coffee grounds

We’re now up to two compost bays

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Two compost bays in action.
Two compost bays in action.

A little while back, we cleared some space behind our house, and snuck in a proper compost heap. This has been cooking down nicely, and is just about ready to spread on the guerrilla gardened food forest.

Following on the success of the first compost heap, we expanded to a two-bay system. The second bay is currently composting down a mix of chicken poo, wood shavings (from the chicken coop), and used coffee grounds.

There’s something very satisfying about turning waste products into valuable garden ingredients 🙂

A wheelbarrow full of coffee grounds

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A wheelbarrow full of coffee.
A wheelbarrow full of coffee.

It’s not every day that you end up with a wheelbarrow full of used coffee grounds, but I’m looking forward to making it a regular occurance at Lewisham House.

A little while back, a new cafe opened up just down the road, The Pig & Pastry. Other than their passion for great food, they also have a real interest in environmental issues. This includes some lovely raised garden beds set up in their backyard, for vegetables and herbs.

A week ago I approached them with a strange question: “what do you do with your used coffee grounds?”. Nothing as it turns out!

Coffee grounds are much loved in the permaculture community, as a source of free fertiliser for the garden. Apparently they deter (or hopefully kill?) slugs and snails, and the grounds are a particular favourite of citrus trees.

Online there are a number of long conversations about the relative merit of coffee grounds, including whether they’re too acid, and their effect on chickens. The general consensus is that when they break down, they become more neutral, and they don’t appear to be too toxic for chickens.

So I’ve left several plastic buckets down at the cafe, and I’ll drop down every week with a wheelbarrow to pick up the grounds. This saves them rubbish fees, and keeps my compost bins happy. A win all round!