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Storing Used Coffee Grounds Until Spring

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Question:

I have been saving used coffee grounds for the garden. However, we live in the Midwest, so I need to store them until Spring. How do I store them so they don't get moldy?

Hardiness Zone: 5a

Michelle from Milwaukee, WI

Answer:

Michelle,

I like Beth's idea of using a covered plastic container like a 5-gallon bucket in the garage (or next to the backdoor) to store coffee grounds over winter. Depending on how you use them, you could also portion some of them up using leftover plastic bags, or you might consider composting them along with your kitchen scraps. If you do decide to add other compostable items in with the grounds, keep in mind that coffee grounds are considered a source of nitrogen and fit into the "green" category when referring to the ideal ratio of composting half "green" and half "brown" materials.

Coffee grounds do make an excellent soil conditioner when fully composted and worms love them. They add texture to the soil's structure and a small amount of nitrogen to the soil. If you are saving them to feed to acid-loving plants, keep in mind that spent grounds actually have a more neutral pH than most people realize (most of the acid is stripped from the grounds in the brewing process and ends up in the coffee). Whereas an average cup of coffee may have an acidic pH of around 4.5, used coffee grounds come in only slightly acidic at about 6.2-6.7 (7 being neutral). For best results, dig the grounds at least 6 inches into the soil.

Good luck!

Ellen

By

About The Author: Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at http://www.sustainable-media.com

Recent Answers

Here are the recent answer to this question.

By Catherine Smith03/27/2008

I put coffee grounds by the 5 gal bucket in my compost bin and vermicomposter year round. I only garden organically and have for over 20 years. I've had no trouble with mold on my houseplants, but I use "live" soil. All organic and no commercial fertilizer. I also use Bokashi "juice" as a fertilizer with excellent success.

By Carol Swanson [17]03/27/2008

I just throw my used coffee ground out with the filter even if it is winter. I want them to decompose before spring. Also, I want the filter to decompose before spring. I"ve been doing this for several years, and it works fine for me.

Im in zone 5 in PA

By Bonnie (Guest Post)02/28/2008

I cut the leg off of a pair of panyhose, and stored the grounds in there. I hung it in the garage

By Barb02/27/2008

I am dumping them right on the snow in the flower bed. Is that a problem? That's what I have been doing!

By Barbara Huggins [8]02/27/2008

If you let them dry out before putting in a container, they shouldn't mold.

By (Guest Post)02/27/2008

It's moisture that causes the mold so either dry them in the oven or freeze them, if there's a fisherman in the family and you have a worm bed put some grounds on/in the bed, the worms will be fiesty as heck,,,too much caffine :-)

By Beth [5]02/26/2008

I have an old rubbermaid garbage can that I keep in the garage that I put all of my compostable waste in over the winter. It has a snap-lock lid so critters can't get into it. By the spring, it's mostly full of ready-to-compost scraps. It doesn't decompose much over the winter because it freezes solid (So no stinking/molding either), but it's very rewarding to dump the whole thing into the compost pile in the spring!

By LuvMyGingerKids [45]02/26/2008

Freeze them in a freezer bag! =D

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