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Java for Your Garden - D. Barnett

I noticed at the last AOGC meeting that many of our members were interested in where, and how, I acquired the free used coffee grounds. This has prompted me to write this article to help spread the "word" of used coffee grounds and their uses. Now, I realize that coffee can be a geopolitical issue; however, regardless of that fact, I strongly believe coffee grounds are a good thing for our planet and certainly our gardens!

At the Starbucks store that my wife and I call our second home, there is a round brass-looking bin with a sign that reads, "Free Grounds for your Garden". (You can't miss it, just look for the bin that also contains garbage from the people that can't read.) On the silver plastic re-cycled coffee bag, there are directions on how to use the grounds in your garden or compost pile. The bags range in weight from five to eight pounds.

The benefits of these coffee grounds are twofold:

1. They provide an unlimited source of nutrients for your garden and lawn, not to mention your compost pile.
2. In addition, the coffee grounds go to the locations listed above instead of into the city's landfill.

Used coffee grounds are a perfect addition to compost or flowerbeds for the following reasons:

1. They hold moisture.
2. They are free and unlike many other natural garden products, they smell good. (A great plus here for those of you that have ever survived a good whiff of Bioform Dry).
3. They contain Nitrogen-Phosphate-Potassium (N-P-K) and other trace minerals.
4. They are easily stored (just look in my garage).
5. They help keep slugs away from plants like Hostas, etc.
6. They add acidity to the soil.

This year alone the world production of coffee beans will yield approximately 8,000,000 tons of coffee. I don't think my flowerbeds or garage can hold that many bags of used grounds, however, I can try!

If you have a coffee house or a breakfast café near you, ask them if they would like to participate in recycling used coffee grounds. Some establishments will gladly fill a Rubbermaid container for you. All they require is that you provide them with your own container along with your name, address, and phone number. Once the container is full, they will contact you and you can go reap the benefits of coffee grounds! Or you can go to the nearest Starbucks Coffee Cafe 4-5 times per week, like my wife and I do, and carry out a lot of the silver plastic bags of black gold for FREE!!