Do coffee grounds benefit gardens?

As a daily coffee drinker and long-time advocate of composting, coffee grounds generated in my kitchen go into the compost pile. But, apparently, gardeners are increasingly using coffee grounds, collected from coffee shops, as mulch.

This is not a practice I had considered until I read Linda Chalker-Scott’s peer-reviewed fact sheets on this topic. As one of The Garden Professors, Linda is a huge proponent of science-based gardening information.

Her newest fact sheet, Using Coffee Grounds in Gardens and Landscapes, provides valuable advice for home gardeners. I strongly advise you follow the link and read the entire fact sheet, but here are a few of her points:

  • fresh or composted coffee grounds can be safely used as mulch, but no deeper than a 1/2″ layer and not on seed-starting beds as the grounds tend to reduce germination.
  • to prevent the grounds from compacting and limiting moisture to the soil, they should be covered with a coarse mulch of organic material.
  • coffee grounds are not always acidic and, therefore, should not be used to alter soil pH.
  • only composted coffee grounds should be worked into the ground as a soil amendment.
  • coffee grounds should compose of no more than 20% of the volume of a compost pile.
The Informed Gardener by Linda Chalker-Scott ... a must read for all gardeners.

The Informed Gardener by Linda Chalker-Scott … a must read for all gardeners.

Want to read more of Chalker-Scott’s science-based advice for gardeners? Check out The Informed Gardener. It is easy reading and pares scientific research against gardening and landscaping myths.

 

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2016 Spring Blooms – an update

It’s time for an update on the status of the 2016 spring blooms. In a late December 2015 post I wondered whether the early swelling of buds on many spring-flowering shrubs might be damaged by a sudden onset of more normal winter cold.

The blooms on my star magnolia (Magnolia stellata) a few days ago suggest I need not have been concerned, at least over how December’s warmth might affect this small tree.

Magnolia stellata on 3/30/16

Magnolia stellata on 3/30/16

The jury is still out on the white lilacs. It’s not unusual for such temperature swings to damage flower buds to the point of not blooming. But winter’s warm-to-cold-to-warm temperature swings apparently did not damage flower formation … buds have formed and are in early stages of opening.

while lilac buds on 4/2/2016

while lilac buds on 4/2/2016

Now I wonder how the late freeze forecast for the next few days might damage emerging spring blooms. Lilacs are hardy, but nighttime temperatures in the teens – forecast for this coming Tuesday – are cause for concern.

Stay tuned.

 

 

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