Monthly Archives: October 2011

Savor Those Coffee Grounds

Coffee Mug

  1. Love coffee?  Well, drink up – but don’t throw those grounds out with the trash. Gardening Junkys know there really is more to coffee than just drinking it. It turns out coffee can play a part in organic gardening. So not only can you drink it, but you can use the coffee grounds to make your garden soil and plants happy.

Brewed coffee is acidic, but the grounds produced from the brew are not. The brewing process removes the acid and they become neutral and nitrogen-rich. This is good news and lends itself to practical applications in your garden.

Probably the easiest thing to do with your coffee grounds is to add them to your compost pile. They are considered a “green” material just like any vegetable peelings and grass clippings. Being rich in nitrogen means they will help heat up your compost and aid in a faster decomposing time. As with any composting, brown materials such as dry leaves should be in your bin as well.

Another way to use your grounds is to work them well into the soil before you plant your garden. Or consider lightly sprinkling them around your garden before a good watering as if they were a slow-release nitrogen fertilizer.

Consider making a compost tea with the remains. Try grounds and water for a weak mix and let it heat up. Strain it and spray on the plant leaves. You might want to do a test run first to make sure it’s not too strong.

Some people like to spread coffee grounds around their acid-loving plants, but since the coffee’s acid was depleted in the brewing process, it may not really give extra help to these plants. There are those who swear by it though.

If crawling pests are a problem, try spreading grounds and crushed egg shells around plants in an effort to deter pests such as slugs.

Feed the worms, they like coffee too! If you have a worm bin you can feed it to them in small doses mixed in with your other kitchen scraps. If you don’t have a worm bin, working it into your pile or directly into your soil will benefit the wrigglers who will, in turn, benefit your soil.

You can keep a compost bucket in the kitchen for your grounds after you brew your coffee and then dump them all into your compost bin at the end of the week. Alternatively, you can get larger quantities by visiting your local coffee shops and asking for their grounds. Consider making arrangements to pick up their waste on a specific day each week and they’ll keep you “grounded”.  Do watch your ratio though, as it should not be more than 20-25% of your total compost material.

The next time you have coffee, save the remains for the benefit of your garden. Put them in your compost pile, feed the worms, work into the soil, or use in a tea, and watch your plants thrive.

The Shoestring Gardener


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Photo Credit: strotter13

Harvest Time Salsa Recipe

Harvest time salsa

It’s harvest time!  Every good Gardening Junky loves to make salsa, so get out in the garden and collect those tomatos, peppers, and onions and check out this recipe.

The key to this recipe is roasting the chili peppers and red bell peppers.  It brings out the deep rich flavors.

To roast the peppers, first slit them to allow the steam to escape; then place them on an oven rack and broil, turning occasionally for 25 minutes or until the skins darken and blister. Cover with a damp cloth and let cool.  Peel off the skins and discard, along with the seeds.

Chili Pepper Salsa

8 cups tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 cup roasted chili peppers, chopped
3/4 cup roasted red bell peppers, chopped
3 cups onions, chopped
1 cup vinegar
1 can tomato paste
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 TBSP salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients and stir.
Place in the refrigerator and chill for 30 minutes before serving.


Photo credit:  maangchi on Flickr


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Helping Birds Through The Winter: Feeding

winter bird feeder

The days are getting shorter and the temperatures are dropping. The leaves are changing colors and in the northern areas snow flakes have swirled in the air. Winter is coming and it is time to get serious about feeding the birds. Birds come to our feeders in the Spring, Summer and Autumn because they are convenient and have special treats.

Birds come to our feeders in the winter because they need the food. Many sources of their food have gone dormant for the winter. You want to feed the birds but you need a bird feeder or another bird feeder. What kind of feeder do you buy?

You need to answer a couple of questions. What type of birds winter in my area? What type of birds do I want to attract? Let’s look at the type of birdfeeders available and the birds they attract.

Platform Feeders: The Platform Feeder will attract a large number of birds both large and small. This type of feeder will also give the most unobstructed view of the birds. The versatility of platform feeders is one reason they attract such a large variety of birds. A platform feeder can be placed on or near the ground, placed on a pole or hung from a tree. In fact, platform feeders can even be placed under another feeder to catch the falling seed. Among the birds you can attract with a platform feeder are cardinals, titmice, juncos, jays, towhees, chickadees, native sparrows, and doves. Continue reading

Fall Rustic Garden Decor

Fall is here.  The leaves are turning color and the air is crisp.  I found these photos of simple, yet elegant rustic garden decor I wanted to share.  It’s easy to make beautiful fall decor out of natural items found in your own back yard.

This simple grapevine wreath embellished with some flowers and dried seed pods adds a splash of color to a weathered garden fence.

Fall Rustic Garden Fence Wreath

 photo source: etsy-flowboratory

Bring in some gourds from the garden, fall leaves, and bittersweet berries to dress up you fireplace mantel.

Gourds on a mantle

photo source: midwest living Continue reading

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