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adding coffee grinds and egg shells to soil

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pinkdamsel photos
Joined: 8/14/2007
Location: New Orleans, La.
Posts: 311
Posted: Jul/05/2008 12:07 PM PST

I want to amend my garden soil to use coffee grinds and egg shells. I have plants in the garden at this point but many are not doing well. I wanted to know if I can dig around the plants and add coffee grinds/egg shells now. Or, should I wait to a later date?
Aurora blog photos
Joined: 4/24/2008
Location: Chesapeake VA
Posts: 1954
Posted: Jul/05/2008 6:55 PM PST

The important thing is to figure out WHY the plants aren't doing well. Is it because of heat and lack of rain/water? I know that many of my plants are struggling because we have had temps near 100, with high humidity and no rain. I watered every day, but nothing beats a good rain They have really perked up in the last week because we've finally gotten measurable rainfall on a few days (like today and right now)
I have spent the last 3 years improving my soil with the addition of compost every spring, as well as mulching with leaves in the fall, and grass clippings in spring too. So I am pretty sure it has been because of the weather.
Now, I would think that the coffee grounds would be best composted first. You can add some old coffee to some water and water your acid-loving plants with it now. Just remember that coffee grounds are very acidic. It's very easy to change the soil pH to a level that even acid-loving plants can't grow in if they are added directly to the soil.
The egg shells should be fine- just make sure they are ground up pretty fine. They'll add the calcium that plants, especially veggies, need.
Hope I didn't confuse you too much, and that it helps a little
witt blog photos
Joined: 3/28/2008
Location: Lancaster, SC
Posts: 16643
Moderator
Posted: Jul/06/2008 2:12 AM PST

We put our coffee grounds in the compost. I wouldn't put it directly into the soil by the plant. I did that one time and killed off a gorgeous pelargonium.
Aurora right about the egg shells. I used some compost the other day and it has white speckles all over because the egg shells didn't decompose. It's not a pretty sight.
pinkdamsel photos
Joined: 8/14/2007
Location: New Orleans, La.
Posts: 311
Posted: Jul/06/2008 11:22 AM PST

Aurora,
I started a side garden in early spring running approximately 30 feet along the side of my house facing east. Actually, it started as a seed garden. I watered every day for a least a month, then tapered off to every other day. I did put down plants as well. I probably should have amended the soil then. before I planted ANYTHING. My 4 o'clocks did okay by seed until they reached maturity, then yellowed and died. Same for my zinnias. Don't think I will be adding coffee grinds as I do not want to mess with PH soil levels. I don't even know if what I have planted are acidic plants.

witt,
I don't have a compost (no room). Sure glad you responded as I would not want to kill remaining plants. Oh, I want to look up the plant you spoke of.

Thanks yall
msmeg
Joined: 5/07/2008
Location: Missouri
Posts: 37
Posted: Jul/07/2008 1:51 PM PST

Yes you can put coffee grounds directly in the garden they are a great source of nitrogen and organic matter you do not need to compost first... now since they are a source of nitrogen I would not dump them in a pile around one plant... it is not a mulch any fretilizer will kill a plant if put on too heavy.

my Mom did this for her rose garden which loved it. she would bring home a 5 gallon bucket of coffee ground and egg shells ever couple of weeks and spread them around the roses... That was all the fertilizer she ever used on them 30 years later the soil in that bed is still great compared to the clay in the rest of the yard.

Meg
msmeg
Joined: 5/07/2008
Location: Missouri
Posts: 37
Posted: Jul/07/2008 2:10 PM PST

found this on the subject

Using coffee grounds in the garden is a great way to add organic matter to your soil. Coffee grounds are also a good source of nitrogen for your garden soil. Being naturally acidic in nature, used coffee grounds are wonderful for acid loving plants such as roses, blueberries, camellias, azaleas, rhododendrons and even viburnum. Should you want to use coffee grounds in the garden on plants that do not appreciate the acidity, you may need to add a limestone supplement. If you don't drink coffee very often, you may find coffee grounds for the garden at your local coffee shop. Most are more than willing to give you all the coffee grounds your garden can handle. Don't add too thick of a pile of coffee grounds or mold may develop. A nice thin layer of coffee grounds around the trunk of the plant is all that is needed. One more added benefit of using coffee grounds in the garden is that earthworms love the used coffee grounds. They will feed on the coffee grounds and in turn aerate and fertilize the soil around your plants. You'll always enjoy the rewards of using coffee grounds in the garden.
Aurora blog photos
Joined: 4/24/2008
Location: Chesapeake VA
Posts: 1954
Posted: Jul/07/2008 2:57 PM PST

Now why didn't I think of adding lime to help neutralize the acidity, DUH!!
pinkdamsel photos
Joined: 8/14/2007
Location: New Orleans, La.
Posts: 311
Posted: Jul/08/2008 6:52 PM PST

Meg,
That is great news! Glad I didn't throw away my coffee grounds. I'll have to get some limestone supplement. Thanks for the invaluable info!
fairygarden blog photos
Joined: 3/17/2008
Location: SC
Posts: 2104
Moderator
Posted: Jul/08/2008 8:41 PM PST

Interesting. I have been adding coffee grounds to my compost, but maybe I will try a little around my roses.
pinkdamsel photos
Joined: 8/14/2007
Location: New Orleans, La.
Posts: 311
Posted: Jul/15/2008 10:35 AM PST

Okay, yesterday I added coffee grounds mix to include a few egg shells along with more potting soil to two areas in my side garden. I was happy to see earth worms in the potting soil I added. I then planted small Brugs. I will keep you posted.
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