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engineeredgarden
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Starbuck's UCG's are the bomb

The nearest starbuck's is 50 miles away, and you can bet that anytime I'm around one - I stop for their UCG's. I had to go to Hunstville today (75 miles away), and stopped at 3 different stores. The bounty was around 20 lbs. of grounds, and I just love those things! I have to go back on November 16th, and you can bet that all 3 stores will be hit again..hehe...

EG

thanrose
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Yeah, they do a super volume of coffee, but donut shops will, too. I'll pick mine up from Dunkin because it's closest, but always have an excuse why I haven't gotten any lately.

It's gonna depend on the store manager how things are discarded and if they will set stuff aside for you. For others thinking of doing this, you might ask the manager on duty if they'd either toss them in a bin you provide and promise to empty several times a week, or at least put them in a recognizable bag or area of the dumpster. Most won't want to save them in the store for you.

toxcrusadr
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Although I pass several coffee shops daily, I've never done this routinely because of the usual lack of time but more importantly, if I'm going to ask a manager to set them aside, I darn well better show up twice a week to get them. Otherwise said manager will be less willing to do anything for the next person who asks. I always figured "some day" I'll have the time to do it right. A real shame most of the grounds go in the landfill.
Tox

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applestar
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With Starbucks, you don't have to make it a routine pick up. I call the day before when I know I'm going to be in the area and intend to pick up. They're OK with that. In my area, apparently either not enough people pick up OR too many do. If I drop in unannounced, they usually don't have any because someone else "JUST PICKED UP." Either that or it's what a more honest manager told me: They don't usually package them because nobody picks them up (she apologized profusely), but can have them ready for me if I call a day ahead or in the morning for evening pickup.

Sometimes, when they say they don't have any, and you say you'll take whatever they've got, you still end up with a hefty 1/2 a kitchen trashbag full. :shock:

rot
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agreed

..
Starbuck's UCG's are the bomb: agreed.

If you walk in and tell them you'll take what they have - no need to package, you can often get a 60 lb garbage bag or more. They are real happy to unload the stuff without having to package it. Otherwise it will be less. Sometimes they will have none if your timing is bad. Not a major disaster. Although my shoulders are having a hard time of the 60 lb bags these days.

When I was hitting 5 or 6 stores a night, there was one that always looked at me kind of funny and I had to act grateful when they gave me half a donut box worth. I never did buy any coffee from them. Went out of my way to go elsewhere for that. Some folks just don't get it.
..

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engineeredgarden
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rot i i've been lucky enough to get a garbage bag or two in the past, and that's the way I really like to get it. Calling ahead is essential...

EG

rot
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Not so driven

..
I hear you EG. I was there at one point. Now my aim is digesting organics as opposed to producing the most compost as fast as I can.

I can use all the coffee grounds I can get. I can also live without it. If I feel like I need coffee grounds it becomes habit to hit starbucks. Once I start hitting a starbucks on a regular basis, I get lots of coffee grounds. Once I slack off, I get less. If I feel like coffee grounds and walk in and get none I feel it's kismet, karma and I move on. Not a major disaster.

If you need or want lots of coffee grounds you have to work it whether it's calling ahead or hitting them every day. At peak I was getting a couple of hundred pounds a week but it was work to get it and then it was work to make use of it. What does one do with a couple of hundred pounds of coffee grounds a week? Coffee grounds will choke the air filter in your lawn mower and they will crust over making it difficult to water if you lay them in beds. Too many coffee grounds in a compost bin makes for a black gooey mess.

Nowadays, I use coffee grounds with something else and never alone. Coffee grounds as cover need grass clippings in my opinion to mitigate the crusting effect. Whether covering bare ground or a smelly bin, I like grass clippings on top of that for watering purposes. Grass clippings by themselves works well enough and I get along.

I'm getting grass clippings from the neighbors and yeah it would be cool to throw down some coffee grounds first but I can't count on the neighbors to produce when I have coffee grounds to throw down.

Coffee grounds, grass clippings it's all gravy. I'm digesting what we produce with or without starbucks or the neighbors so some smelly ol' truck doesn't have to haul it away and I've done something. I'm a tiny bit more sustainable. I'm a tiny bit less reliant on curbside pick up. The yard, the garden is a tiny bit better for it. What's not to like?

Get 'em while you can. When others figure out that they provide value, they may not be so available. Just don't pin all your operations on their availability.

two cents
..

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engineeredgarden
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rot - dried grass clippings are one of my favorites too, and it's way easier to get them at will. If I had 200 lbs. of UCG's, they would last me for at least a year. Gosh, I don't know what i'd do with a bounty like that!

EG

rot
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I need some better engineering

..
I wish I could get grass clippings at will like I can get the used coffee grounds just by hitting different locations each evening. I'm slowly getting some grass to come back where the dogs have run it into the ground by mulching the now hard ground with any extra grass clippings I can get. If I double whammy the ground with coffee grounds and grass clippings on top of the grounds and the dogs don't churn it up too much it's amazing what that will do to hard ground. The grass clippings prevent things from drying out which is easy 'round here and the worms just dig the coffee grounds.

My compost operations are all now slowing down because I've been using fewer grass clippings there.

I really should be getting more coffee grounds but I've gotten lazy. It's work work work these days and I get to see the yard in daylight only on the weekends. These days though, I'm content to have a job and not be on the market and to digest what we produce in the bio-remediation bins some call compost. I'm having trouble keeping up with the yard as it is so, I might as well mellow out some on the composting and pay attention to those things that need some water and minding.

Two hundred pounds of coffee grounds:
- Crown a 3' x 3' x 3' bin with 60 to a hundred pounds - but without grass clippings on top of that layer it becomes a crust requiring really really slow watering.
- Cover one of 4 or 5 beds with about a hundred pounds - but without grass clippings on top water just runs right off after it dries.
- Anything left over can get churned into a compost bin - I once made a 17 cu ft bin 50 percent by weight coffee grounds just to see what would happen. I nursed that sucker along for 8 or 9 months. Just a black gooey mess. It was all I could do to just turn that sucker every chance I got.
- I once spread about 2 hundred pounds on the beds out front flanking the walkway to the house. For two weeks it was wake up and smell the coffee each morning I stepped out to go to work (starbucks smells lots better than that office drip stuff).
- I used coffee grounds for a short while to check a snail population gone wild. The problem was once the grounds went stale the snails would come back and so I was just layering coffee grounds on coffee grounds. I tried at one point of drying out the coffee grounds so I could just sprinkle them thinly and then they would break down about as fast as I added fresh grounds but drying out coffee grounds, even with our desert influence, is a colossal pain in the butt.

I will forever be engineering the garden.
..

Bloody Boots
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Don't forget your local gas station/convenience stores! The one I stop at nearly every morning is glad to drop all the grounds from their 5 coffee pots into my 5-gallon buckets, and I get easily 20 gallons a week!

All you've got to do is usually ask nicely and provide your own container and lid!

Though it helps if your already a "regular".

rot
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Check your sources

..
I'm not sure I want to know where the handle Bloody Boots comes from. But the point is well taken. Be politic and be patient and you will get the goods.

to sense
..

toxcrusadr
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On the topic of crustiness: I have never had that much at a time where I could make a complete layer, but generally speaking, if you have something like that that sheds water, and you want to use it as mulch, it's best to use it as an underlayer and cover it with something that will absorb water better. It will stay moist and be less likely to crust. A spongy material like shredded wood mulch or shredded leaves over the top would absorb the water and feed it into the grounds. Then you get the benefits of it without the watering problems.
Tox

The Helpful Gardener
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Grounds are great because we get a high carbon, high nitrogen item; it makes its own compost! Browns and greens in the same package!

How cool is that?

HG
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rot
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Just how much carbon/nitrogen in coffee grounds?

..
HG,

I remember reading in a starbucks website some time ago, can't seem to find it anymore, that they had a 20/1 C:N ratio. The same as grass clippings.

Same for the Cornell University reference I use, https://compost.css.cornell.edu/OnFarmHandbook/apa.taba1.html.

Just how much carbon is in coffee grounds?

to sense
..

The Helpful Gardener
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20:1

What is the ratio of browns to greens we want in our compost? Like five or six to one, right? Still plenty of carbon here to give up... not as much as wood but way more nitrogen...

Plus all the humic acids and tannins, more to this than just carbon and nitrogen. But it's a pretty good ratio and the add-ons make it cook real nice...

HG
Scott Reil

rot
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Not really a carbon in my mind

..
HG,

Anything I might put in my compost pile has carbon in it. Saying something has a 20:1 C:N ratio has carbon in it, like grass clippings, seems to me misleading.

Absurdo ad reductum, I should be adding liquid nitrogen to my piles and to my soil.

to sense
..

The Helpful Gardener
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Indeed. The most commonly wasted liquid nitrogen source in the western world would be urine. Sterile, plentiful, and you can make your own! It's easy (and fun if you use beer as a raw material...)

I understand your point on carbon, but as I said, it ain't just carbon and nitrogen. Add some coal to your pile, pee on it, and let me know how that turns out... :lol:

HG
Scott Reil

rot
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Maybe if I'm bad enough for Christmas

..
Already pee in the pile.

I have no idea where to get coal.

Maybe I should pee on the driveway.
..

The Helpful Gardener
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:lol:
Scott Reil

toxcrusadr
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You people are out of control. 8)



On a more serious note, for anyone else reading, it's important to distinguish C:N ratio from brown:green ratio. An ideal compost mix has a C:N of 30:1, or so I've heard. So grounds would be slightly on the green side. I always thought fresh grass clippings were more like 10:1 or even lower, i.e. very high N.
Tox

MamaLlaura
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Will Starbucks UCG fix my mess?!

Please help!

I haven't consistently used my compost pile all winter...mostly, I add to it in the spring/summer/fall, then cover it with leaves & shredded newsprint in the fall & leave it alone til spring. It's a covered affair--looks like a cellar door that I can open & close to keep critters out of the compost. It's REALLY more of a worm bed than a compost pile...

So I went out today & noticed a foul odor...it smelled like something had crawled up in the compost pile & died. I couldn't think of what it could be--it was the most wretched smell I have encountered in a long time. I finally realized tonight that I dumped some expired powdered protein shake mix in there about a month ago...I didn't even think about it being whey protein...yuck!

So, the only thing I can think of to do is to cover it up with coffee grounds, mix it in really well, & hope that it'll compost? Or should I just hold my nose & dig the mess out of there? It's centralized on one end of the bin, but it honestly smells terrible.

Please send all the help you can offer!!
thanks in advance,

MamaLlaura

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applestar
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Since protein would mean a lot of nitrogen/GREEN, I would add and thoroughly mix in a lot of something high carbon/BROWN like fall leaves if you have them/can get to them. Look at the Browns and Greens sticky at the top of the Composting Forum for other high carbon material. Then cover the pile with additional leaves or straw. I like using strawbales broken up into "flakes" as mulch, insulation and odor suppressant. If you have the room, use entire strawbales.

Mixing up fresh UCG into the outer layer carbon material would perhaps help mask the odor. :wink:

MamaLlaura
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Thanks!

That's very helpful--I had no idea whether whey protein would be considered green or brown.

And yes, I was thinking that Starbucks would smell a heck of a lot better than rotting nastiness by my laundryroom door.

The roofers who are coming Monday to replace our roof are going to think we're hiding a body somewhere...

:)

Thanks so much!

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rainbowgardener
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Also, between being covered with newsprint and then your cellar-door-thing, it sounds like maybe there's not a lot of air circulation. Anaerobic decompostion gets very stinky. It will probably help just to open every thing up, air it out, and turn it to get air mixed in through it.
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rot
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Baby it's cold outside

..
Umm. Didn't Georgia just endure record low temperatures? Did I hear snow in Atlanta? I think a freeze just zapped things. Seems to me you'd need an awful lot of powdered protein and something severe to smother the oxygen. I'm betting a freeze could be enough to kill a lot of activity and limit the oxygen

Yeah a layer of starbucks will help the smell. I bet if you just turned the sucker, as gruesome as that might be, and left a layer of starbucks on top you'd be fine especially as the temperatures return to normal. If you see a lot of clotted soggy stuff when you turn, you'll need some dry carbons.

Tell the roofers that's where you bury the lousy plumbers.

two cents
..

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Tell the roofers that's where you bury the lousy plumbers.
:lol:

MamaLlaura
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Many Thanks

Great tips--

I gritted my teeth & got out there yesterday...it wasn't as bad as it was the first day I tried to mess with it, so that tells me it did need some air. I turned it, crumpled up some dry sycamore leaves, mixed those in, and covered it with some more. Two bags of coffee grounds sprinkled on top & it barely smells rank anymore. I think you're right about it needing oxygen and right about it being a cold winter here. We're 18 miles from the GA/FL state line, so we haven't had any snow this year...but it has still be very cold. Definitely warming up this week...so hopefully everything will get kick started again!

And that's exactly what my husband said about the body cache...he said to tell them that's where the last roofer ended up. :)

The Helpful Gardener
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When we get stink we have committed the the composting sin of anaerobia. Virtually any bad smell in compost is directly attributable to not turning...

Now I know it has been cold, and for some of us, snowish. Very snowish. Such times try mens souls, but they try our compost heaps aeration even more so...

So let those without sin cast the first stone! I thought so; not a lot a rocks flying, because we are all sinners, all of us guilty at some point of not turning, of letting the pile go untended. I too have sinned!

But fear not! For this sin can be readily forgiven! All you need to do is turn over a new leaf. Turn your heap over, and let the light shine in! Turn your heap and let the goodness of oxygen redeem your wayward compost! Add the true organic goodness of more carbon and turn, turn, turn your stinking miasma back into black gold!
How can it be that the ground itself does not sicken?
How can you be alive you growths of spring?
How can you furnish health you blood of herbs, roots,
orchards, grains?
Are they not continually putting distemper'd corpses
Within you?
Is not every continent work'd over and overwith sour
dead?

Walt Whitman, from This Compost, from Leaves of Grass
Yes Walt! It's true! The best of soil is dead things rotting! It is not the rotting but how it is rotted that is good or bad...
And there is nothing either good nor bad but thinking makes it so

Will Shakespeare, from Hamlet
OK Will, I hear ya, and even anaerobic culture can produce good stuff (Kombucha? Saurkraut? Kim Chee, anyone? Bokashi is still good compost, right)?
"In the long run we shape our lives and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility."

Eleanor Roosevelt
Umm, okay Eleanor... so choosing the specific organisms makes us responsible for the outcomes, be it cole slaw or hydrogen sulfide stenches. I can own that. I think you know Walt; Will, Eleanor...Eleanor, Will.
"Purely untutored humanity, it is true, inteferes comparitively little with the arrangements of nature, and the destructive agency of man becomes more and more energetic and unsparing as he advances in civilization, until the impoverishment, with which his exhaustion of the natural resources of the soil is threatening him, at last awakens him to the necessity of preserving what is left, if not of restoring what has been wantonly wasted."
George Perkins Marsh, from Man and Nature
Right George right (a bit wordy, but absolutely correct; Talk to Will about brevity, he's really good. And I think you know Walt. This is Eleanor; Eleanor, George). Same proto-farming hunter/gatherer societies in New Guinea for six or seven thousand years with no eco-damage to speak of, we have been here two hundred years and we have Love Canal, Three Mile Island, and the Mecondo well on our record. Which is civilized?

But on the same token, George if we start deciding exactly how to compost by choosing and picking biologies, aren't we curtailing biodiversity? By being completely aerobic we are curtailing the bad guys (yes Will, good nor bad, got it) like E.coli and fecal coliforms, too is that so bad?

So maybe a compost gone anaerobic but brought back to aerobic is the way of the world? Perhaps that's how nature does? Certainly smelled that way last low tide... :evil: Sulfur and brimstone? Work of the devil or anaerobic decomposition?

So I say bring it back alive. A compost that conquers the evils of anaerobia will likely stay that way easier (it's got it's shots, basically). It will take all those corpses Walt is always going one about. Even the roofers and plumbers... :wink:
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant
that you will not live to harvest
Say that the leaves are harvested
When they have rotted into the mold
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every two thousand years
Listen to carrion--put your ear
close and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come

Wendell Berry, from Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front from The Country Of Marriage

Wendell, glad you could make it, I want you to meet some folks... 8)

HG
Last edited by The Helpful Gardener on Wed Feb 02, 2011 12:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Scott Reil

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:shock: ... 8) ... :) :D :lol: LMFAO

I HEARD you've been getting snowed in up there, HG! :wink:

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rainbowgardener
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Wonderful! and of course Wendell Berry is one of my absolute heros!
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Yes... no... (getting off the floor and wiping eyes).... :>
Sorry about that. Your post IS great, HG! I just couldn't help reacting that way. (I guess I've been snowed in too long too.... Knee-high snow everywhere.... :roll:)

rot
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Mojo ain't workin

..
I just haven't been able to put together the poetic chops to respond suitably to HG's post.

Nicely done

to sense
..

MamaLlaura
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I, too, have been too overwhelmed to respond...

Although, I do think my worms got saved there at the beginning...

Oops, I'm not supposed to post anything religious...I just read that in the "rules" that I so dutifully memorized before posting on this forum.

(I hope I get brownie points from a moderator.)

:)

Oh, by the way, the roofers showed up at 7:30 Tuesday morning and did an incredible job--but they covered the whole worm bed up with a tarp...and the dumb coffee grounds molded! I opened the "cellar door" & am letting the whole business air out now...but I do think we're on the road to recovery. Thanks to all you fun composting friends...

toxcrusadr
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No worries on the moldy grounds...they're just decomposing!

Loved that Wendell Berry quote! I'm posting that at my shop in the woods...
Tox

rot
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Quoth the raven

  
With apologies to Mr. Poe and everyone else.
..
Once upon a morning weary, while I turned a pile so dreary,
Over many a stick and curious rinds of forgotten score –
While I lobbed, nearly plodding, suddenly it came gripping,
As of some grass clipping, wafting up gripping my nose now sore.
“It’s some rodent now poor,â€

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rainbowgardener
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:D :D :clap: :clap:
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:shock: I'm impressed, rot! 8)
"poetic chops" indeed! :mrgreen: :flower:

2cents
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Sounds like something one of Rot's plumbers may have told him :lol: :P

rot
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paraphrase the rave

..
Thanks guys.

The poem started out as something about an HG rapping on my head but then it took a dark turn all on its own. I'm reminded of how Mark Train left an afterword in the back of the copy of Puddin'head Wilson I had. He explained that he started to write about a couple of brothers coming into town pretending to be European royalty and how one fell in love with a lady and then there was a jealous local and the next thing he knew all the principals were throwing each other down the well until he finally tore the whole thing up and wrote Puddin'head Wilson.

About the only thing I remember the plumber telling me was to get out of the way. There was some other word or two but I was busy getting out of the way.
..

NHGardener
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So what about Dunkin Donuts? Are they as good a source of UCGs as Starbucks?

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