Many of you are following my series on coffee grounds in the garden. Just to catch you up to speed, I used coffee grounds for my sorry looking roses, and they came alive. But conflicting information on the internet made me rethink my decision. Was I hurting or helping my plants? Read are coffee grounds friend or foe to find out. But what about using them for compost?
Adam Michaelides, the Compost Education Program Manager at the Cornell Cooperative Extension stated:
“Coffee grounds are very acidic. So if someone (like a coffee shop) was composting mostly coffee grounds with some sort of bulking (brown) material, they might experience slower composting. This is because certain decomposers need certain pH ranges to live and if the pH is too low, some won’t be able to live there to break down the grounds.
But, in general, backyard composters who have some coffee, and some leaves, and some other food scraps, and maybe some wood ash, etc. are going to be fine. When a diversity of materials are used, a diversity of decomposers will work to break them all down. As the material that is composting changes form, the pH will go way down, then way up, and then level off around neutral. Some composts are more acidic or alkaline than others, but some of this has to do with the way that they were composted, not necessarily the inputs.”
The Right Ratio of Browns and Greens in Composting
As for composting, Dr. Hepperly of the Rodale Institute indicated in my previous coffee ground article, compost should be one part green to three parts brown. To be honest, I didn’t fully understand the whole compost thing. You could easily call me a haphazard composter. I just throw in leaves and whatever comes out of my kitchen.
Michaelides explained as follows:
“A more useful rule of thumb is 2 or 3 parts “brown” to 1 part “green.” This is by volume, so if you have one 5-gallon bucket of food scraps, you will need 2 or 3 buckets of dry leaves. As it applies to lasagna layering, one part brown will be on the bottom of a layer, the other on the sides and the third on the top. And you will have one layer of greens sandwiched in between. Hard to describe, but look at the diagram on that fact sheet.”
See Cornell’s composting online fact sheet for more information.
What Do Worm Think About Compost?
The other day I dropped some green scraps in my compost to find a ton of small worms just lounging in the coffee. I never had so many worms before and thanked the coffee for my new visitors. So, I decided as I picked up another bag of coffee, a little coffee will do my garden good.
Be sure to check out my other gardening stories and videos. I am a little obsessed about gardening. (Just a teensy bit.)
Join the Conversation:
- Do you compost?
- Would you describe yourself as a lazy or methodical composter?
- Do you use coffee grounds in your compost?
- What makes your worms happy?
Related Posts on Other sites:
- Starting a New Composting Bin (twofrugalfairfielders.wordpress.com)
- Time for a little Trash Talk (reloveables.wordpress.com)
- Compost How to Make Hot & Cold Piles (growinganything.com)
- Coffee Grounds, Garden Friend or Foe?
- Coffee Grounds and Roses. Starbucks to the Rescue.
- How Can Brown Turn to Green?
- Budgetnista Green for the Home, Part II
- It’s Gardening Time! Roll out the Compost!