From Grounds to Ground

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Ground from Grounds

Ground from Grounds

I’ve been to a lot of Starbucks’ in the last couple weeks. I’m collecting coffe grounds for an experiment in one of the growing beds. Actually, I was going to compost the grounds along with some leftover sod the neighbor shared with us, and then add lots of compost to the growing bed, months from now or even next year when everything was ready. In the mean time, the dry and fragmented growing bed has some tomatoes and lots of winter squash varieites in it and they were going to need mulch and a lot of water to make it through the Summer.

Half-way through setting up the new compost bin, it struck me that maybe we could use the coffee grounds and the sod *as* the mulch while they were composting themselves into a new and improved growing medium for next year. Now, don’t try this at home yet. This may turn out to be like the time I had the great idea to butter the toast before I put it in the toaster oven hoping for a garlic bread kind of effect and the whole thing caught fire and had to be dropped out the second story window into the snow to save the rest of the apartment. But this seems, at the very least, much less likely to burst into flames if unsuccessful.

I gathered seven Starbucks-worth of coffee grounds. Which is an amazingly small amount at some stores. I’m sorry, but how could you possibly be selling coffee all day in a Starbucks and *not* have coffe grounds? I was turned away cold from store 5920 where they said they didn’t have to save their coffee grounds for customers. But most of the stores were happy to oblige and many of them even insisted on carrying heavy bags loaded with grounds out to my trunk. Thank you, Starbucks!

Caffeinated Tomatoes

Caffeinated Tomatoes

I had six or seven rolls of unwanted sod to go with the grounds. I spread out the grounds around the already planted tomatoes and squash mounds and raked them across the top of the soil we are hoping to improve. Then we covered the grounds with the unrolled sod, grass-side down, and watered the whole thing in. We plan to cover the area with another layer of coffee grounds and a mulch/compost from Kellogg’s called N’Rich. It will add some much needed variety to the soil with it’s bat guano, kelp, chicken manure and worm castings.

Then we’ll let the thing sit and the squash vines can crawl all over it and hopefully the tomatoes will grow in spite of what my grandmother always said about coffee causing stunting in the young. ;-) The idea is that the coffee layer will seep into the existing soil attracting worms who supposedly love coffee grounds. And maybe all that nitrogen will even warm things up enough that the sod layer will break down right there on the ground under the N’Rich and the squash will shade the whole thing and keep it from drying out while it’s magically converted into good growing soil.

We’ll put a shovel in it in the Fall and let you know what we’ve got. And if this year’s pumpkin pie keeps the kids from sleeping, we’ll all know why.

One thought on “From Grounds to Ground

  1. The butter toast thing made me laugh out loud! :) I think you can add coffee grounds directly to the garden, can’t you? I think they would work well in any soil that needs some extra acid, such as blueberries (though I’m not sure you can grow blueberries where you are).

    Anyway, love this post and the experimentation. :)

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