Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Grounds For Insanity

There’s a plastic container on my kitchen counter filled with what most people think is dirt. It’s’s coffee grounds. I once read somewhere that sprinkling spent coffee grounds in your garden is good for the soil. It seems they are loaded with nitrogen, calcium, and magnesium--nutrients that are beneficial to the plants.That was many years ago when I lived in the suburbs. I would make my coffee and once the used grounds had cooled (and dried--you can’t do much with wet, sticky grounds), I would run into the backyard and toss them in whichever patch of soil was closest. I really believed that those grounds were the reason my Meyer Lemon trees did so well. The fruit was plump and juicy and gave off a heady aroma when the pre-fruit flowers blossomed. I daresay my tenants are tending to the tress in the same manner I did. One can only hope. 

I live in the city now and I have neither garden nor much soil near me. So, the container sits on the counter waiting to be emptied.

It’s not just because I have no garden that I don’t regularly toss the grounds. I live on a floor that is too high up to keep going out each time I make a pot of coffee--that’s excuse number one. The other excuses range from, “I can’t handle the dog and the bag of grounds at the same time, I can’t let anyone see me tossing something into the building’s bushes, I can’t let anyone see me on the elevator with a plastic bag filled with an unidentifiable brown substance.” So, the container sits on the counter and waits.

I prefer throwing the grounds out at night, when no one is around. But my husband usually gets night duty with the dog, and he says that it's my project, so it's my dumping responsibility. Right before it rains is a good time, because the grounds can really soak into the soil then.  But I don’t often plan ahead, and once the rain starts, I usually have an umbrella in my hand--too cumbersome.

The best time to unload the grounds is right before a snowfall. They then get covered up and smashed below the surface. We haven’t had much snow lately, but they do predict a storm is on the way, so perhaps this week is the week. 

The container is getting pretty full, and if that snowfall doesn’t materialize, I’ll have to start throwing the overflow down the disposal. And really, since I don’t have a garden, and I don’t have to worry about the building’s soil, I should just forget the whole thing and chuck the entire lot. 

Problem solved.


  1. Have you considered doing what the POWS did with the unwanted dirt they'd dug up, when creating the getaway tunnel in The Great Escape? They put the dirt in their pockets (which had tiny holes in them) and when they went outside during the day, the dirt would slowly slip down the inside of their trouser leg onto the ground. Voila! The dirt was disposed of and no one the wiser. I suggest this as an option - otherwise, yeah...just dump it.

  2. Old habits! I have a garden and a compost so I understand, but even in rainy Portland, the compost containe gets overfull, which of course has coffee grounds, because I don't want to muck over to the compost!

  3. Great tip for my gardening husband, although I'm concerned this might hype up our resident raccoon. Maybe I should put down decaf?

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