Win a copy of For the Love of Paw Paws this week in the Fruit Trees forum!
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • r ranson
  • Anne Miller
  • paul wheaton
stewards:
  • Jocelyn Campbell
  • Mike Jay Haasl
  • Burra Maluca
garden masters:
  • James Freyr
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Steve Thorn
  • Greg Martin
gardeners:
  • Carla Burke
  • Dave Burton
  • Pearl Sutton

Most everything you need to know about Used Coffee Grounds

 
gardener
Posts: 6280
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
1033
hugelkultur dog forest garden duck fish fungi hunting books chicken writing homestead
  • Likes 25
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Having used spent coffee grounds since 1970 for a myrad of purposes in gardens, farms and for other growing purposes,
I thought it would be a good idea to build a reference thread for this wonderful amendment.
There are definitely pros and cons to using spent coffee grounds as well as several ways to utilize them in gardening/farming.

Here are some useful characteristics of used coffee grounds. They are:

•High in nitrogen (a very valuable nutrient for plants). Grounds have a C/N (carbon:nitrogen) ratio of 20/1.
•Almost neutral (although coffee is highly acidic, the pH level of the grounds are diminished significantly when brewed)
•Digestible by worms
•Good for improving soil tilth (structure)
•A natural pesticide (great for repelling slugs, flies, and other critters!)
•An agent for bacterial control. The natural mold and fungus on coffee can suppress pathogenic fungi, including fusarium, pythium, and sclerotinia species.
•Weed killers

The predominate fungals that are found in used coffee grounds are; Pseudomonas, Fusarium, Trichoderma and Mucorales.
These organisims are very effective in preventing pathogenic fungi and pathogenic bacteria from becoming established,
this includes; Fusarium, Pythium, Sclerotinia species, E.coli and Staphylococcus.

Nitrogen-rich proteins needed for seed germination and growth comprise
over 10% of coffee grounds. In fact, the carbon-to-nitrogen ratio of coffee
grounds can be as low as 11:1, an ideal ratio for plant and soil nutrition. Since
coffee is extracted in water, most of the hydrophobic compounds, including
oils, lipids, triglycerides, and fatty acids remain in the grounds, as do insoluble
carbohydrates like cellulose and various indigestible sugars. Structural lignin,
protective phenolics, and the wonderful aroma-producing essential oils are also left
over from the brewing process. It’s this last group of chemicals that are reported
to have antioxidant and antimicrobial properties.


Over the course of several months, specialized bacteria and fungi break down
the various chemical components of coffee grounds. Some larger consumers,
including earthworms, are also able to use this food source. The fact that earthworms
pull coffee grounds deep into the soil may,account for noted improvements in soil
structure such as increased aggregation.
Humic substances, which are important chemical and structural soil components,
are produced through coffee ground degradation. Carbon-to-nitrogen ratios
change as well, generally starting out a bit higher than ideal (e.g. 25-26) and
decreasing to 21, 13, 11, or even 9.4 in a year’s time.

Less straightforward are the changes in pH that occur during decomposition.
A commonly held assumption states that coffee grounds are acidic, but this does
not hold true experimentally. While two studies on coffee ground composting
reported mildly acidic pHs of 4.6 and 5.26, others have measured neutral (7.7)
to somewhat alkaline (8.4) pH levels.
More than one researcher found that the pH of soil treated with coffee compost increased
after 14 to 21 days of incubation, gradually decreasing thereafter. Obviously
the pH of decomposing coffee grounds is not stable and one shouldn’t assume that it will always, or ever, be acidic.

Not all plants get a jolt from coffee grounds:

Seed germination of alfalfa (Medicago sativa) and white and red clovers (Trifolium repens and T. pratense)
was inhibited by water leached through coffee grounds. Growth of crops such as Chinese mustard (Brassica juncea),
komatsuna (Brassica campestris) and Italian ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum) were all inhibited by coffee grounds, as
was that of ornamentals including inch plant (Tradescantia albiflora), geranium, and asparagus fern. One investigator
speculated that toxic substances released from decomposing coffee grounds were responsible for their inhibitory effect.
This effect also reduces weeds, and perhaps in a landscape dominated by large shrubs and trees, only germinating seeds
and seedlings would be injured. But there has been no experimental research on coffee grounds and woody plants published to date.

Percentages of 10 to 20 percent of total compost volume have been reported as optimal for compost quality and
effectiveness, while over 30 percent can be detrimental.

Only small amounts of coffee grounds are required for effective disease suppression. Therefore, it is recommended
using no more than 20% by volume of coffee grounds in a compost pile. A diverse feedstock will ensure a diversity
of microorganisms.

Don’t assume coffee grounds will make an acidic compost; pH levels will undoubtedly change over time.

The concept of "friendly microorganisms" was developed by Professor Teruo Higa,
from the University of the Ryukyus in Okinawa, Japan. He reported in the 1980s
that a combination of approximately 80 different microorganisms is capable of
positively influencing decomposing organic matter such that it reverts into a "life promoting" process.
Higa invoked a "dominance principle" to explain the effects of his "Effective Microorganisms".
He claimed that three groups of microorganisms exist: "positive microorganisms" (regeneration),
"negative microorganisms" (decomposition, degeneration), "opportunist microorganisms".
In every medium (soil, water, air, the human intestine), the ratio of "positive" and "negative"
microorganisms is critical, since the opportunist microorganisms follow the trend to regeneration or degeneration.
Therefore, Higa claimed that it is possible to positively influence the given media by supplementing with
"positive" microorganisms.

The concept has been challenged and no scientific studies support all of its claims.
This was acknowledged by Higa in a 1994 paper co-authored by Higa and soil microbiologist James F Parr.
They conclude "the main limitation...is the problem of reproducibility and lack of consistent results".

They did not look at spent coffee grounds specific but were looking into just organism combinations.

Lwini and Ranamukhaarachchi published in 2006 a paper that discusses biological
controls of bacterial wilt disease and showed that EM and EM Bokashi were most-effective as bio-control agents.
Yamada and Xu examined the use of EM in making organic fertilizers.
Hui-Lian Xu studied photosynthesis and yield of sweet corn, physiological characteristics in peanuts,
and fruit yield and quality of tomato plants. Daiss, et al., looked at pre-harvest and post-harvest applications of EM-1.

The use of EM in the bokashi-intensive composting process for home kitchen waste has been in use in Christchurch,
New Zealand for years, backed by the local city council.

Given the quantity of research that has been done on refuse of coffee production and the lack of research done on spent coffee grounds specifically,
there is much work to be done to discover all the best uses of spent coffee grounds.

One research that is currently underway (by myself) is in a method to increase the microbiology of soils through the use of spent grounds.
The model I am working through at this time calls for gathering the grounds and letting the normal fungi grow till they are spent.
From that point the grounds are stirred and dried completely before being incorporated into finished compost which is then used as a soil amendment in soil garden beds.
The subject beds are ground level, raised bed, and hugel mound topping along with a straw bale garden.
Results of this three year study will be posted here when completed.

I hope this information is useful to you.


 
Posts: 12
Location: Portland, OR
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Fantastic write up! Makes me inspired to want to hit up the local coffee shops for their spent grounds.

Any ideas for keeping the coffee grounds from "crusting over" (and becoming essentially waterproof) when you apply it as a weed suppressing mulch?
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Posts: 6280
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
1033
hugelkultur dog forest garden duck fish fungi hunting books chicken writing homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
That crust forms because of the slight amount of mucilage released from coffee beans when they are roasted and ground. If you have some wood ash, blending in about 2-3 tablespoons per 3 pounds of spent grounds should help with the crusting over.
 
pollinator
Posts: 643
Location: SW Missouri, Zone 7a
121
goat dog forest garden duck trees books chicken food preservation cooking woodworking homestead
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Bryant,
Thank you for this detailed report! We have been incorporating coffee grounds into our compost piles on a regular basis for years, as only one more organic substance to help create better soil structure -- without really knowing much about the specifics. One thing we have wondered about over the years though is whether the benefits (or negatives) of using spent grounds change according to whether the original beans are grown organically or with the "aid" of chemicals. When we relatively financially secure, we always buy green coffee beans grown organically and roast them ourselves. In lean times we are often reduced to buying pre-roasted and ground so-called coffee in cans from the grocery store.

My question is... do you know whether there have been any studies comparing the two types of coffee grounds (organic vs. non-organic) and do those include observations about the herbicidal/ pesticidal qualities of the grounds? We wonder whether at least some of the weed-killing, etc. properties of the grounds may come from herbicides picked up by the coffee plants in non-organic plantings. Might not those poisons remain in the plant system and pass on to the fruits (aka beans) and remain as trace amounts in the spent grounds? If so, I think we will be doing without when we can't afford organic beans in the future.
 
Posts: 81
Location: Indiana
6
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks Bryant.

I use the coffee grounds in my compost piles and in my worm bins but my favorite way to use them is on my lawn and garden.
I seperate the filters from the grounds and then fling 'em like a monkey flingin' poo. I add pond water to rinse the bucket and then pour that on the plants I like.
I used to do this at night to avoid the suburban neighbors watching. Now I do in broad daylight. They get a laugh, my wife sighs and I get a better lawn.
 
Posts: 55
Location: Chemung NY
1
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have a coffee ground question. I spilled coffee grounds on the way to the compost pile, and the next day the pile of coffee was covered with honey bees. Is it the nitrogen they are after? Why would they love coffee grounds?
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Posts: 6280
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
1033
hugelkultur dog forest garden duck fish fungi hunting books chicken writing homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Deb Stephens wrote:Bryant,
Thank you for this detailed report! We have been incorporating coffee grounds into our compost piles on a regular basis for years, as only one more organic substance to help create better soil structure -- without really knowing much about the specifics. One thing we have wondered about over the years though is whether the benefits (or negatives) of using spent grounds change according to whether the original beans are grown organically or with the "aid" of chemicals. When we relatively financially secure, we always buy green coffee beans grown organically and roast them ourselves. In lean times we are often reduced to buying pre-roasted and ground so-called coffee in cans from the grocery store.

My question is... do you know whether there have been any studies comparing the two types of coffee grounds (organic vs. non-organic) and do those include observations about the herbicidal/ pesticidal qualities of the grounds? We wonder whether at least some of the weed-killing, etc. properties of the grounds may come from herbicides picked up by the coffee plants in non-organic plantings. Might not those poisons remain in the plant system and pass on to the fruits (aka beans) and remain as trace amounts in the spent grounds? If so, I think we will be doing without when we can't afford organic beans in the future.



According to ECF, ICO and USDA there are some diseases and pests that need control. diseases are Leaf Rust and Black Rot, both are controlled by a Bordeaux spraying (1% or less).
pests are Coffee Berry Borer, White stem Borer, Shothole borer, Mealy Bugs and Green Scale. Most Borers are controlled with endosulfan while Mealy bugs and Green Scale are controlled with Fenitrothion

According to research available through the above three listed control organizations These sprays do not get into the healthy berries, all are sprayed after fruiting and the waxy coat of the developing berry apparently protects the fruits from contamination. There are no Herbicides used in coffee growing, the bushes require very healthy soil, full of organic material and undergrowth doesn't get a chance to grow since all orchards are mulched to a depth of around 6" minimum.

Organic guidelines allow these sprays to be used, more proof that the term Organic is not what most people think it means.
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Posts: 6280
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
1033
hugelkultur dog forest garden duck fish fungi hunting books chicken writing homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Keith Odell wrote:Thanks Bryant.

I use the coffee grounds in my compost piles and in my worm bins but my favorite way to use them is on my lawn and garden.
I seperate the filters from the grounds and then fling 'em like a monkey flingin' poo. I add pond water to rinse the bucket and then pour that on the plants I like.
I used to do this at night to avoid the suburban neighbors watching. Now I do in broad daylight. They get a laugh, my wife sighs and I get a better lawn.



Good way to use them without composting! you are also feeding your worms by doing that type of spreading.
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Posts: 6280
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
1033
hugelkultur dog forest garden duck fish fungi hunting books chicken writing homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Suzanne Cornell wrote:I have a coffee ground question. I spilled coffee grounds on the way to the compost pile, and the next day the pile of coffee was covered with honey bees. Is it the nitrogen they are after? Why would they love coffee grounds?



Coffee grounds contain at least three sugars, which are most likely to be what the bees are after. There are also many trace minerals that could be attracting bees. I wouldn't worry about spillage like you described, worms will take care of it in a short time, just spread them thinner with a rake or your foot.
 
Deb Stephens
pollinator
Posts: 643
Location: SW Missouri, Zone 7a
121
goat dog forest garden duck trees books chicken food preservation cooking woodworking homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Bryant RedHawk wrote:
According to ECF, ICO and USDA there are some diseases and pests that need control. diseases are Leaf Rust and Black Rot, both are controlled by a Bordeaux spraying (1% or less). pests are Coffee Berry Borer, White stem Borer, Shothole borer, Mealy Bugs and Green Scale. Most Borers are controlled with endosulfan while Mealy bugs and Green Scale are controlled with Fenitrothion

According to research available through the above three listed control organizations These sprays do not get into the healthy berries, all are sprayed after fruiting and the waxy coat of the developing berry apparently protects the fruits from contamination. There are no Herbicides used in coffee growing, the bushes require very healthy soil, full of organic material and undergrowth doesn't get a chance to grow since all orchards are mulched to a depth of around 6" minimum.

Organic guidelines allow these sprays to be used, more proof that the term Organic is not what most people think it means.



Okay, so no herbicides -- although I question whether this is actually true in all situations or just a "recommendation" that many U.S. growers follow; but what about pesticide residue in non-organically grown coffee beans? Those you cited were used to control pests "organically". (I really disagree with allowing pesticides and still calling it organic. That sort of under the radar game truly pisses me off, because we use nothing on our crops and still can't sell them as organic because we can't afford certification!) What do the non-organic growers use?

Also, you mentioned "healthy berries"... it is my understanding that in coffee production, it really is not possible to individually inspect every berry -- which means a cut or hole in even a single berry could lead to contamination of a test sample. (Juan Valdez and his donkey don't really exist, so even those beautiful trees growing on the mountain sides in South America probably get a bug hole or two. ) So my question remains. Could the insecticidal qualities of the coffee be partially accounted for by pesticides used in growing crops? If you know, I mean. I'm not trying to put you on the spot or anything.

Also, we get our coffee from organic farms in South America, so the organizations allowing those pesticides may not have the same regulations as we do here in the USA. (That is an assumption, of course. I could be wrong.)
 
Posts: 425
46
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My cousin Troy was headed out to weed eat one day, upon asking if he wanted some more coffee, he declined. "I noticed I heat up more when I overdue it on the coffee." I sort of thought to myself, "okayyyy" then I was watching a compost video where they were adding coffee grounds from a five gallon bucket to "increase the heat" of the compost pile.
Huh...I guess ol' Troy was right, and now if I'll be wotking oudide I too keep the coffee to a minimum.
 
Mike Feddersen
Posts: 425
46
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
M.U.D.
Missoula Urban Demonstration
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Posts: 6280
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
1033
hugelkultur dog forest garden duck fish fungi hunting books chicken writing homestead
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hau, Deb, I hate to be the bearer of bad news but Organic does not mean what most people think.
There is only one area of the USA that can produce coffee and that is Hawaii.
Most all coffee comes to the USA as Green Beans and they are roasted and packaged here.
Civet is the most expensive coffee on the planet since it passes through the digestive system of the civet cat first, "Kopi luwak, or civet coffee, refers to the seeds of coffee berries once they have been eaten and defecated by the Asian palm civet"
(it is very smooth and tasty as it should be because of the 100+ dollar cost for a pound of whole beans).

Most of the effects you see herbicide wise come from compounds in the coffee, Nitrogen in large quantities can actually act as a herbicide, killing plants with over nutrition which burns the roots and thus kills the plants.
I understand your concerns and worries. In the end it is, as always, a personal decision of what to use and how to use any item(s).
I personally, having been a chemist since 1971, and a coffee guy, don't have any qualms about using used grounds from my coffee drinking habit in my gardens and worm beds.

This is what the USDA Publishes about their USDA ORGANIC Label

Organic is a labeling term that indicates that the food or other agricultural product has been produced through approved methods that integrate cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity.
Synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation, and genetic engineering may not be used.

Consumer Information: Our Mission Ensuring the integrity of USDA organic products in the U.S. and throughout the world. About Us + Reports | USDA Organic Seal

Organic Standards : Regulations and guidance on certification, production, handling, and labeling of USDA organic products.

Organic Regulations : The organic standards describe the specific requirements that must be verified by a USDA-accredited certifying agent before products can be labeled USDA organic. Overall, organic operations must demonstrate that they are protecting natural resources, conserving biodiversity, and using only approved substances.

Organic crops: The USDA organic seal verifies that irradiation, sewage sludge, synthetic fertilizers, prohibited pesticides, and genetically modified organisms were not used.

Organic livestock: The USDA organic seal verifies that producers met animal health and welfare standards, did not use antibiotics or growth hormones, used 100% organic feed, and provided animals with access to the outdoors.

Organic multi-ingredient foods: The USDA organic seal verifies that the product has 95% or more certified organic content. If the label claims that it was made with specified organic ingredients, you can be sure that those specific ingredients are certified organic.

Regulatory Process:
The NOP develops the laws that regulate the creation, production, handling, labeling, trade, and enforcement of all USDA organic products.
This process, commonly referred to as rulemaking, involves input from the National Organic Standards Board (a Federal Advisory Committee made up of fifteen members of the public) and the public.

National List & Petitioned Substances
The National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances identifies substances that may and may not be used in organic crop and livestock production.
It also lists the substances that may be used in or on processed organic products.
In general, synthetic substances are prohibited unless specifically allowed and non-synthetic substances are allowed unless specifically prohibited.
For example, a vaccine used to prevent pinkeye in livestock is an allowed synthetic substance and arsenic is an example of a prohibited natural substance.
Some substances on the National List may only be used in specific situations, e.g. only for certain crops or up to a maximum amount.
The list of these approved substances is here: Organic approved substances

This is the USDA's Organic program web site, where you can learn exactly what they do and how to get the USDA Organic label :National Organic Program
 
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have been collecting used coffee grounds for years, instinctively aware they must have a use.  About two years ago I started putting a handful on top of the milking cow's feed while I milked her. The result is that we no longer have to spray for ticks or other parasites, but any more than a fortnight without the coffee grounds they do get reinfested.  Initially I fermented the grounds before applying along the backbone but have found this unnecessary as a handful in the ration is sufficient.  My inspiration was the Japanese Starbucks for fed the grounds to their dairy herd to improve nutrition and lower waste costs.  I imagine goats and sheep would enjoy the same benefits.
 
master steward
Posts: 2688
Location: USDA Zone 8a
706
dog hunting food preservation cooking bee greening the desert
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Suzanne Cornell wrote:I have a coffee ground question. I spilled coffee grounds on the way to the compost pile, and the next day the pile of coffee was covered with honey bees. Is it the nitrogen they are after? Why would they love coffee grounds?



If the coffee grounds were damp the bees might have been after the moisture (water) in the coffee grounds.  We live in a very dry climate and bees and butterflies will try to find any moisture wherever they can find it.

We had cutworms cutting off the young corn stalks and used coffee ground to stop them.
 
Posts: 21
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thank you!
 
Posts: 1
Location: Hinsdale, Illinois
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
In fall, I shred the leaves my neighbors gather and top up all the raised beds, giving garlic more time to root, but worry about tying up the soil nitrogen.  I vermicompost and have a strong worm population in the raised beds.  But I still worry about nitrogen, so this year, I am adding coffee grounds and contents of a few large tea bags from Einstein's, using a broom rake to mix into the shredded leaves.  In theory, this will add nitrogen, probably not decay much until temperatures warm, but then largely decompose the leaves by planting time.  I see from post a recommendation to keep the ration of leaves and coffee grounds 10 to 20% max coffee.

Two questions:
First, any experience or knowledge to share on this method of topping up the raised beds?

Second, an Einstein's district manager was fascinated, told me of a friend who used a mixture of coffee grounds and some other ingredients to save a large ash tree, says something in the mixture that is taken up by the tree repels the ash borers.  Anyone have information on this?

Thanks, Tom Casten
 
pollinator
Posts: 1524
Location: northern California
150
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Coffee grounds are capable of producing at least two valuable yields before going to compost of any sort....black soldier flies and/or edible mushrooms.  There are other threads here and elsewhere about both.  With mushrooms the advantage is that the coffee grounds are essentially sterilized in the process of making the coffee, so if mushroom spawn is added as soon as the grounds are cool enough, it will easily predominate.  BSF can eat quite a lot of them, even if they should not be their sole diet.  I kept a colony going quite a long time basically on coffee grounds and humanure.  The resulting grubs are valuable poultry or fish food.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1559
Location: Denver, CO
60
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Here is an experiment report I found where coffee grounds had detrimental effects on plant growth. What do you suppose went wrong?

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1618866716300103
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Posts: 6280
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
1033
hugelkultur dog forest garden duck fish fungi hunting books chicken writing homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I read the paper Gilbert and it appears they used freshly spent grounds instead of collecting enough to use over a period of days or even weeks, which ages the spent grounds.
Usually when I'm using them for soil improvement the grounds have been sitting around as I collect them and there are some molds and fungi hyphae growing in the grounds when I get to using them in the garden.
The researchers are correct in stating they think it may be some phytotoxic compounds in freshly made SCG, but for most of us we aren't going to have freshly made SCG but SCG gathered over a longer period of time.
The extra time allows for slime molds that are present in the air and that love SCG to inhabit the collecting grounds and these organisms put off enzymes that destroy the phytotoxic compounds found in coffee so they can eat the components.

Using the grounds in your compost heap building will end up drawing multitudes of worms since the microorganisms that love SCG are loved by worms.

Redhawk
 
pollinator
Posts: 214
Location: Australia, Canberra
75
dog forest garden fish books bee
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Everyday I collect about 20Kg coffee grounds from my favorite café shop. I use it in my compost bins, worm farms, aquaponics grow beds, on soil gardens and sprinkle everywhere. When it is combined with my homemade fish hydrolysate, the temperature raises to about 50C, composting nicely.
20180212_080305.jpg
[Thumbnail for 20180212_080305.jpg]
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Posts: 6280
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
1033
hugelkultur dog forest garden duck fish fungi hunting books chicken writing homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
20 kg a day is an awesome amount of SCG, what a wind fall to have that availability Gurkan, I am jealous.

I have one donkey manure heap that is layered with SCG but I only used about 1.5 kg per layer and it took me almost 2 months to get the heap built to a 2m sq. x 2m high dimension set. It then took about 15 days for it to heat to 180 degrees f before it started to shrink down,and then I turned it.
The number of worms was ridiculous some where in the 150 per sq. ft. range and the nematode counts were way up there too.
It was incorporated into our melon garden and grew some of the sweetest watermelons and musk melons I've ever eaten. Can't wait to plant some other items in that bed this spring.

I'm starting a new test with SCG soon, it will be a leaching project to see just what happens in soil treated with the leachate. I'm expecting a surge in bacteria and a reduction in fungi species present.

Redhawk
 
Gurkan Yeniceri
pollinator
Posts: 214
Location: Australia, Canberra
75
dog forest garden fish books bee
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have 2 compost bins where I dump SCG with some leaves and grass clippings. The amount of fungi is phenomenal here.

I also dump SCG on top of a mostly unused raised bed. Although a crust forms on top, underneath is full of worms (species unknown but looking like red composting worms) and just like chocolate cake.

I also used SCG at another compost bin with dog turd. I have a husky X akita and turd production is a lot. I am composting them here with LAB. Black soldier fly larvae took over here somehow. Turd covers with white mycelium on hot days and breaks down fast.

Doctor, what magnification would I use to identify nematodes and bacteria? I want to invest into a microscope but couldn't decide on magnification. Some say 800X is enough. What do you think/use?

EDIT: No worries, I have found your entry https://permies.com/t/90663/Microscope-improve-soil
 
gardener
Posts: 820
Location: Galicia, Spain zone 9a
184
dog duck chicken cooking food preservation fiber arts pig bike bee solar ungarbage
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I find that coffee grounds mixed with shredded leaves makes the most beautiful compost which I discovered after watching this:
 
steward
Posts: 5073
Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
1405
hunting trees books food preservation solar woodworking
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm getting impressed with coffee grounds and leaves myself.  I have a 15' long chicken run with cattle panels and plastic over it to give the girls a place to hang out in the frigid winter up here.  I have a board running most of the length to hold back a huge pile of leaves.  This year I got 70 leaf bags and filled that side of the run.  They pack them down and poop on them.

Last spring the leaves started composting in early April and I had a bunch of nice compost by early summer.  The leaves were un-shredded but the chickens and me turning them broke the leaves down.  My approach was to pick a new spot each day and pitch fork a hole in the pile.  In about 10 days I'd work my way across the pile and start over again at the beginning.  I'd sprinkle wheat berries in the hole and they'd be sprouted by the time I came back through.

This winter I have a source of coffee grounds.  So I dug in a spot (through the frozen crust of leaves and poop) and mixed in 8 gallons of grounds in a spot.  Repeated each week for four weeks.  The whole pile is cooking despite the cold air temps.  The "bin" is 3' high by 4' deep by 15' long.  Even with the greenhouse plastic on the run, it gets nearly down to outside air temp all night.  Last night it was -11F and tonight is supposed to be -23.  Based on how it's going I have no doubt that it will keep cooking through this cold snap.  And this is with un-shredded leaves.
DSC04919s.jpg
[Thumbnail for DSC04919s.jpg]
 
Mike Jay Haasl
steward
Posts: 5073
Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
1405
hunting trees books food preservation solar woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
A question for the Doctor (or anyone else for that matter).  If I want to save summer coffee grounds for composting in the winter, how could I do that?  Could I dry them on a tarp and then store them?  Or would they lose their goodness?
 
Mandy Launchbury-Rainey
gardener
Posts: 820
Location: Galicia, Spain zone 9a
184
dog duck chicken cooking food preservation fiber arts pig bike bee solar ungarbage
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I love your ideas for using the chickens with coffee and leaves. Thank you for that, Mike!
 
Posts: 2
Location: 83 Bee Farm Road Erowal Bay NSW Australia
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I live in Sydney, 8 acres, environmental protected, adjacent to The Blue Mountains National Park. Soil is either crushed sandstone or pure clay. Both are lifeless. Starting a vegi garden. Have access to heaps of spent coffee grounds, horse dun and nothing much else. Have 2 big  work farms. None of your technical knowledge. Am experimenting with clearing the dead wood with biocharing them. Mulching the undergroth to enable grasses and to allow the gum trees to grow, without bushfires.  Would value any advice.
 
Posts: 2
Location: Norristown, PA, United States
1
urban bee woodworking
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Suzanne Cornell wrote:I have a coffee ground question. I spilled coffee grounds on the way to the compost pile, and the next day the pile of coffee was covered with honey bees. Is it the nitrogen they are after? Why would they love coffee grounds?



In addition to the moisture and minerals suggested earlier in this thread, honey bees will be looking for protein to raise brood.  When natural pollen sources are out of season, they can be seen raiding hulled corn (and other grains) for the dust on it. Commercial pollen substitute will contain fine ground grains.  

In the early spring, put a handful of corn meal in a place protected from the rain and you will likely attract honey bees to it.   At that time of the year they will be very serious about collecting pollen for the protein for brood rearing. It is fun to watch the honey bees, even if you don't want to work with them.  Another trick to watch honey bees is to put out 1-1 sugar syrup: a cup of white cane sugar and a cup of hot water, stir until dissolved, let cool, and put out on a plate to keep the liquid shallow enough to not drown bees.
 
pollinator
Posts: 977
Location: Virginia USDA 7a/b
201
hugelkultur forest garden hunting chicken food preservation bee
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

A question for the Doctor (or anyone else for that matter).  If I want to save summer coffee grounds for composting in the winter, how could I do that?  Could I dry them on a tarp and then store them?  Or would they lose their goodness?



Mike, I think if your dried them back out immedately after brewing then reconstituted them later you should be fine. They are sterile anyway after brewing. Now that I am the wood chip mogul I can get serious coffee grounds. There are two Wawa-type places here that make insane amounts of coffee and I'm gonna start hitting them up. I'm pretty stoked about reading this!
 
Posts: 171
Location: Athens, GA Zone 8a
29
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Keith Odell wrote:Thanks Bryant.

I use the coffee grounds in my compost piles and in my  worm bins but my favorite way to use them is on my lawn and garden.  
I seperate the filters from the grounds and then fling 'em like a monkey flingin' poo.  I add pond water to rinse the bucket and then pour that on the plants I like.
I used to do this at night to avoid the suburban neighbors watching.  Now I do in broad daylight.  They get a laugh, my wife sighs and I get a better lawn.  



I have a question about the filters themselves. We use unbleached #4 filters for pour-over coffee in the morning, and I've just been sticking the used filters with grounds into a compost container and, when full, throw it out into a pile of brush I've got rotting down in the back yard. I don't have what it takes (yet) to be doing actual composting, but I assumed that the filter paper will break down over time like cardboard does. Is what I'm doing hurting anything?

 
Tj Jefferson
pollinator
Posts: 977
Location: Virginia USDA 7a/b
201
hugelkultur forest garden hunting chicken food preservation bee
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Diane, filters are specifically made to not degrade in my experience. I put them somewhere super fungal, because then they do degrade. Grounds go somewhere I want immediate fertility
 
pollinator
Posts: 512
Location: Redwood Country, Zone 9-10, 60" rain/yr,
84
hugelkultur dog duck
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Regarding the discussion about coffee grounds affect on legumes’ germination and growth:

I would hypothesize the grounds, which are a type of bean meal, are creating a nitrogen rich environment which is a less ideal germination condition for other legumes. Kind of like how dandelion and dock will stop growing when your soil is adequately decompacted and calcified, it seems to me legumes don’t “feel needed” where coffee grounds are abundant. Legumes (coffee) have already done the peas’ job ecologically. Just a hypothesis.

I get about 10-25lbs/day from local shops when I am passing by. I just mulch with it mostly.
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Posts: 6280
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
1033
hugelkultur dog forest garden duck fish fungi hunting books chicken writing homestead
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Mike Jay wrote:A question for the Doctor (or anyone else for that matter).  If I want to save summer coffee grounds for composting in the winter, how could I do that?  Could I dry them on a tarp and then store them?  Or would they lose their goodness?



Tj put up the right info about this, dry them out asap store for use when you need them. Sorry it took me so long to get back to this thread.

Redhawk
 
Mike Jay Haasl
steward
Posts: 5073
Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
1405
hunting trees books food preservation solar woodworking
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks!  I've been doing this for the last few weeks.  Now I have 4 chicken food sacks full of dryish grounds.  Just picked up 8 more gallons today.  I'm not a hoarder...  Honest.......
 
A "dutch baby" is not a baby. But this tiny ad is baby sized:
A rocket mass heater is the most sustainable way to heat a conventional home
http://woodheat.net
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!