Confessions of a Coffee Addict: Grow a Greener Garden

Confessions of a Coffee Addict: Grow a Greener Garden

I only make the coffee so I have the grounds to grow a greener garden! I’m NOT addicted.

“It is inhumane, in my opinion, to force people who have a genuine medical need for coffee to wait in line behind people who apparently view it as some kind of recreational activity.” ~ Dave Barry

I admit, I was once that person whose first move in the morning was reaching blindly (there was no energy for the putting in of contacts or donning of glasses) for the coffee pot, beans ground the night before, water at the ready, to brew with the push of a button.  On a dare in my early 20s, I weaned myself off caffeinated coffee, clearly dependent on it for college life.  I swore I could do it, and I can’t turn down a dare.  I could handle my 21 unit, basketball playing, part-time nanny life without my multiple cups of joe! And I did. I may have been a bit slower on the court that season, but, as my friend noted, my eyebrows appeared “more relaxed.”

“I’d rather take coffee than compliments just now.”

~ Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

I’ve weaned myself to one morning cup, one of which I’m rather picky about.  Raised in the northwest, a coffee snob is just another term for a denizen of Portland.

Is coffee such a bad addiction, in the long run? One study says yes, while the next study says no. Meanwhile, the world keeps making mud, from drip machines to Turkish stovetop pots to French presses to baristas in white lab coats concocting the perfect cup.

While you sip your morning latte, consider that there’s little debate over how good the grounds are for your garden.  Brew it, savor it, and scatter it.  Sunset magazine reported back on the benefits of adding grounds to your — ground, after sending to a soil lab the coffee grounds Starbucks gives away for free.  “Turns out the grounds provide generous amounts of phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, and copper. They also release nitrogen into the soil as they degrade. And they’re slightly acidic, a boon in the Western climate. Dig or till them into the soil to a depth of 6 to 8 inches.”

Serious Eats gives us the rundown on why these nutrients are part of any great garden fertilizer:  “Nitrogen allows plants to convert sunlight into energy; phosphorus helps that energy get transmitted throughout the plant through its root system and cells; potassium helps the plant retain moisture, which aids photosynthesis.”

To start your coffee habit, store your grounds in an airtight container, and add them directly to your soil, then cover with mulch, or add to your compost pile, making sure it’s at a ratio of one fourth of your other compost items. Bonus: coffee ground compost keeps the rodents away, apparently having never “acquired the taste” for the delicious drink.

Beyond growing a more productive garden, Organic Authority notes eight other ways to use coffee grounds around your house, including using them to clean caked on pots and pans, or in lieu of baking soda for odors in your fridge or freezer. For the more ambitious among us, there’s a recipe to make coffee soap.  I love coffee scented – everything, but I know my limits.  Who’s going to get crafty and take on the task of trying out the soap recipe and reporting back? And check out The City Farm’s Coffee Mug and Spoon Set to add some color to your morning java!

“Good communication is as stimulating as black coffee and just as hard to sleep after.”

~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea

Share your coffee and composting stories with us here in the comments, or at Twitter: @TheCityFarm

(Photo Credit: Morning Cup of Coffee – SandboxGeneral; Coffee Beans – Parade; Coffee Grounds – Growing Power)