Well actually I don’t. In fact I rather dislike coffee. The smell, the taste you can keep it to yourself thank you very much! I’m a tea girl through-and-through. However coffee in it’s used ground form is magic for the allotment.
I had been reading a lot lately about the benefits of used coffee grounds in the garden. There’s always pins of articles about its usefulness on Pinterest. In particular I wanted the used coffee grounds to use as mulch/feed for my blueberries. Though most of the acidic nature of the coffee is removed in the boiling all the goodie nutrients remain. According to my sources the grounds maintain a pH of an average of 6.9 and a carbon-nitrate ratio of 20-to-1.
I started out collecting used grounds from the coffee addicts at work in a little tub. Bringing home around 100g a week, which when spread out in the soil of the allotment, well it just looked pretty pathetic! I was going to need a whole lotta more coffee! But where from? I remembered reading in Alys Fowlers article some place about asking Coffee shops if you may take their grounds off their hands for them. But it wasn’t something I wanted to find myself committed to on a regular basis. I needed a supply I could tap that I could access when I wanted, anonymously and freely.
This made me recall a remark that a colleague of mine made in passing about that how they thought maybe Starbucks gave it away? What I love about twitter is the instant connection with like-minded lovely gardening folk. A quick tweet asking whether Starbucks still give away free coffee grounds for gardeners in their cafes, triggered a virtually instant mini flurry of retweets and soon my feed was a wash with discussion on the use of coffee grounds and its merits in the allotment.
The answer dear readers was yes they do! So off I popped down to the nearest branch I could find in my lunch break. After a quick enquiry a friendly member of staff directed me to a little basket of packaged up spent coffee grounds in the corner labeled for gardeners. Available in 1kg bags I quickly bundled away 2kgs worth, there were 5 in total i was thinking seriously about taking the job lot! But I eventually saw sense, remembering I had yet to get them home on public transport!
So what did I do with my bounty of coffee grounds I hear you ask? Well the blueberries are currently enjoying a lovely mulch. Whilst the other bag I added to my compost bin as a layer between the last bokashi bin contents, a layer of ‘browns’ and the latest bokashi bin contents. In future I plan to use with my aliums (they love coffee, who knew!?) and investigate their apparent ant and slug repelling qualities.
I now plan to make a regular weekly visit for a couple of bags. Which if you had told me a few weeks ago I’d never of believed you, me in a Starbucks? Never! For a coffee naysayer that really is dedication.
Although hats off to the coffee shop beginning with S (they’ve had enough praise for one day) for their green initiative, do ask your local independent coffee shop if you can take their grounds. I’m sure they’d be more than happy. For example Norwich gardening folk, I had a tweet from a Norwich based coffee shop The Little Red Roaster @LRRNorwich who are willing to give away their grounds.
As for my blueberries? I’ll keep you (blog)posted!