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brewing necessary?

Winthrop Harbor, IL(Zone 5a)

I have a big can of coffee I'd like to use for my garden. Should I brew the grounds first, or can I just sprinkle them on straight from the can? I'm not sure if brewing alters/strengthens the nitrogen.

Thanks : )

Richmond, VA(Zone 7a)

Jen, I have been pondering this question ever since you first posted it over in the vegetable forum and I suspect that brewing is important . My hunch is that brewing actually begins the decomposition process...... the wet and the heat would begin to break down the substances in there and start the process by which they can be released into the soil and its living systems.......

But as I posted over there, what I would do with your can of coffee is just boil it up in some water and then slog it on the garden, that ought to work just as well as if you drank the liquid first....... no?

Anyone actually having any facts about this, we'd sure like to know them too! ;-)

Kirkland, WA(Zone 7b)

fresh grounds spread lightly help deter slugs here in Slug World.
Brewed grounds go anywhere - they're wormnip.

Winthrop Harbor, IL(Zone 5a)

I guess I'll go ahead and brew them then. Last year was my first year gardening at this house and I didn't have any problems with slugs (or other bugs). I think it was an abundance of birds and a couple of toads that kept them in check, because all I added to the garden were some fertilizer and used coffee grounds (no pesticides) : ) Thanks!

Kalispell, MT(Zone 4b)

I would assume the coffee bean is the source of N. So brewing it would probably diminish the total available. Certainly it is mashed enough in the grinder. Water is necessary to bring in the bacteria to extract the N can be done when it rains.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

I'm lazy. I figure, it looks so much like dirt anyway I'd just use it that way- fresh. Brewing cannot add any N. It could only change how fast its able to break down and release it.

Richmond, VA(Zone 7a)

That was what I meant, that it would make it more readily available by starting the decomp. process.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

OK Kylaluaz., I think I would agree, that'd soften up the ground beans and make them easier to decomp.

North Ridgeville, OH(Zone 5b)

I think I read somewhere that very dilute coffee gives plants a boost. If so, you can use the liquid as well as the spent grounds.

Richmond, VA(Zone 7a)

Well, it's not just softening up I don't think. The actual process of decomposition involves water and the breaking down of the molecular structure as it is in the original substance, whether it is coffee grounds or leaves or whatever..... so the brewing with a little heat and water only begins that process I believe. ;-) Therefore making the elements (nitrogen etc.) more available more quickly, to the soil.

PuddlePirate, that makes sense too........ I wonder how dilute it needs to be?

North Ridgeville, OH(Zone 5b)

I've got no idea what the "official dilution rate" might be. In winter, my potted plants get a shot of stale burned coffee about twice a month. When my coffee pot's down to less than a mugful I just top it off with tap water, which dilutes the coffee to about 1 part in 20, then pour it out onto my elephant ears, my banana tree, my clivia, and my schefflera. They seem to like it.

This message was edited May 11, 2009 12:39 PM

Richmond, VA(Zone 7a)


I don't make it by the pot here but that's probably what I would do, if I did. ;-)

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