Friday, February 05, 2010

Common Grounds

“I try to take one day at a time, but sometimes several days attack me at once.”
- Jennifer Yane

At the risk of sounding like one of those annoying co-workers you wish would get fired, may I just say: TGIF?

I sit here in a stupor this morning, thrilled at the prospect of a weekend without an alarm clock. I hug my coffee cup with two grateful hands, tentatively embrace reality, and contemplate setting fire to my to-do list. It's Friday. The stuff on that list should have been done long before now.

I've heard tell there are people in this world who begin their day without coffee. Legend has it some folks require no caffeine of any kind to feel all perky first thing in the a.m. I know not of these strange fools. Could be an urban myth.

Coffee is my magical morning potion and that should never change. It not only makes me civil. It also makes me smile.

Coffee makes my flowering friends pretty happy, too.

Leftover coffee grounds slowly release nitrogen into the soil as they degrade. They’re acidic, a blessing for Azaleas and other acid-loving plants who have the misfortune of living in my alkaline soil.

Strawberries love 'em. Hydrangeas go nuts. Roses and Evergreens perk up quite nicely. (I've never met a non-native flower who has a problem with being caffeinated.) Coffee grounds are also great at combating ant problems. If you live in the Desert Southwest you are likely plagued with this pestilence, same as me.

Oh! And, then there's the phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, and copper in those leftover grounds. I suppose I could get into the nitty, gritty details of why that's so wonderful, but could we just say 'trust me' and leave it at that? After all, my coffee's getting cold.

* Used coffee grounds green up plants, improve soil conditions, and encourage rapid growth. Starbucks gives away their coffee grounds for free. Or, just give me a call. I've got plenty!

** PS! They can be very acidic. Best way is to compost them. If you're a composter, then you're aware of how you need a balance of 'browns and greens.' Coffee grounds are considered 'green.'

25 comments:

Noelle said...

What great advice. I knew that coffee grounds were good for plants but have not saved them - I need to get started. Oh, by the way, I hate ants and am waiting for them to show up as the weather starts to warm :(

Kate said...

Hi, Noelle;
My perennials all have the jitters from too much caffeine but if it makes them flower, I'm okay with that!

sweet bay said...

I love coffee too, and can't imagine life without it. I usually dump my coffee grounds over the front porch rail onto the hydrangeas. How's that for lazy composting?

Shady Gardener said...

Kate, Cute post!! I'm not sure my earlier comment made it through... I just mentioned that my plants have enjoyed coffee grounds, too. Starbucks (at least used to) give away bags of their used grounds to anyone that asked for them. :-)

Kate said...

Hi, Sweet Bay;
I do the same thing and my Honeysuckle vine is a monstrous blooming beauty. I credit that to my French Roast!

Kate said...

Thanks, Shady! I think Starbucks still does that but I'm not positive..

Carol said...

I only discovered this clever composting of coffee grinds recently... great for blueberries too. Great Info Kate! Enjoy your coffee... hopefully fair trade and organic!!! Lots of pesticides used on coffee beans.

Grace Peterson said...

Hi Kate~~ Nice photos! One more thing: Red Wiggler worms LOVE coffee grounds.

You know that song, "The best part of waking up, is Folgers in your cup"? Well, I don't drink Folgers but I sure enjoy a good cup of coffee in the morning!

Titanium said...

These non-coffee drinkers are a mystical few; I married one, actually. He wakes up witty, chuckling and cheery- a clever opposite to my grinching, surly self. Coffee is indeed the nectar of the gods...

Kate said...

Hi, Titanium;
I've often been accused of being 'annoyingly cheerful.' But, my days certainly don't start out that way... :)

Kate said...

Hi, Grace - Good to know! When I first started landscaping this property I rarely saw a worm. Now they're everywhere. Which is a nice sign that I must be doing something right.

Kate said...

Hi, Carol;
Oh, yum, do you have blueberries growing on your farm? That would be marvelous. You raise a really good point -- I think it's organic but I should ask. It's a cute local coffee shop that roasts my beans.

Li'l Ned said...

Last year I discovered tea leaves from the local tea shop. They also give them away by the plastic bagful. Since I only drink regular black tea, myself, I was surprised to open my first bag up and find that it was very fragrant and spicy. Apparently most of their customers drink flavored or spiced herb teas. I put this tasty blend out around my bean seedlings, which were being decimated by an unknown critter. I can't say they helped for that, but they did make a nice-smelling and attractive mulch. I think I will tea leaves again this year, on a larger scale.

And for the record, I converted to coffee as my morning drink of choice a few years ago. Mmmmmm. Your post is reminding me to save my coffee grounds separately for my poor, struggling blueberry bushes, who slog along gamely for me in my dry, sandy, desert-alkalineish climate. Possibly if I give them a regular supply of coffee, they will produce more than 3 berries per plant?

Melanie said...

Ha ha I'am one of those weird people who doesn't need coffee every morning. I drink it occasionally . My husband drinks tons of coffee everyday . I get the grounds from starbucks too . I didn't know it was acidic. I guess I can counteract that with wood ash , although I don't put the ash on the compost, I just sprinkle it direct on the garden.

jan said...

I have only been a coffee drinker for the past 7 or 8 years. I started drinking it on a road trip during a very hairy ice storm. I didn't want to be asleep if we went off the road (not sure of my 'logic'...) Now, I cannot start the day without my huge 16" coffee 'tumbler' full!

Kate said...

Li'l Ned -- Hmmm... I don't know why it never occured to me to toss the tea leaves into the mix. But I'll get on that right away.

PS: My raspberry bushes average about 6 berries per year so it sounds we're in the same boat!

Kate said...

Hi, Melanie;
Congrats on the book deal. You must be so excited! I marvel at people who don't need/want coffee first thing in the a.m. Without it, I would head straight back to bed.

Kate said...

Yikes, Jan, I would have done the same thing. I hate driving in snowstorms!

joey said...

Hello, dear soul sister! Freshly ground French Roast Starbucks (here at home) is a morning must ... and I always, aways, treat the garden to the grounds (my gardening mentor mother taught me this years ago). Cheers!

Kate said...

Hi, Joey!
Thanks for making my super bowl menu planning a snap! I'm anxious to test out both of your recipes. Those cookies... oh, my. They sound delightful!

donna said...

I knew when I saw the picture of the coffee cup that this would be a fun post.

Okay...I have lots of hydrangeas. From now on, I'll drink the coffee and give the grounds to the Annabelles.

There are human beings who don't need coffee in the morning? What do they do? Drink whiskey?

donna

gardeningAngel said...

Hi Kate, I am with you, I really need my coffee in the morning, along with my "chocolate slurry" of Nestles Quik and milk. Two vices, I know, but then everyone needs a vice or two to make them a happier person! The empty Quik containers hold the used coffee grounds under the sink for the compost pile. Coffee grounds and plants do make wonderful companions, and your plants look very happy with their caffiene dressing. Very beautiful pictures!

Kathy

Rose said...

Several years ago, as I was just beginning to garden, I stopped to visit with a neighbor who grew the most beautiful roses in his front yard. When I asked him his secret, he told me, "Coffee grounds"! I've been saving mine ever since.
--a fellow coffee-aholic:)

Rosey Pollen said...

Yes, I have heard you can ask Starbucks for coffee grounds if you need them... but I haven't gotten around to that yet. I can just imagine my husbands face on that one. :]
This is a great tip.Thanks for sharing!
Have you ever noticed that the initials for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday are WTF? :)

Kate said...

Hi, Rose;
They make a world of difference with my roses...


Rosey -- Love it. I shall spread your wisdom around the office today. :)