Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Don't let your coffee grounds go to waste...

Every day across America millions of pots of coffee and tea are brewed, and the millions of pounds of wet grounds, filters and bags thrown in the trash. This is wasteful and foolish.

Coffee by-products can easily be used in the garden.
* Sprinkle used grounds around plants before rain or watering, for a slow-release nitrogen.
* Add to compost piles to increase nitrogen balance. Coffee filters and tea bags break down rapidly during composting.
* Dilute with water for a gentle, fast-acting liquid fertilizer. Use about a half-pound can of wet grounds in a five-gallon bucket of water; let sit outdoors to achieve ambient temperature.
* Mix into soil for houseplants or new vegetable beds.
* Encircle the base of the plant with a coffee and eggshell barrier to repel pests.
* If you are into vermi-posting, feed a little bit to your worms

It is easy to collect coffee grounds from your office. Just put an empty coffee can next to the coffee maker. Empty once a week or as needed. Once people get wind of what you're doing, don't be surprised if others want the grounds, too! I've been doing this for well over a year now at work. People even started adding banana peels to the can and even apple cores and other food scraps. When I take it home to dump it all into my compost bin, I fill the can with water and then dump it in. This adds some moisture to my compost and helps rinse out the can too. The coffee can stays sealed so you don't smell a thing or see a thing for that matter. I even dump the left over coffee into the can.

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