcs1366

tcs1366
Itasca,IL&Lk Delton, WI
(Zone 5a)

October 8, 2008
3:40 AM

Post #5645662

I gotta tell ya... i think the verdict is still out on it.

with all i added last year... after it sat all winter, I did find i had good compost in the spring.

BUT -- what i really do love about it, is the compost tea i get out of it... it drips into the base
it's not always easy getting the tea out, as it's a bit awkward -- but my plants LOVE it.
gen2026
Camden, AR

October 8, 2008
1:15 PM

Post #5646493

Thanks for the info and the links...
Genna
Fla_Chick
Citra, FL

October 13, 2008
12:43 AM

Post #5663929

I fix myself a pot of coffee every morning. When I clean the pot out, I take the coffee, filter and all, walk out back where all my flowers are and dig a little hole next to some lucky plant, plop the coffee and filter in the hole, and cover it up. I think between that and using the litter from the chicken house, my flowers are pretty happy campers.
gen2026
Camden, AR

October 13, 2008
3:43 PM

Post #5666034

Sounds like a good idea - I dumped a couple over the weekend in a flower bed that I am redoing - just put them down and covered with compost. Never thought about planting beside a particular plant. Does it mess up your mulch and cause you to end up with grass and weeds?? I am already fighting grass enough...

Thanks!
genna
Fla_Chick
Citra, FL

October 13, 2008
6:15 PM

Post #5666643

No, not at all. I mulch with sawdust, chicken litter, hay...whatever I have at the time. I mulch very deep. I just pull the mulch aside, dig a little hole, plop in the coffee, cover up, and no ones ever the wiser.

tcs1366

tcs1366
Itasca,IL&Lk Delton, WI
(Zone 5a)

October 13, 2008
7:33 PM

Post #5666904

gen -- i do that with banana peels ... bury them near my rose bushes... just dig a hole and dump it in... you can even do the entire banana. [i read somewhere that they are good for roses.]
AlohaHoya
Keaau, HI
(Zone 11)

November 2, 2008
5:37 AM

Post #5742548

I like to throw coffee grounds on the Gardenias...they love it. They are also good for the Cycad Mites (actually, bad for the mites, good for us) as the mites go into the ground under the Cycads and come out at night to suck. They can't go thru the coffee.

We throw all of DHs filters and coffee grounds into a pile...and there are no filters in the bottom...
patgeorge
Nurmo
Finland
(Zone 4b)

November 27, 2008
8:49 AM

Post #5835139

I'm surprised to see no reference in this thread to coffee grounds as a slug and snail deterrent. Don't you worry about slugs in North America? Sprinkled around my lettuces they certainly seeem to deter the dreaded creatures. However they do lose their potency after a few wet days. We don't have Starbucks here. Are we missing anything?

Sheila_FW

Sheila_FW
Fort Worth, TX
(Zone 8a)

November 27, 2008
12:52 PM

Post #5835351

You mean other than $5 cups of delicious coffee?? LOL!
Starbuck's grounds are really strong, dark, and very fine. After they dry they are almost like fine seeds. I would think the larger grit home brew grounds would be a better deterrent. And oh yes, I have snails bad in the spring. However I don't put out coffee grounds in the flower beds until later in the year; fall and spring my compost bin gets them. Maybe I need to try spreading them out earlier.

tcs1366

tcs1366
Itasca,IL&Lk Delton, WI
(Zone 5a)

November 27, 2008
1:18 PM

Post #5835396

how ever I've attempted to deter the snails in my flower beds... not much has helped.

I've used the combination of egg shells and coffee grounds, and yes, i use Starbucks - from the stores and from home
and that year, my hostas still got munched. 2007 was much worse than last year though... they chewed just about everything but my ferns ... 2008 was not as bed... do not know what the difference was.
kqcrna
Cincinnati, OH
(Zone 6a)

November 27, 2008
1:46 PM

Post #5835472

I've not found coffee grounds to have any effect on slugs, either. The best thing I've ever found for slugs is iron phosphate (brand names Sluggo, Escar-Go). It works like a charm.

Karen

Sheila_FW

Sheila_FW
Fort Worth, TX
(Zone 8a)

November 27, 2008
2:28 PM

Post #5835558

Yes...those are real killers! I used them a few years ago when I had them so bad they were climbing up the walls and fences.
AlohaHoya
Keaau, HI
(Zone 11)

November 27, 2008
5:17 PM

Post #5836000

Having tried everything!!! for the African Moon Snails here...I have resorted to Sluggo. Now I just find empty shells and that makes me really happy. I like coffee grounds because of the loseness of them...and I mix it all together in my Bokashi bucket! I do save pickle juice (olives etc) for the gardenias ... nothing like a shot of acid in the morning!!!
patgeorge
Nurmo
Finland
(Zone 4b)

December 1, 2008
1:46 PM

Post #5847013

We're getting away from the start of the thread I know; but in the UK ferrous sulphate is used rather than phosphate. I didn't find it much use personally. Methaldehyde pellets and liquid work well; but they're soon degraded by rain. Here in Finland pellets contain methiocarb. It's very effective; but banned in UK because it's more dangerous to wildlife and pets. Nemaslug works; but it's also weather dependent, and certainly in Europe very expensive.

As for coffee grounds; I can only speak from personal experience; but I appreciate that a sample of one is not statistically significant, and there could be other variables.
gingerlily
Paxton, FL
(Zone 8a)

January 3, 2009
12:52 AM

Post #5958510

Someone said they poured leftover coffee on their plants. On all your plants or are there some plants that you shouldn't pour coffee on?
AlohaHoya
Keaau, HI
(Zone 11)

January 3, 2009
1:14 AM

Post #5958616

Probably...but no idea which. Orchids I reckon won't like coffee...it is very acid.

DH won't let me use his coffee grounds...he dumpts them in a pile and wants to test the grounds for oil. He read that the spent grounds actually contain a lot of oil and he is experimenting for biodiesel!!! Maybe we could drink ourselves jittery to save the economy!!!!!

tcs1366

tcs1366
Itasca,IL&Lk Delton, WI
(Zone 5a)

January 3, 2009
1:32 AM

Post #5958686

in the summers, I will pour my left over coffee in to my "pots" of annuals.

so far, never had a problem... OH impatiens too.

I have a neighbor in wisc, and every year he has the most stunning pots of Impatiens... we asked him once if he fertilizes -- he said all he uses is coffee grounds. So i began watering mine with coffee... occasionally i'll work some grounds into the soil.
AlohaHoya
Keaau, HI
(Zone 11)

January 3, 2009
2:07 AM

Post #5958868

Remember that the acid is in the coffee, not so much the grounds...

sallyg

sallyg
Anne Arundel,, MD
(Zone 7b)

January 3, 2009
2:42 AM

Post #5959047

Ya know, I read these statements like Coffee is acid--- they don't give the average reader any clue that they're nowhere near like sulfuric acid,,even vinegar. They couldn't be, or coffee would be so acid too, wouldn't it?
Same problems with calling compost things green or brown.
PuddlePirate
North Ridgeville, OH
(Zone 5b)

January 3, 2009
3:22 AM

Post #5959217

Starbucks did an analysis of spent coffee grounds.

http://starbucks.com/aboutus/compost.asp

For what it's worth.

sallyg

sallyg
Anne Arundel,, MD
(Zone 7b)

January 3, 2009
3:39 AM

Post #5959298

I teaspoon of lime per 5 pounds of grounds. Yeah, go to the Southern States store and buy lime by the teaspoon !!! HA HA HA
I would say that's very weak acid.

Sheila_FW

Sheila_FW
Fort Worth, TX
(Zone 8a)

January 3, 2009
3:40 AM

Post #5959302

Here is a site that gives the ratio also; coffee near the bottom.
http://www.organicgardening.com/feature/0,7518,s1-3-79-112,00.html
PuddlePirate
North Ridgeville, OH
(Zone 5b)

January 3, 2009
5:04 AM

Post #5959603

I've dumped buckets (literally) of grounds on my flower beds. After perfunctorily working them into the top inch or two of soil, everything went swimmingly. Thanks to all the worms that came to dine on the grounds, the heavy clay soil's much looser and more fertile.

I haven't seen any indication of harm caused by acididity.
imapigeon
Gilroy (Sunset Z14), CA
(Zone 9a)

January 3, 2009
4:49 PM

Post #5960860

I put all my coffee grounds, filters and all, into my worm bin. They seem to love it. I've also decided coffee grounds helps keep the darn Argentine ants out of my compost bins, since apparently they don't like coffee. I've had some (temporary) success using coffee as an organic ant deterrent.

Sheila_FW

Sheila_FW
Fort Worth, TX
(Zone 8a)

January 3, 2009
6:42 PM

Post #5961189

LOL! I guess that is why coffee is such a good crop in Argentina!
gingerlily
Paxton, FL
(Zone 8a)

January 3, 2009
6:52 PM

Post #5961215

Thanks for added input and the links. Guess I'm gonna start pouring coffee on some unsuspecting plant every day. I have plenty to spread it around to. Since I am constantly adding to the bin, I was wondering how in the world you could know what the ratio is in the pile. The chart from the OG site will help me keep up I think. As long as I add a loose balance of each, sounds like I can make it work.

Sheila_FW

Sheila_FW
Fort Worth, TX
(Zone 8a)

January 3, 2009
7:10 PM

Post #5961249

It needs to be kept slightly moist. I have a problem with not enough greens some time of the year, then other times no browns, leaves, etc. So I keep my veggie/fruit trimmings in the freezer until I have enough browns to add to. Doesn't hurt and gives them a head start on decomposition.
I have started this year giving my leaves that cover my sleeping flower beds a headstart too. I blown or rake the leaves out, mulch them and add them back in the bed. Hopefully it will keept them from blowing away as easy and allow faster decomp. I throw the coffee grounds in my composter and also in all of my flowerbeds. I have beds full of nice fat earthworms! Too bad I don't go fishing; but the Robins love my yard.
gingerlily
Paxton, FL
(Zone 8a)

January 4, 2009
5:12 PM

Post #5964828

I'm getting better about watching the moisture level. Since I have a tumbler, I put a container under it to catch the "tea" that comes out like someone else mentioned. It's looking good, but I think I will need to add more dry stuff. Local restaurant has been giving me their veggie waste lately.

Sheila_FW

Sheila_FW
Fort Worth, TX
(Zone 8a)

January 4, 2009
11:05 PM

Post #5966354

I bet you get a lot of veggie waste from there. Maybe you need to contact an office for their shredded paper to keep up. LOL!
PuddlePirate
North Ridgeville, OH
(Zone 5b)

January 4, 2009
11:22 PM

Post #5966432

Ask that same restaurant for their cardboard boxes. Cardboard's a very high-carbon "brown" material.
Katye
Sammamish, WA
(Zone 7b)

January 5, 2009
1:49 AM

Post #5967104

Feeling antsy. Checked on my raised beds today. I had started the amending routine back in November with the usual suspects: leaves, shredded paper, LOTS of coffee grounds (thanks S'bx!), and Alfalfa pellets. I felt too hyper to stay indoors, so out to the garden & what a nice surprise! The first bed I had amended had the most wonderful soil, so much so, that I took the opportunity to heel in quite a few plants that had not made it to their final destinations.

A couple points of interest:
Temperature - my compost thermometer is broken, so the non-scientific data is from laying my hand on the surface, to 3" under the surface, to 6" and to 1': pleasantly warm at 6-12".

Worms: most were in the 3 - 6" strata, and lots of them. When I checked another of the beds, the worms were deeper. Another bed (one that I finished first week in December) had the greatest number of worms at 6", right where the coffee & leaves interfaced.

Also - 2 days ago, mulched with 2-3" of grounds in a large planter, and the worms are already working it.
This is all non-scientific, but I have found it interesting to see it up close & personal, and I am continually fascinated at the work that is being accomplished unseen.

I made another S'Bx run today - apparently I am the coffee ground queen! No one is collecting grounds - perhaps the local gardeners here are sane, and quite warm, without any soil building to do!

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

January 5, 2009
3:00 PM

Post #5968682

I was the one who posted that I was pouring diluted (50%) coffee into my hydrangea and camelia pots.
AlohaHoya
Keaau, HI
(Zone 11)

January 5, 2009
5:52 PM

Post #5969389

Just for kicks...I throw pickle and olive juice from the jars on the Gardenias...they love it!!!

My Swedish grandmother used to bury 10 or 12 cloves of garlic in our indoor gardenia plant we had as a child...and it made it bloom all over for a long time!!!! NO...they didn't smell of garlic!!!

sallyg

sallyg
Anne Arundel,, MD
(Zone 7b)

January 5, 2009
7:15 PM

Post #5969650

Katye- all interesting.
I may be the only queen at my Sbx too. We are few and far between? At least for winter.
gingerlily
Paxton, FL
(Zone 8a)

January 5, 2009
7:19 PM

Post #5969678

Well, Sheila, it is a small chinese restaurant in a small town, but it's enough to help a lot. Since there's only two of us at home, I don't have as much "green" stuff as I use to. And I haven't quite got them saving everything yet, but I'll keep encouraging them to save all the veggie waste.

Yes, PuddlePirate, I do need to do that, hadn't thought of it. But I had done some calculations using that chart on the OG link above and decided I need to add some newspapers or cardboard.

Aloha, I think garlic must be good for everything. We eat a lot of garlic. I pickled four gallons of garlic. That may make it not as potent medicinally, but it sure is good to eat.

Gymgirl, have you ever found any plant it isn't good to put it on?

We don't have a Starbuck's here, but I think I'll go ask the folks at the Huddle House. I know they'll think I'm crazy, but that's never stopped my or DH before. I think folks around here already think we're a little different.

Thanks for the suggestions and input.

This message was edited Jan 5, 2009 1:21 PM
AlohaHoya
Keaau, HI
(Zone 11)

January 5, 2009
7:54 PM

Post #5969857

You have given me great ideas...going around the beg for coffee grounds (...)
gen2026
Camden, AR

January 5, 2009
8:54 PM

Post #5970082

LOL - we don't have a starbucks...wonder if McDonalds has bulk grounds?? we don't really have any type of coffee house... small town...

Well, I have been treating different plants to my coffee filters but I haven't seen any change - of course, most things are dormant currently...didn't realize I could use the coffee itself! :-)

Thanks!
Genna
kqcrna
Cincinnati, OH
(Zone 6a)

January 5, 2009
9:11 PM

Post #5970157

No such thing as wasted coffee in my house.

A small independent coffee shop opened up in my neighborhood some months ago. They have been gracious in saving grounds for me. I gave them a 5 gallon bucket with a tight fitting lid to collect the grounds and filters. I pick up about 2 to 3 times/week and the bucket is 1/2 to 2/3 full each time. Since it's a small shop they don't generate a lot but it's a whole lot more than I would otherwise have.

I need to find another free 5 gallon bucket to make the exchange easier. No luck yet in getting a second one.

Karen
imapigeon
Gilroy (Sunset Z14), CA
(Zone 9a)

January 5, 2009
9:40 PM

Post #5970258

A lot of times you can get buckets from restaurants, too. I've gotten pickle buckets from Burger King, and lately my DS has been bringing me 5-gal soy sauce buckets from his favorite Japanese restaurant.

This message was edited Jan 5, 2009 4:19 PM

sallyg

sallyg
Anne Arundel,, MD
(Zone 7b)

January 5, 2009
9:43 PM

Post #5970267

I get my buckets from my neighbor who gets pool chems in them. Pool, spa, nearby? Some restaurant food comes in big buckets. Besides the lurking at construction sites. Those lids don't fit that well either come to think of it.
imapigeon
Gilroy (Sunset Z14), CA
(Zone 9a)

January 5, 2009
9:55 PM

Post #5970319

These are the BEST LIDS EVER:
http://www.amazon.com/Gamma-Plastics-Vittles-Buckets-bucket/dp/B000M5SI2A/ref=cm_cr-mr-title

They're not free, but they last for years. You can move them from one bucket to another, as the buckets will wear outlong before the lids. I've had some of these lids for 6 or 7 years & they're still going strong.
kqcrna
Cincinnati, OH
(Zone 6a)

January 5, 2009
11:01 PM

Post #5970538

I'm a little reluctant to use anything used to store chemicals for stuff I'm going to dump into my compost. I'd rather get them from some food source.

The one I have a got from a bakery department in a grocery store. They get icing in them. I keep trying at the 2 local groceries but they tell me that the deli department now uses most of the empties for storing things. They tell me to check back. Also, they close early in the day so I pretty much have to catch them in the a.m., not always possible with my schedule. I'll get another eventually. I could buy one from Home Cheapo but would rather get one free if I can. :-)

Those lids from Amazon do look nice, but I'm cheap.

Karen
AlohaHoya
Keaau, HI
(Zone 11)

January 6, 2009
1:31 AM

Post #5971197

Yup...that's where I go...the Bakery Dept. at the Supermarket. I know that restaurants and bakeries get a lot of them...sometimes only 3 or 4 gallons...sometimes rectangular which I like. They ARE food grade and the lids fit well. None of them, so far, have been free...more like 2.50 each which is OK with me 'cause they are clean!!!!
WormsLovSharon
Las Vegas, NV

January 6, 2009
4:22 AM

Post #5971855

What about cat litter big containers. My neighbor gets his from Target. I also got a couple of large containers, with lids from a paint retailer when I was buying a sealer My neighbor has a cat and gives me one or two containers a year from his cat litter. I use them for various reasons but all garden use. I am sure I could get more if I needed them. How about a Veterinarian clinic. I will research this and get back to you...Take Care, Happy New Year...
AlohaHoya
Keaau, HI
(Zone 11)

January 6, 2009
5:12 AM

Post #5971997

Any restaurtant...even the little chinese place up the street get their soysauce in a 4 gallon bucket - all of their sauces - they are a great place.

Sheila_FW

Sheila_FW
Fort Worth, TX
(Zone 8a)

January 6, 2009
5:36 AM

Post #5972048

You might try Craigs list for free buckets.

http://cincinnati.craigslist.org/zip/
kqcrna
Cincinnati, OH
(Zone 6a)

January 6, 2009
11:55 AM

Post #5972369

I never thought of kitty litter. How big are those buckets? I've never thought about it, but how much litter must one buy for a cat? And what is kitty litter? What kind of material? I assume it's made of something inert, but don't have a clue what that might be. (I must admit I'm not a cat person, I've always been a dog lover).

Karen
dragonfly53
(Terri )South Boston, VA
(Zone 7a)

January 6, 2009
12:12 PM

Post #5972387

Kitty litter buckets come in various sizes, I think the largest is almost as big as a 5 gallon bucket. Kitty litter can be made of clay, newspaper or absorbent crystals - I'm not sure what the crystals are made of, though. I usually get the clumping litter which is made of bentonite clay
kqcrna
Cincinnati, OH
(Zone 6a)

January 6, 2009
12:41 PM

Post #5972432

Thanks. I assumed it would be anything harmful if it's made for pets. I'm not some purist organic wacko but I avoid something like construction material with weird chemicals. My compost does often end up in my tomato bed.

Karen

tcs1366

tcs1366
Itasca,IL&Lk Delton, WI
(Zone 5a)

January 6, 2009
1:56 PM

Post #5972580

>>(I must admit I'm not a cat person, I've always been a dog lover).

Karen -- we never were either... til about a month ago when we took in a stray baby from jsweld

now i have those litter buckets piling up. Never thought about using them for anything though.

But having Sbux fill them with spent grounds... that would be quite heavy... guess i'd need two, to balance it out when i carried them.

sallyg

sallyg
Anne Arundel,, MD
(Zone 7b)

January 6, 2009
2:22 PM

Post #5972675

I just got a bucket of litter- it says 27 pounds. I think grounds are not quite that dense, judging from the bags I've gotten. I looks like 2 or 3 gallons at most. These rectangular buckets would be space efficient for the restaurant, Maybe you could work up to a rotation of a few and they could work on one or two at a time.
PuddlePirate
North Ridgeville, OH
(Zone 5b)

January 6, 2009
3:32 PM

Post #5972926

My local coffee shop collects grounds for me in 1-gal buckets that were originally used to ship pastry batter. Much easier for me to carry in my wheelchair.
Katye
Sammamish, WA
(Zone 7b)

January 7, 2009
1:22 AM

Post #5975378

One on each side - otherwise, you're lopsided!
pennefeather
McLean, VA
(Zone 6b)

January 7, 2009
1:43 AM

Post #5975469

You guys are too funny! I'm going to have to work up the nerve to try Starbucks. I think that its hard for me because I don't drink coffee at all, and I've never even been in the Starbucks here. We have three within 10 minutes of my house - one stand alone and two in the two supermarkets.

For areas without a Starbucks, Seven Eleven might be a good place to try as well or even local gas station if they make coffee.
Katye
Sammamish, WA
(Zone 7b)

January 7, 2009
1:51 AM

Post #5975501

Anyplace that has a kitchen/cafeteria like a hospital or college, and they might be quite accomodating saving the grounds for you.
I find it is easier for someone to agree to something, if you provide the idea & a method to implement it. Just be consistent in picking up what they give you. They may appreciate the idea of lessening their waste materials, as well as helping in the recycling effort. These places could also be tapped for cardboard & shreddings. One stop shopping!
AlohaHoya
Keaau, HI
(Zone 11)

January 7, 2009
1:54 AM

Post #5975516

I just brought home 8 gals. of coffee grounds in 2 4gal buckets. I went into two starbucks with a bucket and they were delighted to fill it...were thrilled I brought buckets! Now, SBC is growing and must have coffee shops...any latte bar would be delighted!!! So, this is what I did with 2 gals of coffee grounds:

I layered shredded computer paper I picked up at a business that saves it for me with the coffee grounds and some sawdust. When I put down the paper, I sprayed it with some water, then put on the coffee. It is outdoors and will get rained on. I will turn it tomorrow or the next day to make sure all the paper gets 'stained' by the coffee...then I will take it out as mulch. Can't be easier!!! For tonight I just lay some branches on the piles...about 5 layers...it will rain tonight...

I will bet there will be worms in it by tomorrow...what could be better????

Thanks for this thread...got me off my duff and doing it!!!
Katye
Sammamish, WA
(Zone 7b)

January 7, 2009
2:06 AM

Post #5975551

Do the Mongoose roust around in your compost areas, AH?
When I lived in Kona, they were just too active in all areas of my garden.
I did prefer dealing with them, instead of the ants.
mmmmm, white pineapple with ants - NOT!

Sheila_FW

Sheila_FW
Fort Worth, TX
(Zone 8a)

January 7, 2009
2:09 PM

Post #5976692

Penne...
Starbucks has a special foil bag and they have a bucket on the customer side of the counter with a sign. All you have to do is go in and pick them up if there is any. If they don't have any there and aren't busy, just ask if they have any and they will usually offer to bag you some. It is a company recycle promotion.
The grounds are usually real moist so their bags work great. I grab one everytime I am in there and stick it in the freezer until I need it in the composter.
AlohaHoya
Keaau, HI
(Zone 11)

January 7, 2009
3:57 PM

Post #5977109

No mongoose in the compost...big black labrador is too selfish! She loves the compost which is the Bokashi Method...she eats fruit and loves it...and fermented fruit? YUM!!!

Mongoose and pigs don't come around much because of the dog... but they are sly! Often one will get in my greenhouse and cause havoc!!!

Carol

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

January 7, 2009
11:12 PM

Post #5978813

Just an additional tip on that shredder paper -- the strips get EXTREMELY clumped up and heavy once they're wet -- I've found that using the confetti shredded paper is much easier to manipulate in your compost pile and, because it's already cut up rather small, it will break down faster...
Dean_W
Central Texas, TX
(Zone 8b)

January 8, 2009
2:31 AM

Post #5979638

I used to get a lot of coffee grounds from Starbucks. I actually got a big pile of them in my backyard I need to take out of the bags they have been there for some time so I'm sure they are quite moldy. I've kind of given up on my compost piles and collecting the grounds. I do however still frequent for a coffee. LOL!!!

Sheila_FW

Sheila_FW
Fort Worth, TX
(Zone 8a)

January 8, 2009
2:48 AM

Post #5979734

Yes, they will mold if not frozen. I usually go ahead and spread them out in the compost pile and stir in.
Dean_W
Central Texas, TX
(Zone 8b)

January 8, 2009
2:58 AM

Post #5979780

Hey Shelia,

I think I'll either put them atop the compost or just spread them along the garden.

Thanks,

sallyg

sallyg
Anne Arundel,, MD
(Zone 7b)

January 8, 2009
4:39 AM

Post #5980110

I was shy about asking Sbucks too, as I was never a customer. I was 'denied' a couple of times but this store changed its tune or got educated or something. So now they give it to me without blinking and are very nice. I sometimes buy a chai anyway.

By the way---my store doesn't do the foil bag thing, they just have a big bag from a big trash can. They'll give that to me. I really should write a nice note to the manager.
WormsLovSharon
Las Vegas, NV

January 8, 2009
5:03 AM

Post #5980166

Well, wish me luck. Remember this is Las Vegas. I am going to the near by Starbucks to see if they give away coffee grounds to gardeners. I suspect they will question, "We have gardeners in Las Vegas?" I did mortgages in Las Vegas since the early 70's before I retired in 2003. I worked for Transamerica, Wells Fargo and Chase Manhattan. Chase the last 25 years. All the new programs came out with all the guidelines for each program. Each guideline always disclosed where the program was allowed. Always, NO NEVADA. Not until the early 90's the investors decided we were not all hookers and pimps. If I get turned away from Starbucks, no big deal. I will let you know. This is on my thing to do tomorrow...I have my list but sometimes I am a day late because my ADD takes control and does a project like last night. My DH went to work out at 4pm. I saw a stain on the cook top. I went to clean that spot and the next think I knew, when my DH came home two hours later I had disassembled the whole cook top and cleaned all I could see. I put it back in place this morning. See what my DH means by my ADD. I relieved my housekeeper from her position because one morning I dropped something under my dressing table and found months of dust. I was so disappointed because I invited her to lunch everyday she was at our home and gave her truck loads of items to sale at her church fund raising. I am now cleaning my own home and enjoying it. What happens when gardening season starts????????.

Thumbnail by WormsLovSharon
Click the image for an enlarged view.

WormsLovSharon
Las Vegas, NV

January 8, 2009
5:04 AM

Post #5980170

This was the next step

Thumbnail by WormsLovSharon
Click the image for an enlarged view.

WormsLovSharon
Las Vegas, NV

January 8, 2009
5:15 AM

Post #5980196

Get my drift. I am a ADD crazy individual..In my youth they just thought we were not well disciplined. My son is an Internist and he was describing ADD to parents to disclose their sons situation. He said to him self, "oh my God, I am describing my mother and myself". Late yesterday my DH went to work out and I was in the kitchen and went to get a spot off the cook top!!!!! One of the pictures is everything I replaced into the dining room from the Kitchen.. LOL. My DH says he will not leave me alone until spring...LOL...

Thumbnail by WormsLovSharon
Click the image for an enlarged view.

AlohaHoya
Keaau, HI
(Zone 11)

January 8, 2009
9:37 AM

Post #5980498

Gymgirl...I noticed that about the shredded paper!!! I actually lay it out in layers over about 2 sq. yards...they don't lump much. Then DH will come by in a couple of days with the tractor and sawdust...lift up buckets of it in the front loader and drop it brusquely...spreading the stuff around. we do that with the coffee grounds in it over about a week and pretty soon is is a lovely mess full of dizzy worms, all brown and ready to go down as mulch and our minds at ease because we are being so green. Win win!!!

Sheila_FW

Sheila_FW
Fort Worth, TX
(Zone 8a)

January 8, 2009
1:50 PM

Post #5980850

sk in Vegas...
I am a on and off ADD person. Kind of like a binge acoholic! Funny statement your son came to realize after he said it. Hope you find another person to help around the house, because you need to be in the garden in the spring. I love your backsplash btw.
I bet your Strbks will give you some grounds, I am sure they serve a lot of coffee there! Take your own small bucket in the car just in case they say they don't have any bags! lol!

tcs1366

tcs1366
Itasca,IL&Lk Delton, WI
(Zone 5a)

January 8, 2009
2:01 PM

Post #5980907

I would "phone first"

call ahead, that way they can have the grounds ready for you.

i've gotten them both ways... in the foil #5 bag and the huge clear trash bags ... my kid works there - so i rarely have to ask. It's the milk jugs for winter sowing that he forgets all the time.
timeinabottle
Louisville, KY

January 9, 2009
8:01 PM

Post #5985915

I have developed a routinewhich works well for me. I had a huge pile of leaves this year which I intended to shred. Well my shredder broke ,,, and so that takes care of that for thios year.

I have been going to starbucks every day at about 1:00 in the afternoon.

I usually get 1 or 2 foil bags of grounds. I pour these grounds on top of my pile and turn it into the next pile over . It takes about 5 minutes at most. I don"t break my back and I am adding Nitrogen to the browns.

It is also satisfying to see the steam roll up when I fork over a little bit.





Sheila_FW

Sheila_FW
Fort Worth, TX
(Zone 8a)

January 9, 2009
11:27 PM

Post #5986519

Good going time!! The SB near me is hard to get in and get out and is always busy, so I don't go there much. But when we go to others here and there I never forget to check their ground bucket. We go through about 3 pots of coffee at home so I have a container on the counter to save those in, they accumulate faster than you realize.
pennefeather
McLean, VA
(Zone 6b)

January 10, 2009
12:48 AM

Post #5986840

I just called my Starbucks, and they said they have plenty already packaged, so I'm sending hubby over after he picks our daughter up from her dance. This will be my first time!
gingerlily
Paxton, FL
(Zone 8a)

January 10, 2009
1:14 AM

Post #5986933

Well, I went to the back door of the Chinese restaurant to pick up some green bean scraps I had told ( told because we are friends) the young man who mans the register to save for me. His wife was sitting there cleaning them when we were finishing our lunch. He didn't tell her to save them I guess, cause they were in the garbage. Anyway, they told me to come in the kitchen and one guy was peeling potatoes, so of course I said "good, good", then saw carrot scraps in the garbage can and picked some up and told them "good" (the two I was communicating with speak only a couple of words in English). So now they have the idea of saving all veggie matter, before they were just saving broccoli and bok choy scraps. I did tell them "no meat". When we left, I saw Gao pick up a bucket/lid that was outside the back and I thought, oh yes!, bet he's gonna save all the veggie stuff for me now. I believe I ended up with nine pounds yesterday. I think with what may come in the future I will have to start a compost pile because I won't be able to keep putting it all in the compost twin tumbler.

I tried to figure up the carbon/nitrogen balance on all the stuff I've been putting in the last few days, and I believe it's turned out pretty good. Did have to add some wheat straw and cardboard/paper. Already had shredded leaves in it. It already had a little composted stuff in it, but it's really looking better now.

I've had this tumbler a couple of years and haven't done much with it, so I'm excited to finally get it going good. DH is helpful too. He's gonna help me fix up a pile site.

He laughed a few minutes ago when he said "you don't want this do you?" and started to throw away a paper towel tube. I said sure I do, I'll compost it. " We use everything don't we, don't throw anything away", he said. Yeah, plastic, can't compost that.

Sorry to be so longwinded tonight, just having fun with it.
imapigeon
Gilroy (Sunset Z14), CA
(Zone 9a)

January 10, 2009
1:27 AM

Post #5986979

Wow, what a haul! You GO girl!!!

Sheila_FW

Sheila_FW
Fort Worth, TX
(Zone 8a)

January 10, 2009
2:09 AM

Post #5987109

Reminds me what happened to Frostweed and her DH. They had someone doing tree trimming using a mulcher on their street last year and they told him they would take what he had mulched. They asked him to dump it in the driveway. The man didn't speak real good english so he didn't get that they only wanted "one" load. They dumped quite a lot before her DH realized it and stopped them. LOL!! They don't have to buy any mulch this year!!
pennefeather
McLean, VA
(Zone 6b)

January 10, 2009
2:43 AM

Post #5987203

Hubby got back from Starbucks with two bags of grounds. He said the young lady was very excited that he wanted him and told him to come back anytime. Now that I know it is so easy, I will probably stop by once a week.

Sheila_FW

Sheila_FW
Fort Worth, TX
(Zone 8a)

January 10, 2009
3:02 AM

Post #5987334

Hubby...you get a gold star!!!
gingerlily
Paxton, FL
(Zone 8a)

January 10, 2009
1:50 PM

Post #5988366

We live in a rural area, so when they come by trimming amd mulching trees and bushes under the power lines , we ask them to dump it on our property. I think we ended up with 3 or 4 loads this past year. I noticed other folks had some dumped on their property, too.

Now I've just got to get smart and start spreading it around.
gingerlily
Paxton, FL
(Zone 8a)

January 15, 2009
1:00 AM

Post #6006613

Well, I'm excited! I picked up 2 lbs of grounds at a small Starbuck's at the food court at the Air Force Base BX. I can't get them on a regular basis because I live 50 miles away, but when I'm there I'll check. They had a container with a sign on it "Free for your garden." Yesterday morning I spoke with folks at two local Tom Thumbs (quik pik, minute market, 7-11, whatever they are called in your area). They immediately gave me a bag they had just pulled out to throw away. I decided I would go ahead and take it and pick out the paper/plastic . It wasn't bad, just put on a glove, and ended up with 8 pounds of grounds. BUT, they let me leave a small bucket with lid to collect the grounds in, saying they would give it a try. I weighed what I had collected over the last ten days at our house and it was a big whopping 3/4 lb. That's why I need help. Just not enough at my house. I did give the folks working there a small thank you gift of some home made chocolate covered cherries. That way maybe they will feel good about doing this for me.
Katye
Sammamish, WA
(Zone 7b)

January 15, 2009
4:21 AM

Post #6007304

Wow - very timely & what a great trade! Hope this works out for you - sometimes it's hard to get certain additions for the compost piles or garden, and real nice to find a good source.

sallyg

sallyg
Anne Arundel,, MD
(Zone 7b)

January 15, 2009
1:23 PM

Post #6007869

gingerlily--the gift was a good idea.
And so is the "free for your garden' container.
AlohaHoya
Keaau, HI
(Zone 11)

January 23, 2009
6:42 AM

Post #6039316

Well, you sure got me going!!! I now am on a rotating 5 gal. bucket status with a coffee shop 2x week. I drop off an empty one and pick up the one she has filled!!! The nice thing is that they also dump in the filters!!!! Then I pick up another 3-5 gals from a Starbucks and then another bucket 3 x week from a convenience store. I soak shreeded computer paper i get from a store which I soak for about a week in the coffee grounds = the computer paper gets stained brown and makes not bad looking mulch!

I put it in the compost, all the beds (the beans and pigeon peas love it). What a great! idea. Thanks so much. Love my car when I pick it up (a total of about 10 gals of grounds every week...)it smell so good!!! A lot better than steer manure!
pennefeather
McLean, VA
(Zone 6b)

January 25, 2009
5:08 PM

Post #6049141

Is it possible to have too much coffe grounds in your compost? I have added grounds twice from Starbucks, and I don't think that I am in danger of overdoing things yet, but I am wondering if there is a point at which I should stop.
Katye
Sammamish, WA
(Zone 7b)

January 25, 2009
5:30 PM

Post #6049221

Like everything else, you'll want to achieve a balance. When I have excess, I mix it into the soil in containers, or mulch lightly with it.

Sheila_FW

Sheila_FW
Fort Worth, TX
(Zone 8a)

January 25, 2009
5:47 PM

Post #6049275

I sprinkle it directly on beds that have leaves in them. I figure it will help there with the decomposition.
AlohaHoya
Keaau, HI
(Zone 11)

January 25, 2009
6:13 PM

Post #6049354

Coffee grounds can be used to make Bokashi, too.
RatherBDigging
Akron, PA
(Zone 6b)

March 14, 2009
5:17 AM

Post #6264370

What is Bokashi?

Sheila_FW

Sheila_FW
Fort Worth, TX
(Zone 8a)

March 14, 2009
11:07 AM

Post #6264735

Here is what I found. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bokashi_composting
AlohaHoya
Keaau, HI
(Zone 11)

March 14, 2009
5:05 PM

Post #6265902

There are a bunch of threads in this forum on Bokashi...
PuddlePirate
North Ridgeville, OH
(Zone 5b)

March 16, 2009
8:04 PM

Post #6276512

Pages tagged "bokashi": http://davesgarden.com/tools/tags/tag.php?tag=bokashi
margaran
(Maggie) Jacksonvill, FL
(Zone 9a)

March 17, 2009
1:14 PM

Post #6279746

Please excuse my brief intrusion on your thread. Per admin, I am unable to cross-post this info in its' own thread as non-members would see it and be distressed. We are having a co-op for a product folks on this forum/thread my be interested in. Here is the link, http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/962566/

Thank you for your tolerance of my brief intrusion.

Regards,
Maggie
cue_chik
Palm Coast, FL
(Zone 9a)

April 4, 2009
10:28 AM

Post #6362522

Are coffee grounds good for all plants or only certain ones? I am thinking about stopping at my local Starbucks to see fi they have them. I have a HB/BF garden and could use the boost, but I dont want to accidentally hurt any of the plants.

This message was edited Apr 4, 2009 6:29 AM
kqcrna
Cincinnati, OH
(Zone 6a)

April 4, 2009
10:45 AM

Post #6362544

I've not seen any damage from them. They're a mild nitrogen (1 % ?) so they don't seem to hurt. I aim to keep it off the actual plant but have accidentally had grounds land on plants as I go flinging.

I think of it more as a soil amendment- more organic matter for the soil rather than fertiliser.

Karen
cue_chik
Palm Coast, FL
(Zone 9a)

April 4, 2009
10:47 AM

Post #6362552

Thanks! I'd rather use a natural type of fertilizer (and a bonus that it's free!) than something with a lot of chemicals that would be bad for the critters in my garden and potentially end up in the ground water supply. I'm going to try it. can't hurt, right?
kqcrna
Cincinnati, OH
(Zone 6a)

April 4, 2009
11:07 AM

Post #6362588

No, won't hurt and it is free. Keeps them out of the landfill, too, so it's a win-win. I use the grounds from my own kitchen and those from the local coffee shop. I have to pick up a bucket there today.

Karen

tcs1366

tcs1366
Itasca,IL&Lk Delton, WI
(Zone 5a)

April 4, 2009
12:53 PM

Post #6362756

Karen -- are you working it into the ground now? I havent done it yet ... while weeding the past month or so... i've seen A LOT of worms... bet they'd like a snack.
kqcrna
Cincinnati, OH
(Zone 6a)

April 4, 2009
1:10 PM

Post #6362821

No, I never till and don't dig more than necessary, I just fling the grounds, eventually mix them into the existing mulch with a rake or hoe or something of the sort. If left as the top layer UCGs get too dry and repel water, if mixed with other stuff they're fine. I just continually add more layers of OM to the top of the soil. My yard is strictly no-till, disturbing the soil as little as possible. Right now though I have an entire new forest of volunteer maple seedlings coming up. I need to get out there with my trusty hoe.

Karen
Katye
Sammamish, WA
(Zone 7b)

April 4, 2009
6:02 PM

Post #6363828

I mulch with coffee grounds, but there is little chance of them drying out as the area I live in receives lots of rain (outside Seattle).
I had read an article some time ago about a mulch of fresh coffee grounds repelling slugs. I only have access to the brewed grounds, and so far have not noticed any slug damage using them. The ultimate test would be for me to spread them around Marigolds & Nasturtiums here. In all the years I have used them, I have not noticed any damage whatsoever to any plants. As Karen indicated - best to keep them off the foliage.
I have used the brewed grounds in my orchard around my Blueberries. I mix it into the existing mulch, about a 2" layer. Helps keep the weeds down, and any that pop through are quite easy to pull. If I am working a new area, I will extract as many weeds as possible and then smother with CGs & paper/cardboard. This works quite well for me: clay-based soil.
I have found them to be an excellent soil amendment, and a way to make the worms smile...

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

April 8, 2009
2:11 PM

Post #6381769

Try Spraying your slugs with a solution of brewed coffee in a hand held sprayer. Um, no more of those slugs. Wait til right after it rains, cause the slugs climb out to keep from drowning. Great time to catch em in the open.

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

April 8, 2009
4:24 PM

Post #6382278

Here's link about killing slugs with coffee grounds - go towards the bottom for the info

http://www.plantea.com/slug-baits-coffee.htm
AlohaHoya
Keaau, HI
(Zone 11)

April 8, 2009
5:12 PM

Post #6382468

If I did that...I would have a front door jammed with snails and slugs asking 'more please' - riots in the garden!!!

Sheila_FW

Sheila_FW
Fort Worth, TX
(Zone 8a)

April 8, 2009
8:02 PM

Post #6383077

I have had loads of slugs in the past especially in the spring. The last two years they aren't as many and no noticable damage. I have been putting the coffee grounds on my beds for a few years now, seems that may be the difference.
kqcrna
Cincinnati, OH
(Zone 6a)

April 8, 2009
9:08 PM

Post #6383344

I've had a big improvement since I started using the iron phosphate.

Karen
AlohaHoya
Keaau, HI
(Zone 11)

April 9, 2009
2:38 AM

Post #6384759

I LOVE the iron phosphate!!! My dog doesn't like it (which is good) and the slugs love it...but the snails ignore it. Here there is a horrible disease carried by the slugs and snails called Rat Lungworm Disease. It is like Menengitis...no cure. Some people have died. We just don't go around munching on things in the garden!!!!

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

April 9, 2009
4:36 PM

Post #6386840

What the Iron Phosphate Brand name called? Here I've seen Sluggo. Is that the same thing?
AlohaHoya
Keaau, HI
(Zone 11)

April 9, 2009
5:20 PM

Post #6387190

Perhaps I mispoke...it is the Sluggo brand I like...
kqcrna
Cincinnati, OH
(Zone 6a)

April 9, 2009
6:39 PM

Post #6387540

Sluggo and Escar-Go are common ones, but there are other brands, too. Gardeners Supply has one but I forget the name. Just look for iron phosphate as the active ingredient.

Karen
imapigeon
Gilroy (Sunset Z14), CA
(Zone 9a)

April 10, 2009
4:08 PM

Post #6391398

Sluggo is the GREATEST! And they have a new Super Sluggo or something like that, which also uses natural ingredients and works on earwigs, sowbugs, etc. I've been trying it in one bed to see if it makes a difference, and I seem to have less damage to some of the plants that didn't have slime trails, but were being eaten by something. Seems to be working!

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

April 13, 2009
2:03 PM

Post #6403161

Thanks, Guys
HopeSue
Laingsburg, MI

May 5, 2012
9:16 PM

Post #9112173

I have been collecting the coffee grounds from home in a Glad plastic container and refrigerating it until the container is full, then dumping it into my compost pile. No smell!

sallyg

sallyg
Anne Arundel,, MD
(Zone 7b)

May 6, 2012
8:50 PM

Post #9113391

Clever!

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

May 7, 2012
7:03 AM

Post #9113799

My hubby saves coffee grounds, dries them in the sun, and stores them in whatever containers are available. This way they don't go moldy.
mauryhillfarm
Vashon, WA
(Zone 8b)

May 7, 2012
7:12 AM

Post #9113808

Coffee grounds can also be added to a worm bin if you have one.
tropicalnut777
Provo, UT
(Zone 5a)

May 7, 2012
8:39 AM

Post #9113927

my mom use to put coffee/tea grounds on her plants..and now i do..
when i get a ton.. several 5 gal buckets i add to my compost..no smell for me either
on the gardens..vegy or flower.. the earthworms show up big time..:)
one yr i put alot on the vegy garden..some were heaped..maybe couple inches..
checking things out mid spring..i brushed some aside..
WOW.. baby worms everywhere.. :)
im guessing the robin population boomed that spring..:) or some very fat baby robins..
lol
good stuff coffee grounds..

sallyg

sallyg
Anne Arundel,, MD
(Zone 7b)

May 7, 2012
2:21 PM

Post #9114386

Have I told you my son got a summer job at a coffee place?
Yeah man!

Sheila_FW

Sheila_FW
Fort Worth, TX
(Zone 8a)

May 7, 2012
6:12 PM

Post #9114762

WRG...first dibs on the grounds!

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

June 27, 2012
8:39 AM

Post #9183282

I just read through this thread again, and need some new advice. I have a new raised bed to fill for my fall/wtr garden. It'll have cabbages, broccoli, cauliflowers, lettuce and spinach. I just bought seven 25 lb. bags of MOO NURE organic compost (I'm not an organic gardener...) It has a slight manure smell to it, and I've read that truly aged compost doesn't have any smell to it. But, I've used Black Kow Composted manure right out of the bag before, and it smelled the same, so not too worried. Also, I have at least two months before I'll plant anything in this bed.

I'm putting together a mix of pine bark fines, builders sand, peat, and vermiculite to fill it with. I have access to coffee grinds by the bucketsful, and shredder paper, too. My question regards how to incorporate the compost and the coffee grinds into the mix for the new bed. I have been trying to get the worms to come, too, but that's slow going. Should I just mix all these ingredients together?

The other possible organic ingredients are in the three attempts at composters sitting in my side yard -- all just sitting there. They are plastic garbage cans that I painstakingly drilled holes all over (took me almost all day to drill all those holes in three cans...). At the time, I had lots of bags of leaves, so I dumped them into cans #1and #2. Can #3 is the "rotation can". Dump #2 into #3, and #1 into #2, then rotate the process. Well, the leaves have sort of shrunk down, but there's no heat or anything. I didn't expect any without any raw grass for nitrogen (lawn man uses a mulching mower...) I sprinkled in some dry molasses, but, hey, nothing's going on in those cans. I have an abundance of browns, and without some nitrogen, nada...I thought of buy some alfalfa pellets to cause some excitement...anyways, I also have another can with no holes that I have been chucking in all the GREEN cuttings from the yard. Mostly, my tomato vines and old weedy stuff I pull up here and there. That can seems HOT every time I open it! Could be from sitting in the sun all day, but, hey...it's some kinda heat going on in there and it's taking no time for my vines to shrink down.

Should I put this can of greens with the cans of leaves, and throw in the coffee grinds, maybe? I was throwing all my table scraps into the "browns", but there were so many flies over there in the beginning, it wasn't a regular practice after awhile. I'm still collecting table scraps and have been "hole composting" in my existing raised veggie bed, and in the rose bush bed.

How should I proceed to get all this stuff incorporated and into bed #2 by the end of August, so I can sprinkle my root crop seeds?

Much appreciated.

P.S. I think a good start might be to begin layering the shredder paper on the ground and tossing on the coffee grinds, like AlohaHoya did. I could do several layers like this til the worms come, then mix up the rest of the stuff and build up from there? How best to mix in the compost? Or do I use that as a whole separate layer on top? Do the root crop seeds want to start off in the compost, or grow down into the compost?

Thanks again, Guys!

Linda

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

June 27, 2012
11:39 AM

Post #9183541

Linda - if you mix everythig together and it starts to get hot, then you will not be able to sow seeds in it. Hot compost equals dead seeds.

To get mulched leaves to break down into wonderful, rich, black dirt, I put them in 25gallon pots and let the rain soak them. Just this morning I mulched a bed with some of the mulched leaves that had been in pots for a acouple of months and they had already started to break down. It takes roughly six months or so for them to completely turn into soil in those pots.

If you are wondering whether or not your MOO NURE is ready to use, set the bag in the sun for a few days, then stick your hand into the center. If it's hot, it's not ready. If it has just been warmed by the sun, it should be okay.

I would not combine manure and coffee grounds - too much nitrogren - I could be wrong about this.

Shredded newspaper? I've read that earthworms love this stuff, but I've never tried it.

Quoting:I also have another can with no holes that I have been chucking in all the GREEN cuttings from the yard


Does rain get into this can? If so, the contents may be "rotting" rather than "composting". Something to do with aerobic or anaerobic break down. If I remember correctly, anaerobic soil can be toxic to plants.

Finished compost can be used lower down in your bed. Unfinished compost, in my opinion, is best used as a top dressing, so it doesn't heat up.

Here's a photo (taken June 3rd 2012) of mulched leaves in a 25 gallon pot

Thumbnail by HoneybeeNC
Click the image for an enlarged view.

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

June 27, 2012
12:06 PM

Post #9183580

Bee,
You're the GREATEST! You just explained a whole lot in a few words and pics!

►You're right about the "greens" in the closed can rotting rather than composting.
►The leaves in the cans with the holes look like those in your pot
►after I dump the pine bark fines (PBFs) into the bed mix, I'll have four 25-gallon tubs available for leaf collection in the side yard!
►Great tip on the MOO NURE! Will set them out directly!
►The manure and coffee grinds will be good for the cabbages and mustard and collard greens, to encourage leafy growth!

So, regarding the rotting greens and the leaves. You think I can safely mix them together in the aerated cans and proceed from there? Or, just go with the leaves mixed into everything else?

Thanks, Again!

Linda

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

June 27, 2012
7:40 PM

Post #9184125

>> So, regarding the rotting greens and the leaves. You think I can safely mix them together in the aerated cans and proceed from there? Or, just go with the leaves mixed into everything else?

As long as you get the greens and browns togther, perferably in one place, they will cook well.

>> ►The manure and coffee grinds will be good for the cabbages and mustard and collard greens, to encourage leafy growth!

My theiry is that those greens are even more precious to the compost heap than the plants! Since the C-N ratio can be as low as 20:1, using some of the greens to speed up the composting will gain you large benefits in organic matter. A tiny amount of Miracle Gro would be appreicated almost as muc h by the plants, and then several months from now you will have much more finishjed compost, which they will REALLY love.

Or if yhou wnat to stgay more organic and feed the soil and plants only with organic nitruigen, you could give them the coffee grounds and manure.

(But then consider a handfull or two of cheap chemical lawn fertilzer into your composter! The chyemical stuff has vastgly more N than manure of green leaves, and the microbes can for sure handle it. They will digest it, incorporate into living tissue and make it organic enough to spread directly on the soil.)

But nitrogen is usually the limitng factor for compost as well as for tired soil. The slimy greens will help the browns to cook, but so would manure, coffee grounds, molasses or chemical nitrogen.

----
I typed before reading your whole post:

Coffee grounds (and manure) are great, N-rich "greens". I would cook those with the shredder paper and brown leaves for a few months before burying the paper. Isn't paper like wood or sawdust: likely to cause a temporary nitrogen deficit?

Aslo, kitchen scraps are often my only 'green' when I don't get coffee grounds. I think of them as the catalyst that makes to pile cook. Sometimes I buy apples more because the cores go into the heap to burn the browns, than becuase I like apples!

Three cans must mean that each load is pretty small. Can you throw them all together in one heap to get more size? Maybe hide it with a tarp if neighbors are a problem? Certainly try to save some greens out of the "in-hole" composting, to speed up the brown breakdown. Dig a hole into your browns and bury them there. I would not spread greens on top, they dry olut to fast. Bury them where bacteria, bugs and worms are comfy.

>> Should I put this can of greens with the cans of leaves, and throw in the coffee grinds, maybe?

Oh, I see you thoguht of that. YES! And I always bury my kitchen scraps in my compost heap. (It is one medium-size pile on the ground, where worms can find it. Worms are attracted to coffee grounds!)

No reason to compost PBF. Instead, save their structure for the soil. And they might slow down your pile (unless they add aeration, which you can always do with a pitchfork or shovel).
bellieg
Virginia Beach, VA

June 28, 2012
4:08 AM

Post #9184347

My composting method is very simple and not as complicated as others.I have a 2 gallon canister for the my kitchen scraps.My kitchen scraps which include food leftovers goes to my home made composter. I have 3 big trash barrels and are kept all the way at the end of the yard. I compost left over bread from the food pantry. when it gets full my husband buries the contents underneath the clippings.

the garden/yard waste goes on a pile behind the shed and I get a lot, in fact i just used it to compost my veggie garden. It is all organic.

It is a way of life and nothing is wasted!!!
We recycle!!! Happy composting!!!

Bellie
gen2026
Camden, AR

June 28, 2012
7:12 AM

Post #9184504

Are you saying the 2 gals of food scraps goes into the trash barrels? or under the yard waste behind the shed? sorry... I was just trying to clarify. I attempted a traditional "compost pile" but didnt accomplish anything with it except to end up with a huge pile of leaves, debris and weeds!! No way could I have ever recovered any compost from it. So, then I moved to a shady area and started just piling my kitchen scraps and small limbs etc in a pile... this didn't accomplish much either because I had free range chickens who would feast on it. Now, all my chickens are gone and I am trying to come up with an effective method to compost my small amount of kitchen and yard waste... I dug a small hole in the same shady location and am trying to pile in the hole and hope that helps to keep it contained in one area...but it doesn't really seem to be accomplishing anything either. I guess maybe I should try a trash can? I just don't want to deal with a rotten smell close to the house! I have NO trees in my yard so I have NO leaves to add. I do have access to paper which I have been told can take the place of the leaves but I am not sure that is correct...

Thanks!

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

June 28, 2012
7:16 AM

Post #9184509

Hey, Belle!

You must've been busy. Good to hear from you!

Girl, I do not like complicated! I just want my stuff to break down (in the garden), and turn into that nice, earthy, crumbly goodness ya'll have been getting.

When I was married, my DH used to chuck all the yard clippings into this humongous pile out back. Grass and leaves. It was constantly smoldering, and I realized it was from all that grass. I refused to use it on my veggies, cause our yard was the neighborhood latrine for the roaming cats. From what I know now, that heat killed anything pathogenic from the cats, and it was perfectly OK to use. I think it was more of a "mind" thing going on with me.

I might need to go make a compost run... He'd let me...

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

June 28, 2012
7:27 AM

Post #9184526

Gen2026,
I think Belle's method is as follows:

Site #1 is the 2 gallon canister for the kitchen scraps.
Site #2 is the 3 big trash barrels kept all the way at the end of the yard. She also composts leftover bread from the food pantry.
Site #3 is the huge pile of clippings -- the garden/yard waste, on a pile, behind the shed

#1 goes into #2. When #2 (the 3 barrels), is filled her husband buries the 3 trash barrels full underneath the clippings.

The clippings provide the nitrogen to "heat" everything that's breaking down. The 3 barrels of scraps and bread "feed"?? the pile so the organisms and worms will come to the table in the first place. They also throw off "heat" from their own energy, as they work furiously at breaking down the smorgasbord!

Hope I got this right!

Linda

"It is a way of life and nothing is wasted!!!
We recycle!!! Happy composting!!!"

This message was edited Jun 28, 2012 9:43 AM
gen2026
Camden, AR

June 28, 2012
7:30 AM

Post #9184532

Thanks! I just wasn't sure I was following the process!

sallyg

sallyg
Anne Arundel,, MD
(Zone 7b)

June 28, 2012
7:49 AM

Post #9184559

I just get exhausted everytime I read this thread. SO much work going into these composts.

A lot of the results depend on some basic factors ( moisture, N content, particle size, ambient temperatures ) and it's pretty hard to diagnose over the 'net what's happening or gong to happen in your pile.

Small amounts of kitchen waste, buried in the ground, good method. They should melt away. They'll be adding moisture and some bio activity to the soil, you just won't really see it.

I don't mean to sound like a party pooper. We've read so much advice for years about compost, and it just doesn't happen so neatly as all the advice makes it sound, without careful attention to the basic factors... and who wants to spend all day doing that, or has the needed ratios on ingredients ready all at the same time?

Gymgirl, my advice would be to layer all your old 'compost', paper shreds, coffee grounds, then top with your soil mix. By the time the roots get to the compost it'll be just rotting along. The lower oxygen in the lower soil layer will keep the heat down, I would guess. I just don't think we can say what's going to happen because we ( I?) really can't visualize the ratios of what you've got. for example, a gallon of coffee grounds looks like "a lot" when we brew coffee two mugs at a time. The same gallon of grounds over a three by ten garden bed is nothing.

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

June 28, 2012
7:59 AM

Post #9184576

Is it ok to tell Sallyg "I LOVE YOU!" in this thread???

Nothing kinky going on...it's just that she got to the bottom line first!

THANK YOU, ALL! ^:-)^^:-)^

P.S. Regarding any "heat" build-up. I can start that bottom layer with the shredder paper, scraps and coffee grinds for the next 2-3 weekends, before I even have to put the top layer of soil mix in place. I'm not sowing root crop seeds in this bed until the end of July, mid-August!

This message was edited Jun 28, 2012 10:04 AM
bellieg
Virginia Beach, VA

June 28, 2012
8:34 AM

Post #9184635

Linda,
you explained the process very well, must have been a teacher??

Actually my method is effortless!!

We are now in Birmingham baby sitting our 2.5 year old g-son.

It is gold season for me so i had been very busy but find time to read all the threads that I watch.

My garden is so lush, i do nor have to worry about water because we have a deep well and someone waters my gardens while I am gone. I think of my garden all the time while i am away. LOL!!!

Sally g,
How long had you been composting? You will find a method that works for you.

Belle

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

June 28, 2012
1:25 PM

Post #9185075

Linda
Quoting:So, regarding the rotting greens and the leaves. You think I can safely mix them together in the aerated cans and proceed from there?


Take a quick whiff of the contents as you remove the lid. If it smells highly of ammonia, then I would not use it. I'm not sure if the toxicity can be reduced. I once mixed potting mix that I KNEW had an ammonia smell with good potting mix and not a single seed sprouted!

sallyg

sallyg
Anne Arundel,, MD
(Zone 7b)

June 28, 2012
1:27 PM

Post #9185077

aw Gymgirl, I'm feelin the LUV!!!
ROFL
We have such a friendly group here.
Anyhoo. I like your idea - ". I can start that bottom layer with the shredder paper, scraps and coffee grinds for the next 2-3 weekends, before I even have to put the top layer of soil mix in place"

I can hardly imagine staring from scratch the way tyou are, I think thats what exhausts me.
~~
Belle
I've watched leaves get dirty since high school and um well, for twenty one years at this house. I don't 'sweat' over it. I generally build a large leaf compost bin each fall, in rotating locations in the garden. Then in the summer, plant some kind of gourd, squash, pumpkin on top with some dirt. Watering the pile and plant and by fall this compost pile is done and has shrunk down, then take the lincoln logs style boards away and get ready for a new one.
oops gotta go to work...

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

June 28, 2012
2:33 PM

Post #9185154

Belle,
Actually, i'm a "latent" teacher. That would've been my other career...

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

June 28, 2012
4:24 PM

Post #9185262

>> If it smells highly of ammonia, then I would not use it. I'm not sure if the toxicity can be reduced. I once mixed potting mix that I KNEW had an ammonia smell with good potting mix and not a single seed sprouted!

If it is just ammonia and not some plant pathogen, diluting it a lot by mixing with lots of browns would be sure to cure the ammonia toxicity.

Letting it air out for long enoguh, excess ammonia would evaporate.
Letting rain perk through it, the ammonia would wash away very quckly.

BUT if some nasty bacteria got a firm grip on some unbalanced slime, and that batch went right into pots or seedling flats ... yuck, after things died would be a very good time to sterilize vigorously.

I have great faith in healthy soil, or an acitve reasonably balanced compost maintaining such variety of organisms that they can overwhelm and wipe out unhealthy organisms. It must be in the long-term (evolutionary) interest of soil life forms to cooperate in ways that encourage plants to keep sending down roots. Killing plant pathugens would be "in the interest ofr" the majority of soil organisms.

But maybe I'm just a feel-good dreamer.

I admit that I do throw away diseased or heavily insect-infested plant parts, rather than compost them.

But I believe that slime from most unbalanced compost heaps can usually be rescued by dilution with browns followed by aearation and a few weeks or months cooking in a lively pile.
tropicalnut777
Provo, UT
(Zone 5a)

June 28, 2012
7:12 PM

Post #9185532

ive turned my compost 3 times now..started it 2 weeks ago.. idont know if its the
HOT weather were having..i have a good mix in it...combo of all ..but its cooking down
nicely..
i do just a pile method..im very low tech..:) LOL
my ingredients in order of highest % of compost composition
straw,shredded leaves,grass clippings,banana peels,rabbit manure(i make a slurry before
i add it to compost),coffee grounds,any veg throw aways,garden soil
if the compost has a ammonia smell.. its out of balance and letting off that smell
it its a earthy smell..its going right..
i like to cook my compost really well done.. LOL sounds like a steak..:)
i want to make sure most of the weed seed from the straw is dead so doesnt start
growing in the gardens..
thanks to all here..reading others compost experiences..i always learn something new..
and better way to do my gardening..
thanks !!!

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

June 28, 2012
8:29 PM

Post #9185623

thanks , guys.


It rained today (stormed actually), so the leaves in the two cans should be nice and saturated. Saturday, I'll mix the greens with the leaves and layer them on top of a bed of shedder paper and coffee grinds. they can break down in place.

I'll try to get two or three layers down in the next several weeks, then build my soil mix and set it on top. Should be time to sow the root crop seeds shortly thereafter and they can grow down into the organic layer.

Thanks for all the input and suggestions! I'll be sure to post my progress here .


RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

June 29, 2012
8:08 PM

Post #9186965

>> i like to cook my compost really well done..

But you don't HAVE to! You get lots more OM and some more N if you spread it rare!

>> i want to make sure most of the weed seed from the straw is dead

Oh! You are 100% right. For sure, no question.

>> good mix in it...combo of all ..
>> i do just a pile method.

The voice of wisdom.

Anyhting much more than that is either obsession (rasing my hand) or being intent on winning a prize for speed.

I also liked the rule of thumb, which I would word as:
- stinky or slimey: add more browns. Maybe fluff it up (add more air) or add less water.
- nothing happens: add more greens, keep it moist and try to make it bigger.
- smells like earth and things dissolve quickly: perfect.

bellieg
Virginia Beach, VA

June 30, 2012
3:26 AM

Post #9187131

Rick Corey,
It is an obsession for me as far as saving stuff for the compost but not the other stuff like turning the heap. i just dont have the time.

i just read the bokashi method of composting and it is very interesting.

Belle
tropicalnut777
Provo, UT
(Zone 5a)

June 30, 2012
7:42 PM

Post #9188216

well said rick corey!!! :)
WormsLovSharon
Las Vegas, NV

July 1, 2012
3:39 PM

Post #9189024

Well as you can see I am into worms. My compost pile just keeps getting larger and larger. I have not used any of it this last year because I developed heart problems. No problem. They do not know why I developed heart problems or why my heart improved but it did.

But my compost pile is enormous and full of very large worms. I should hire a security guard to guard it. And I have no formula. I just keep adding whatever. I did lose my red wigglers due to neglect when I was in the hospital and I did add the two containers of their castings.

This fall I will order some more red wigglers. When I dig in the garden and find no worms, I know I have a problem and just dig a hole near by and add some fresh cuttings, leaves and whatever I can find. I have been doing that for years.

I will take a photo of my pile and post it later in the week. I do have irrigation on the pile and we do not lack for heat. The pile is at the end of my holding garden. Holding garden is for any plants that are to small to go into the main landscape or plants that are gifts that I need to make a place for. Have a great 4th holiday. Sharon

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

July 2, 2012
2:56 PM

Post #9190339

Thanks, Tropicalnut!

I had time to play with my heap this weekend, and found that the raw materials looked DRY and coated with a WHITISH POWDER below the first inch or so, despite drizzle and occasional hosings-down.

I guess the powder was fungal growth, but why dry and hard-to-wet?

Has anyone else seen whitish, powdery growths when trying to compost a mostly-woody mix?

I knew I had a lot of shredded wood in it from mower-chopped branches. And the dry, whitish, powdery, hard-to-wet look reminded me of some soil I once tried to amend with a mostly-wood-chip "soil conditioner" called something like Soil-Pep.

The wood, whether turned under in my soil or making up too much of my compost heap, encouraged a whitish powder and something that stayed dry-looking no matter how much I watered it.

I finally soaked-and-raked the com post heap about 8 times. I could wet the outer inch or two by drenching it with the hose. The wood and other stuff, especially the sawdust, readily soaked up huge amounts of water.

I also sprinkled some clayey-mud on the surface and washed it in, reasoning that caly holds water, ande also that I was innoculating the heap with a mix of bacteria that might compete with some kind of wood-devouring fungus.

Then I raked the wetted muddy surface layer aside, exposing more dry whitish stuff, and wet down the outer layer of that. Finally the whole pile was dripping.

I speculate maybe either of these two things: some kind of fungus is growing that puts put a whitish hydrophobic powder. Spoors? Hyphal framents?

But where does the water go? Maybe this fungus soaks it up so fast that wood shreds and sawdust never see the water. Maybe the sqawdusty-parts can soak up SO much water that I never got enough water onto the heapo to do more than let the surface layer grab and hold the water. The way I finally got the pile wet wsas to take off the spray head and let the hose run almost free onto the pile (more gallons per minute).

Or maybe the fungus (or something else) is PARTIALLY digesting the wood, like sucking out the lignin and leaving behind a pure cellulose powder that repels water. But natural cellulose is supposed to be hydrophilic! I don't see how or why fungus would converty wood to crystalline cellulose (hydrophobic). Or coukld there be some other woody residue that IS hydrophobic?

Whatever it is, once mixed with enoguh water and mud, it disapears into the mud and looks wetted.

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

July 3, 2012
6:54 AM

Post #9191054

Rick, I had a similar problem with leaves. They just wouldn't soak up water no matter how hard I tried. This year, I've not added leaves to the compost bin. Instead, I'm hoping the earthworms will do all the composting.

sallyg

sallyg
Anne Arundel,, MD
(Zone 7b)

July 3, 2012
7:32 AM

Post #9191090

Rick- I 'think its fungus. I have no expertise to back it up.

I think we often suffer from:
I watered it this much, it SHOULD BE wet. Should be is like WISH, if its not wet, its not wet and we have just failed to see a reason.
Like Honeybee- it seems really hard to get my piles of brown fall leaves to get really moist. The same structure that a living leaf needs to live and retain moisture , may be in place when the leaf has dried, making it hard to actually get that water back in between cells and fibers the way it needs to be to start to rot.

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

July 3, 2012
7:38 AM

Post #9191102

The strange thing about leaves is - if you leave them in a deep pile, or a large pot with holes in the bottom, they will slowly break down from the bottom up, but not from the top down!

sallyg

sallyg
Anne Arundel,, MD
(Zone 7b)

July 3, 2012
7:42 AM

Post #9191105

YES!
I think its the constant moisture from the soil, and worms coming up. Once I dumped several inches of shredded leaves on the garden, topped with a big piece of plywood. Beautiful stuff !

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

July 3, 2012
8:48 AM

Post #9191216

I'm currently doing an experiment with tomatoes growing in nothing but a deep pile of leaves. I gave them a small amount of fertilizer and water when I first transplanted them, but since have done nothing.

Each plant has a few fruit. Will have to see how things turn out. :-)

sallyg

sallyg
Anne Arundel,, MD
(Zone 7b)

July 3, 2012
9:16 AM

Post #9191260

Can't wait Honeybee. I do it with pumpkins and gourds.

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

July 3, 2012
11:43 AM

Post #9191472

>> Should be is like WISH,

Good point. All that matters is "IS".

I goofed by assuming instead of poking or digging. At work, I have a sign up to remind that, while debugging, I should "stop thinking and LOOK". Time spent on thinking about "maybe it is this or maybe it is that" is nowhere are valuable as time spent running the code, poking at it, and LOOKING at the results.

Thinking is well and golod - AFTER you have looked carefully. Then you have something worth thinking about.

My experience with dry leaves is that if the pile is deep enough, and sits on soil, there is a layer on the very bottom that stays wet and breaks down. Maybe they are just to prone to letting water run off or evaporate.

Maybe packing them tightly into a plastic bag and then flooding the bag for a week? Unfortunately I have no leaves around me, just pine needles that hardly ever seem to drop.

sallyg

sallyg
Anne Arundel,, MD
(Zone 7b)

July 3, 2012
5:01 PM

Post #9191858

>> Should be is like WISH,

I just learned that from 'steadycam'
Smart, ain't it?

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