Monday, 26 March 2012

Coffee for your garden...

Did you know coffee beans are just as good (if not better) for your garden than cow or horse manure?  Coffee is high in nitrogen which is an essential component for soil and plants alike.  With the number of cafes throughout the suburbs these days, it’s got me thinking we are throwing out a lot of useful nutrients which could be better used in our garden than landfill sites.

Cafes generally throw out hundreds of kilos (sometimes tones) of coffee each week.  With only a 10year lifespan left for Brisbane’s landfill sites, why not help out your local environment and use coffee beans to boost the nutrients in your garden’s soil? 

Lucky for me Site Café, located at Banyo in Brisbane are more than happy to fill my buckets with their coffee goodness.   I have now been using the ground beans both within our compost pile and also sprinkling on plants throughout the garden. 

For backyard composters and gardeners, coffee grounds provide a convenient and effective nitrogen source without the pathogen concerns of manure handling (National Geographic,  The worms love it, and instead of working with manure, I am now smelling the sweet scent of coffee in the air. 

Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott of Washington State University recommends adding no more than 20 percent by volume of grounds in the compost pile, to boost the supply of nitrogen and ensure quick and nutrient rich composting (National Geographic).

If you only have a small garden or balcony garden, the coffee from your own coffee machine may be sufficient as a nitrogen source for your garden.  However if you have a large garden and compost pile, sourcing the coffee beans from a cafe would be better for your requirements. 

I bet most cafes would be more than willing to fill your buckets with their used coffee beans, as this is something they would be throwing in the bin anyway.  So why not next time you are having a coffee, ask the café if they wouldn’t mind filling some buckets for you to use in your garden.  I bought two 20Litre nappy pails for my coffee to go in, but I am sure any sealable bucket would be just as good. 

If you have already been using coffee in your garden, I would love to know how it has gone!

Happy gardening, Roberta

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