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Moldy coffee grounds - WWYD? Toplef10Moldy coffee grounds - WWYD? 1zd3ho10

Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.

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Moldy coffee grounds - WWYD?

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Post  castoral 7/9/2010, 10:12 pm

I went away on business two weeks ago only to come home and find my husband "didn't have time to water" and take care of the kids while I was away. Needless to say....it was a cool week apprently, but still, no water. So everything has turned yellow and is on the verge of dying. I've been trying to baby them since. I got out and snipped off any dead leafs. Then I used fertilizer for the first time this season thinking that would help - Miracle Grow organic fertilizer is what I went with. Put that on the plants Monday night.

I wanted to follow up with coffee grounds though. My husband and I are not coffee drinkers, so I asked my FIL to save me some. He said he'd knew I'd be asking, so he'd already had some saved in a empty Foldger's bucket. I brought it home tonight only to iscover the grounds have mold on the top....they are 2-3 wks old.

So what do you think? Still use them? Toss and tell him to start new? Scrap the top layer off with mold and use whats below?

I tried to call a few Starbucks and other local coffee shops, but they said they all have someone regularly pick theirs up (there is a "large" organic farm near my house....my guess is they get them already).
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Post  camprn 7/9/2010, 10:15 pm

Well, I would just use them. Or I may spread them out in the sun for a day and then use them. Good luck with the stressed plant.
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Post  martha 7/9/2010, 10:20 pm

I haven't had personal experience, but I have read in several different places that moldy coffee grounds will be fine. Sounds like things are in a bad enough state that the benefit might outweigh the risk.

PS - I hope DH is remorseful. Moldy coffee grounds - WWYD? 675916

ETA: The sun idea sounds like a good one, too.
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Post  jenjehle 7/9/2010, 10:56 pm

I know you didn't ask but I'm not so sure how I'd handle that with my DH. I'd be SO upset! But that's another thread. Moldy coffee grounds - WWYD? Icon_eek

Anyway, may I ask, what's so great about the coffee grounds? I know they are good for soil/garden but were more for long term boosting. I would think if you wanted to give them a "quick boost" you'd use something like fish emulsion. I do think that the Organic MG was a great idea. You may just want to wait and give them a chance to soak that up.

If the coffee grounds had some mold on them, I wouldn't worry too much about it. Just think what they look like after a month after being in your compost bin Smile

Good luck with your plants! I sure hope they pull through!
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Post  boffer 7/9/2010, 11:02 pm


Mold...moss...mushrooms? In the PNW, we ignore that stuff!
Use them!

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Post  Megan 7/10/2010, 6:46 am

I spread coffee grounds from Starbucks on my beds several times. Once or twice, it molded over. Didn't seem to hurt anything.

If you're after a quick nitrogen fix, though, you might be better off using fish emulsion. I found out after the fact that it takes a while (not sure how long a "while" is!) for the coffee to break down. It does look really nice, though (makes the soil look all black!) and smells wonderful.

Also, coffee grounds do not work against ants, at least they didn't for me.
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Post  silverbug 7/10/2010, 7:14 am

Yeah, I'm with boffer. I have a whole bed that has quite a moss habit. Not that the bugs are leaving me much, but my broccoli doesn't seem to mind one bit....not that the things will ever stop growing leaves and flower for me. But they're big and growing. LOL. I would use them. I take my gallon compost bin out sometimes only once a week and it's already composting in there...quite interesting. LOLOL. I don't worry about it.

I found that when my plants were all stiff and purple, a product called "Garden Tone" did a wonderful job boosting them and getting them to relax and grow. It's organic, balanced...it works nicely. It seemed like my pumpkin in the pot was really stressed with the heat, and it looked like it wanted to give up and die for a day, I gave it garden tone and poof, it's doing better than ever.
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Post  Retired Member 1 7/10/2010, 9:25 am

My coffee grinds go moldy on a regular basis -- doesn't seem to hurt anything.

Best to compost them since they release nitrogen very slowly. Here's a decent article about using them:
http://www.sustainableenterprises.com/Business/coffeefert.htm
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Post  camprn 7/10/2010, 10:26 am

As to adding coffee grounds to my garden wether in the compost, as a top dressing or mulch, or worked into the soil, I find their pH is relatively neutral, some nitrogen present but for me the biggest benefit is that earth worms find them attractive, they LOVE coffee grounds. The earth worms work on the compost and coffee grounds & over time greatly improve the growing value of my garden soil. What a Face
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Post  castoral 7/10/2010, 12:34 pm

Moldy coffee grounds - WWYD? Icon_lol Thanks for the replies everyone. I normally do add them to our compost, and wouldn't have hesistated since they were moldy, but since it was going right into the soil I wasn't sure if it would cause some disease on the plants. May try to spread them out on a tarp today in th sun and then use them mid week.

As for my husband, yes, I'm upset.....but on the other hand....working 80 hr weeks and taking care of two kids under two while I'm taking a class for work on the beach.....can you blame him for not finding the time to water? Probably not....he does now realize how much I d around here though. Moldy coffee grounds - WWYD? Icon_lol

Plants seem to be slowly coming back though....I'm taking a wait and see approach.As long as the "fruit" keeps growing on everything, I'm not too worried.
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Post  jenjehle 7/10/2010, 1:48 pm

@silverbug wrote:

I found that when my plants were all stiff and purple, a product called "Garden Tone" did a wonderful job boosting them and getting them to relax and grow. It's organic, balanced...it works nicely. It seemed like my pumpkin in the pot was really stressed with the heat, and it looked like it wanted to give up and die for a day, I gave it garden tone and poof, it's doing better than ever.

Where do you buy "Garden Tone"??
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Post  camprn 7/10/2010, 2:15 pm

Available in most garden centers.
Moldy coffee grounds - WWYD? EspomaGardenTone_ProductImage
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Post  jenjehle 7/10/2010, 3:29 pm

Great, thanks! I've seen that a few times at the larger dept stores garden centers. Wondered if it was any good or not. Maybe I'll pick some up!
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Post  sgenziuk 8/22/2010, 10:08 am

Hi all, great site and any post that mentions coffee grounds is a winner!

I started to use coffee grounds in my garden earlier this year and have collected over a tonne of it so far. Across the world we throw thousands of tonnes of the stuff into landfill, where its potential is wasted.
I've been working with some of my local coffee shops in getting that amazing resource out to where it is needed, and have been tracking progress on my blog. It is very easy for any one person to make a difference, check out my blog:
http://shanegenziuk.wordpress.com/2010/07/03/ground-to-ground/
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Post  Old Hippie 8/22/2010, 10:40 am

@camprn wrote:As to adding coffee grounds to my garden wether in the compost, as a top dressing or mulch, or worked into the soil, I find their pH is relatively neutral, some nitrogen present but for me the biggest benefit is that earth worms find them attractive, they LOVE coffee grounds. The earth worms work on the compost and coffee grounds & over time greatly improve the growing value of my garden soil. What a Face

Hmmmmmmmm...........I always heard coffee grounds were acidic but they go straight into my compost most of the time anyway. You can put all kinds of mouldy stuff in there and it turns it into something beautiful and useful! And I also didn't know earthworms loved them (dang! I love this site!) but I do know slugs HATE them so when I do put them straight into the garden it is for slug control.

There are other places besides Starbucks or McDonalds to get coffee grounds. Try the coffee room at work. Just leave them an old coffee can and ask them to put the grounds in there. If you ask around there are bound to be other places nearby. How about gas stations or small corner stores that have coffee to go? I am becoming more brazen about asking people for stuff they are throwing away especially for compost worthy material.

I know how you feel about coming home to find the garden almost dead. Last year I hired a "professional" to cut the grass and water the garden when we went away for 2 1/2 weeks. It was very hot and sunny the whole time we were gone. If it hadn't been for the neighbour coming home early from her vacation and noticing my yard was all dried out. nothing would have survived. I was so upset. Needless to say I never hired him again! Keep watering regularly but go easy on the fertilizer until they are looking a bit stronger maybe just do 1/2 strength and more often. Just like a person who is dying of thirst and starvation has to be careful to only have small amounts at first, plants can get too much of a good thing at times.

Best of luck.

GK
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Post  Megan 8/22/2010, 2:43 pm

@sgenziuk wrote:Hi all, great site and any post that mentions coffee grounds is a winner!

I started to use coffee grounds in my garden earlier this year and have collected over a tonne of it so far. Across the world we throw thousands of tonnes of the stuff into landfill, where its potential is wasted.
I've been working with some of my local coffee shops in getting that amazing resource out to where it is needed, and have been tracking progress on my blog. It is very easy for any one person to make a difference, check out my blog:
http://shanegenziuk.wordpress.com/2010/07/03/ground-to-ground/

Great effort there, and nice blog! Welcome to the forum, too! glad you\'re here
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Post  sgenziuk 8/27/2010, 9:04 pm

Thanks Megan, great site here also! I've already picked up a few tips that I'm applying in my own garden.
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