Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Save The Planet: Drink More Coffee

Follow your nose through any shopping mall - you'll soon find a coffee shop!
With so much coffee slurped daily, its good to know there's a productive use for all those used grounds. Just add them to your garden!
Coffee grounds can be used as a mulching agent, as well as fertiliser. For best results, don’t use the grounds alone (mix with other forms of organic mulch), otherwise the coffee tends to create a rich sludge that can block air and water flow.
Adding coffee to your compost is a great idea. It creates a nitrogen-rich soil, and gardeners swear that coffee-fed worms flourish (wonder what they taste like?). Researchers have also found that coffee grounds aid in keeping ideal temperatures in compost piles.
As a fertiliser, used coffee grounds are slightly acidic and nitrogen-rich, which helps vegetable and plant growth. The grounds create a natural acidic form of bacteria which boosts the growth of acid-loving plants like tomatoes, roses, blueberries and evergreens.
But wait: there's more! Coffee-ground mulch has the added benefit of deterring veggie and flower-munching slugs and snails. Studies show coffee grounds have a fatal effect on both creatures.
So, how to use it: use fresh stuff, nothing fermented or rotted. If possible, use organic grounds, especially if you eat the vegetables you fertilise...coz about 60% of the world's coffee beans are sprayed with pesticides. Drip and plunger grounds tend to work better than boiled and espresso grounds, as they're higher in nitrogen. Sprinkle some of the used grounds around flowers and vegetables before watering, for a slow nitrogen release, or dilute the grounds in water and spray directly on your plants. You can also sprinkle grounds into houseplant soil or outdoor veggie boxes.
Now if you're thinking "I don't drink that much coffee. Where will I get more used grounds?", check out your office coffee machine, or visit your local coffee shop. Starbucks has given away its used grounds in 2kg bags since the mid-90s...just ask!
So go on! Force yourself to have another cup. You know you're only doing it for the good of the planet. Riiiiiiiigghhtt!!

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