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used coffee grounds

Posted by nevermore44 6b (My Page) on
Mon, Dec 10, 12 at 14:26

Quick question in regards to UCG (used coffee grounds).

This fall, I started collecting UCGs again from Starbucks. I typically get about three to four 5-gallon buckets worth of UCG each week. Many employees at this location are "into" the whole not sending stuff into the landfill, so they save every bit they get.

I had been using it to cook down my compost browns from this fall. They work great for this. The compost gets up to 160 over a few days before turning it. But I am now at the point that the compost doesn't need anymore greens unless I snag a bag or two of leaves from someone's curb on the way home.

I have in the past just started spreading them out onto the lawn, but with winter rolling in... would it be better to just stockpile them until the spring and use them at that point? Would much of their nutrients be lost in the winter?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: used coffee grounds

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It's not going to do anything for you until it's on the ground is it ?

to sense
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RE: used coffee grounds

Generally stockpiling coffee grounds is not necessary since most of the nutrients they have require action by the Soil Food Web to make them available to plants.

Here is a link that might be useful: About coffee grounds


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RE: used coffee grounds

Well I know that the coffee will actually need to be in contact with the ground to benefit... the ground... :)

I guess I should have added that a good portion of the lawn has a gentle slope. So my thought was that the winter rain could slowly leach away some of their benefits instead of being consumed by the soil food web where they lay. The yard is horrible hard clay, so when we get any decent rain, it starts to just run.


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RE: used coffee grounds

If your ground freezes or gets pretty much saturated all winter, you might be right. It also depends on how thick the lawn is, because that will help hold it in place. Just keep in mind that any the nutrients that leach into the soil (rather than running off) will not completely go away by spring. Especially in clay, which has a low permeability to water as well as high particle surface area and ion exchange capacity to hold them.

It certainly won't ruin the grounds to pile them up and spread them in the spring. Cover with a tarp if it rains a lot.


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RE: used coffee grounds

You *could* stockpile the UCG, I did that one winter when there was 2' of snow on the ground. However, in your climate you might be able to continue composting by finding more 'browns' - could you get shredded paper from offices or sawdust from a mill?

When I stockpiled the UCG I used a tarp under and a tarp over to prevent leaching.


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RE: used coffee grounds

Thanks for the info. Maybe i will just use a portion on the flatter lawn areas and hold the rest till spring.

luckygal- The last time I did spread the grounds on the lawn .. I would spread them on snow and all. Definitely not 2' like you get...but it sure did melt the snow down in those areas much more quickly. The one negative was that the neighbors got very confused and would give me the stink-eye for spreading dirt on the snow. :)


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RE: used coffee grounds

Ahh, neighbors. They just don't always get what we're doing. Right now I have very fastidious neighbors on one side who suck up every leaf with their John Deere and even pull up their dormant perennials like mums, load it all in the truck and haul it to the yard waste dump. Meanwhile I raked up 6 tarps of leaves and made a huge corral in the garden out of my tomato cages and put them in it, so there's now a 4x10 by 3 ft. high mountain of leaves in my garden for them to look at out their back windows all winter. Pretty sure they think I'm nuts.


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RE: used coffee grounds

Well it just sounds like you need to invest in a sign that says "NEW neighborhood yard waste dump this way -->" and place it facing his yard


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RE: used coffee grounds

Ucg do not keep well, do not stock pile, you will get white mold on them.


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RE: used coffee grounds

When coffee grounds are stored, wet, they like any other vegetative waste, are acted upon by bacteria and fungi which produces this white "mold", fungal mycelum. The bacteria and fungi start converting those coffee ground into things plant could use, if the plants were around. Most of those nutrients, from stockpiles, escape into the atmosphere as pollutants and are of little to no value to your plants.


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RE: used coffee grounds

  • Posted by RpR_ 3-4 (My Page) on
    Wed, Dec 26, 12 at 12:31

I used to store it in old coffee cans. It sped up the rust process on the old ones which still left them usable for three or so years.


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RE: used coffee grounds

I've an experiment, storing grounds in the silver sacks from Starbucks. After about six months or a year, in the sack, they harden up, almost like firewood logs. After that they don't change for (at least six) years in the sack.

Take a hardened brick, or log, from the silver sack after a few years and break it up into chunks. It makes good mulch for for about a year. Undesirable grasses start to come up through the chunks of ucg after the first winter.


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RE: used coffee grounds

You could get a rubbermaid tote, drill some holes in the sides, store your coffee grounds in there with some red wigglers. You can also mix in kitchen scraps for the worms too.


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RE: used coffee grounds

Why would anyone suggest putting worms in just coffee grounds? Would you be satisfied, and be able to live on, a diet of just Broccoli?
Even though worms do like coffee grounds they also like, and need, other foods just as we do.


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RE: used coffee grounds

K, I think you missed the part about the kitchen scraps. While just coffee grounds of course is not ideal, it is a way to deal with the excess coffee grounds while the other compost piles are "finishing."


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RE: used coffee grounds

I used to work in the kitchen in a nursing home for 12 years. When I think of all the vegetable/fruit scraps and coffee grounds I could have collected it makes me sick. I wasn't into composting and gardening much back then. I have only had good luck with 1 shop saving coffee grounds and I collected about 7 buckets full before they didn't want to mess with any more. I am friends with someone who still works in a nursing home but I doubt she would be able to save them without someone making a fuss.


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