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Simple soil amendments: manure, SCG, kelp, etc.?

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Hello all,

After much reading, I’ve decided on a few amendments for the soil in our garden. I was on a quest to find a sustainable source of phosphorous:


When I tested our soil, N was OK, P was depleted, and K was low.

For the N and some P, I’ve decided to go with aged chicken manure as we’re looking to start planting right away and it seems to contain good amounts of N and P.

For the Potash I’ll buy some kelp meal.

I also am working at a coffee shop and have access to several pounds of coffee grounds per week.

I’m kind of curious how you all would proceed. My local nursery sells G&B aged chicken manure but when I called and asked for the fertilizer ratio the numbers sounded lower than what I’d read about chicken manure online (I can’t find the specs for the G&B chicken manure online). I’ve also read some nasty commentary about G&B products but it’s what’s available to me and the nursery guys like it.

Our plot is about 200 square feet. From what I read online this would require 80 lbs manure and about 4 lbs kelp meal. Do I really need this much? I’m also considering just buying way less and using it where I plant. Anyone have suggestions on how to proceed? We already have some Kale in, will probably start other leafy greens soon, then move on into more flowering plants a bit later.

Also I’m hesitant about direct application of the grounds. We did this last year without thinking about it at the same time we put in the worms. What are your thoughts on this? Better to age the grounds a bit, or compost? I read your guys thread about coffee grounds and it seems like most of you are either composting it first or letting it sit a while before use.

Any other simple amendment suggestions to get started right away? By the way, PH is at 6.5. Thanks!


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Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
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Daniel, I till coffee grounds right into my soil. No composting or fermenting first. I apply 1/2"-1" of grounds, then till it into the top 6" of garden soil. I usually also till in an inch or two of compost at the same time. My compost has all the soil amendments added to it while it is being made -- manures, burnt bones, coral sand, lava sand, ocean water, biochar if I have it, urine, wood ash, plus healthy garden soil that has active soil microbes. I use what I have access to. Rather than putting the coffee grounds into the compost, I apply it separately only because I can target specific garden beds that way.
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Location: Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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Su Ba gave some great method advice.  Coffee grounds can be used just about any way you want to use them.
Put them straight into the soil and you will have fungal blooms occur in the soil that they were added to. Worms feed on bacteria and some fungi and they love coffee grounds mixed into the soil they are filtering.
Su Ba also gives the soil anything that might be needed through those applications of what ever is on hand, great stuff there.

Daniel I have no doubt that you will end up with thriving soil from your efforts.

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Welcome to permies Daniel. Sounds like you're on the right track. Su & Bryant have already provided excellent answers. Basically, use what you have & don't be afraid. Composting is fairly forgiving. It can be as simple or as complicated a process as one chooses. I would be cautious about commercially raised animal manures though. They often contain antibiotics & chemicals I would prefer not be in soil. Your mileage may vary.

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some groups use coffee grounds for a growing medium of mycellium. I have not had luck growing mushrooms this way
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