Friday, July 16, 2010

Cheap green tip: visit your local Starbucks for coffee...

... grounds, that is!

Starbucks coffee shops are saving their used coffee grounds in bags and making them available for free to anyone who wants to add them to their gardens.

We've been having slug problems again, and the beer in a small pot trick just wasn't working. (Maybe because the beer is old and stale? We're not beer drinkers, so what we have was left over from a party last summer).

I did some internet searching, and found some sites that recommended mulching used coffee grounds around your veggies to ward off slugs, as well as to help nourish your plants. Because coffee grounds are so fine, you have to mix them with something rougher such as broken-up eggs shells or dead leaves or bark mulch, so the grounds don't become impacted and prevent water from penetrating to your plants. The slugs don't like the feel of the rough stuff and they don't like the smell of the coffee, so they stay away.

Since we don't eat enough eggs for the quantity we'd need and our dead leaves went in the local yard waste disposal months ago, we chose organic bark mulch. Because organic bark mulch is more expensive than non-organic, another benefit to free Starbucks used coffee grounds is that it makes the bark mulch go further. So far, so good--no slugs!

And I have to wonder if the coffee smell is distasteful to deer as well. I spread some of the coffee/bark mulch around our blueberry plants. Last year, the deer devoured all our blueberries, and this year, they haven't touched them--and my husband hasn't even made his "deer off" pee-garlic-cayenne mix yet!

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