siren1024
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Location: Tennesee Valley, AL

Molding okay on coffee ground fertilizer?

I'm not really sure where this should go, but this seemed like the most appropriate place. We have highly alkaline soil (I live in Limestone County if that tells you anything!) so I have been adding coffee grounds to my acid lovers as a simple fertilizer. We only have 1/4 acre and two small children, so I really haven't figured out how to make room for a full blown composting area, but love the idea. We go through so much coffee at my house that it seems to be dumb to throw it out.

Anyway, we (finally!) had a couple days of heavy storms and the last couple of days it has been hot and humid, but no rain. I noticed yesterday the mold around the base of my peppers and hydrangeas where I add the coffee grounds. Is this to be expected? I know decomp critters are a normal part of composting, but I just don't know much about the process, so since I wasn't doing the composting process, I wasn't sure if this was okay.

Should I be fully drying the grounds or just dumping them damp? It seems to me like they are going to get wet anyway when watering them. Should I put them out somewhere to do whatever molding and stuff they are going to do before I put them on the plants?

Any advice would be appreciated.

rot
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Joined: Wed Sep 24, 2008 5:15 am
Location: Ventura County, CA, Sunset 23

Don't know about edibles.

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Don't know about edibles. Sounds like something for the garden forum.

I've been spilling a lot of coffee grounds from starbucks for quite some time but on ornamentals and stuff. Non-issue in this dry climate really. The various colorful molds don't seem to hurt anything here.

Since a lot of the weight I'm hefting about from starbucks is water, I just assume that water goes into my dry soil.

I have been thinking about trying to dry some out so I can powder certain areas to chase the snails away. It seems the snails don't like the coffee grounds but after the grounds go stale the snails don't care. I figure powder the area on a regular basis to avoid build up. the worms sure do seem to like the coffee grounds a bunch though.

two cents
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rainbowgardener
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Location: TN/GA 7b

composting area

I'm going to let someone else deal with the mold question. Since my coffee grounds (and filters) go in the compost pile, it's not something I have experience with.

I'm picking up on your statement about not having room for a "full blown composting area". I don't know how much room you have, but my whole composting area is about 3' X 6'. I have a 3'x3' wire bin that has my active compost pile. Next to it is the finished compost I'm using, which is where the bin was last time. Once the finished compost is used up, I take the bin off the active pile. Move the uncomposted stuff from the top of the active pile to be the bottom of new pile where the finished stuff was, put the bin back around it. So the bin with the active pile just moves from one side to the other of the 6' area. So it doesn't have to take up a lot of room.... To me it's hard to have a good, natural garden without a compost pile!

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applestar
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Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

It sounds like you're "dumping" coffee grounds around your plants on top of the soil. Being rich in nutrients (that's why they're beneficial for plants), they do attract mold if left damp. They also dry with crusty surface that sheds water. It's best to scratch the coffee grounds in top 1/2 inch or so of soil around the plants, avoiding about 2" closest to the stems so as not to "burn" the plants.

Another option is to water them in well then top with some mulch (I usually use straw or dried grass clippings).

While coffee grounds are great soil amendment, attracts earthworms, and are also said to be poisonous to slugs, I don't believe coffee grounds by themselves provide full-square meal for your plants. I generally consider them to be more of soil amendment (adding organic matter) or compost ingredient.

Oh with the ones you have now, if you scratch the moldy CG into the ground, that will break up the fragile mold structure, help to dry them out faster, and incorporate/decomp into the soil better.


Be sure to shake or rinse off any coffee grounds that are spilled on the foliage as they leave brown spots that causes the leaves to decay.

rot
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good news bad news

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Yes the neat thing about mulching with coffee grounds is that they form a crust that holds in the moisture underneath. The bad thing about using coffee grounds for mulch is that they form a crust that's holds back the water you are adding.

I like to apply grass clippings on top of the coffee grounds when I've got some to spare from the bin. That seems to mitigate the crusting part. In the back, the squirrels take care of scratching up the surface.

I'm sure coffee grounds don't provide all the nutrition the soil needs but I can get lots free and easy and I'm playing the game of getting the most organics as quickly and as cheaply possible into the ground. I'm not looking for miracles. I'm just looking to make things better.

Too many coffee grounds in the bio-remediation bin tends to smother things and they do just fine on the ground while the rest of the on hand ingredients decomposes and then I can apply later.

I have one forty foot bed of mostly roses. I start dumping the coffee grounds as I get them at one end and by the time I get to the other end, I'm ready to start at the beginning as it has been incorporated into the ground.

I will be more careful about the coffee grounds that end up on leaves in the future.
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Diane
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Location: Mass

Re: good news bad news

rot wrote:..
Yes the neat thing about mulching with coffee grounds is that they form a crust that holds in the moisture underneath. The bad thing about using coffee grounds for mulch is that they form a crust that's holds back the water you are adding.

I like to apply grass clippings on top of the coffee grounds when I've got some to spare from the bin. That seems to mitigate the crusting part. In the back, the squirrels take care of scratching up the surface.

I'm sure coffee grounds don't provide all the nutrition the soil needs but I can get lots free and easy and I'm playing the game of getting the most organics as quickly and as cheaply possible into the ground. I'm not looking for miracles. I'm just looking to make things better.

Too many coffee grounds in the bio-remediation bin tends to smother things and they do just fine on the ground while the rest of the on hand ingredients decomposes and then I can apply later.

I have one forty foot bed of mostly roses. I start dumping the coffee grounds as I get them at one end and by the time I get to the other end, I'm ready to start at the beginning as it has been incorporated into the ground.

I will be more careful about the coffee grounds that end up on leaves in the future.
..
I didn't know roses like coffee grounds. I let my coffee grounds sit in the sun for a few days until they dry. Didn't work in June with constant rain.
I used to just dump the wet grounds around my hydrangas. It worked as the pinkish color left and the plants became more blue-purple. But I noticed the mold and got worried.
Gardens are a little bit of heaven on earth.

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