by Lead Chef Instructor (2nd Term) Dan Brophy

Part of my daily routine involves coffee grounds. Although I am avowed tea drinker for life, coffee grounds have earned a place in my heart.

Oh, Coffee Grounds
How do I love thee?
Let me count the ways.

1) A magic ingredient once recycled as coffee grounds. In maintaining five compost bins and two worm boxes, there is an unending call for another layer of coffee grounds. A layer is 4 to 6 five-gallon buckets. My compost is typically a rotating layer of coffee grounds, chicken manure, crushed eggshells, leaves or straw, and any seasonal specialties I can drum up.

2) Acid-loving plants can be mulched directly with coffee grounds. The blueberries, huckleberries, currants, azaleas, rhododendrons, and lingonberries all get regularly buried with coffee grounds. Potatoes and peas seem to enjoy 8-10 inches every few weeks.

3) Coffee grounds, the unlikely work out aid. A five gallon bucket of coffee grounds weighs about 36 pounds. Load them into the truck, unload the truck, load onto the cart or hand truck, roll across the yard. Empty. Wash. Repeat as necessary. Typically 8-10 buckets a week. Although at the height of my coffee ground madness, I was recycling 20-25 five gallon buckets a week. It’s aerobic, working all the major muscle groups.

4) Coffee grounds will provide the matrix for a variety of oyster mushrooms. Past experiments have yielded a small-scale project. But a break through in habitat control may result in a larger, more consistent year-round harvest. Stay tuned for future details.