Tuesday, January 19, 2010

This One's on the Garden

There's another benefit to the empty pot of coffee on the counter other than that little jolt of energy to get the day started. A good source of nitrogen, the grounds also help create that hummousy soil plants (and gardeners) so dearly love. Mixing them right in with potting soil or just adding a spoonful or two judiciously to already settled pots encourages blooms and good growth.

Grounds can be often be found in bulk from local coffee shops (check near the entrance of Sweetwaters on the corner of Washington and Ashley, for sure) or from the office coffee-maker making it a simple and easy to get staple for the garden. Some creative uses (along with their subsequent benefits) of grounds, beans, and roasting leftovers include mulching paths and repelling pests. Add some eggshells and you've got a great garden breakfast!


Kristen Clauder said...

Great ideas! I've heard that coffee grounds are also a great way to get a mushroom culture started. You can grow Hen of the Woods on sterilized coffee. Pretty interesting stuff.

a2projectgrow said...

Hi Kristen! Thanks for reading! I'd be interested to know more about the coffee grounds-mushroom connection, too. We interviewed Matt Demmon, a local mushroom fellow, this last year. He might have some knowledge about this, too.

Kristen Clauder said...

My boyfriend studied mushrooms in the labs at MSU for a few years and picked up copies of Paul Stamet's mushroom books.

I just asked Casey and he said to point you to a great article by TreeHugger: http://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/11/oyster-mushrooms-coffee.php

Also, on Stamet's fungi.com, he says:

"Delineate your garbage into categories. Not only compost all organic debris, but segregate the refuse into piles appropriate for a variety of desired mushroom species. Inoculate cardboard and paper products, coffee grounds, and wood debris with mushroom spawn."

Casey and I would love to help out with any future endeavors regarding this or any other project at Project Grow. We were in Europe from September - January biking around Spain, Frace and Italy working on some Organic Farms along the way. We picked up a lot about farming and had some great experiences along the way.

Looking forward to the next post!

a2projectgrow said...

Thanks so much for all the information, Kristen! This is just great. And thanks for the offer to volunteer. That's just great! I'd love to hear more about your adventures farming. Send along an email to Project Grow, and we can get you rolling. Take care!