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beer grains as 'fertilizer'

 
Matt Zee
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I'm a home brewer and have been spreading my spent beer grains on my lawn with my fertilizer spreader. I've done this in addition to corn gluten meal, some occasional chicken poop fertilizer, and leaving the lawn clippings on my lawn when I mow. I also mulch my leaves into the lawn in the fall.

I thought this would be a good idea because over time the beer grains compost making good fertilizer over time. However, I've learned it may not be a good idea to spread the beer grain on the lawn because as they decay the microbes eating them use up nitrogen in the soil. Is this true? If it is, should I compost the beer grains before I put them on the lawn? Or will doing this over time create an abundance of nitrogen even if the microbes actively break down the fresh stuff?

Thanks in advance.
 
John Elliott
pollinator
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There's an obvious solution to your 'problem'. What are you doing with all that nitrogen rich liquid that comes from drinking the beer? Put that on your lawn. Diluted up with 8-10 parts water, that is.
 
John Polk
steward
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Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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Ah, yes. Second-hand beer.

 
Landon Sunrich
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Location: Western Washington
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I feel like I need to scorn you for your wastefulness and John for his neglect in the obvious function stack you both seem to be missing.

If you REALLY wanted to permie it up you would use the spent (sterilized!) grains as a growth medium for edible mushrooms such as the notoriously easy Oyster mushroom (which generally ships as rye grain spawn), eat the mushrooms and feed the resulting high protein colonized substrait to poultry as a super feed. They would turn it into some primo high nitrogen lawn fertilizer. Problem solved.

Written with humor.
 
Julie Ashmore
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Location: Near Molson, North Central WA State, Zone 5a
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I was using spent grains from a local brewery for a while, but I found they attracted local rodents and gave up on them... If you don't have a rodent problem, and your concern is about the effect on the nitrogen in the soil, then I would make a separate compost pile for them instead of putting them directly in the soil. If you mix them with carbon sources like leaves and hay, keep the pile moist but not too wet, then they will make beautiful compost and at that stage, should not affect the nitrogen in your soil. Just a thought.
 
Mark Doherty
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Location: Perth
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sounds like a great idea. The more beer the better!
 
Luke Burkholder
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I think spent grains are actually nitrogen rich. When we brew, we're trying to extract the starches and sugars, and a lot of the nitrogen in proteins is left behind. In my experience putting spent grains in a compost pile, they are like a "green" material, and need lots of "browns" to balance them out. Here's a report from a quick search:

http://www.uaf.edu/files/ces/publications-db/catalog/anr/HGA-01026.pdf

If you top-dress your lawn with spent grain, you are actually adding nitrogen overall.
 
I agree. Here's the link: https://richsoil.com/wood-heat.jsp
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