Category Archives: Organic

Coffee to Wake Up …The Garden

Coffee grounds are a great addition to the home garden and the growing plans around the entire yard. If you have discovered a local coffee shop with a supply of grounds ( larger than average family making 1 or 2 pots of coffee a day) and can bring them to your house and garden you now need to know how to use them.

The most obvious is COMPOST. Add the grounds to the pile(they tend to be 2% nitrogen and <1% phosphorous and potassium) and thoroughly mix with leaves, grass, paper, kitchen scraps and seedless weeds from the garden.

This post will be a list and attached articles will fill in some information.

COFFEE GROUNDS from a shop:

1. Add grounds to the compost pile, bin or container. {different blend percentages are suggested- look some up}

  1. Raise your own worms for casings, and the grounds mix well with other food scraps s food for the worms= they love them.
  2. Spread on the lawn, under trees and bushes(heavier for acid loving plants)
  3. Top dress the garden , especially in the offseason, with the grounds. They will break down and add nutrients to the soil
  4. Slugs and snails hate coffee grounds – protect susceptible plants with the grounds
  5. squirrels and rabbits can also be deterred by the grounds underfoot
  6. Acid loving plants will love a ring of grounds that are worked into the ground/soil around the base of the plant .

The following articles address some of these ideas.

The most obvious and simple use is as compost, but The amounts can be important:

More than compost- other uses for the grounds:

Some plants love the grounds directly on them:


“Hiring” Helpers for the Garden..Less than $100 a year

I have been a fan of worms in the garden and  as part of my gardening team.

Worms ( red wigglers -Eisenia foetida ) are a great resource for Vermicompopsting or Worm Composting. The worms compost the food scraps , leaves, grass and orther compostables and create a “delicious” and powerful garden fuel. The castings are essentially worm manure and this manure is great with seeds or plants, brwed into a compost tea or use to top dress potted plants.

A pound of red wiggler works can be ordered for an estimated $22-40 depending on the source and location. A bin to keep the worms and their castings can be purchased or made-the investment here can be $5-100.

If you choose not to hire the worms you can buy the worm castings from several sources.

The other employees to “hire” are known as beneficial insects- These are “bugs” that will prey upon the pests in your garden. And can be purchased , or caught and relocated in your garden or lured into the neighborhood. I will focus ona few favorites and buying them.

Some Helper Insect information:

In addition to worms the insects I have worked with are ladybugs ( ladybeetles) , praying mantis and green lacewings.  They are helpful in the garden and they are attractive. Since I continually encounter them as I plant , weed and harvest – it is fun to know they are there-helpimng- and they are nice to look at.

Gardens Growing, Farmers Markets Open- SALAD SEASON !!

It is spring and the GREENS are popping up all the way TO THE MARKET. What we aren’t growing yet we can get in bundles.

I love the amount greens available- seems like THEY KEEP INVENTING  new greens- …and some of the best are the 1st vision of great beets or turnips or parsnips. I love snipping some tops from beets and turnips as I collect lettuces and other early greens

-Cabbage is close and asparagus will be here soon


+++Spring Focused- get creative with THE MARKET and garden

* ADD some nuts and poms…

** sub strawberries at Farmers Market for Poms…

### This just looked and sounded great


Compost bin Construction- Pig Pen gone and Compost on the Way


New compost bin- 1st section ready, loading up

I recently helped friends start a new multi-bin composting system. The above is the way it looks now as 1 bin is ready and getting loaded. Eventually It will have 3 bins for Compost in 3 stages. (green- starting, half way and ready for the garden).


The footprint for the bin started the day as an old pig pen, all of the pieces have been reclaimed and many will be used in other projects around the house and yard. The old nails were too rusted and damaged to reclaim but will be sent to recycling.    


Pieces and debris removed from the Pig Pen for Compost bin location.

The reclaimed HT (heat treated) wooden pallets will make a solid frame for the collection and creation of the black “gold” that will feed the garden and plants for years to come. The mountain soil in this are is very fertile but also heavy with clay. Additions of alluvial/sandy soil from the stream, leaf mold and compost will keep it strong for years to come and fertile as the garden of Eden.

There are plans to complete the full 3 bin system as well as a Hot compost drum- to speed up the process for the garden as to “spike” the other open compost bins . It will look something like this: Image   



Ultimately the bins will look like this. 3 bins with a pallet base- covered by burlap coffee bean bags.

More plans and more work for the 2014 garden..


Building Good garden Soil

The key to delicious garden grown food is healthy and strong soil.
The key to healthy /strong soil is building it up with mulch, compost and recruiting worms and other useful organisms.

1) Minimize tilling and digging. [keeps good soil structure-and weeds]
2) Use compost, grass clippings,leaves/leaf mold and organic mulches (will help and improve the soil structure and texture)
3) Always keep the soil covered with crops* or organic mulch.

*Whenever you are not growing a crop, sow a cover crop to keep the soil active and fed or cover with good compost and mulch.

Build and rebuild the soil- The best way to do this is composting and worms. Invite the worms to your soil with good amendments and plenty of “food” (decomposing food scraps and vegetation)

GREEN Manure (cover crop)- Grow in empty spaces- between seasons- during a down year to rest/recharge the soil or to overwinter; after cut back and work into the soil before the plants go to seed. Cut back with mower, clippers or scythe, leave on ground or remove and top the area with compost or leaf mold and prepare for planting. Cut material can be added to compost pile.

As the garden is being developed you will need to add a source of phosphorus. Crops with enough phosphorus show steady strong growth. This means more and vigorous production of crops. Strong mature are less susceptible to drought,disease and frost. Rock Phosphate is also rich in other needed elements such as boron, zinc, nickel and iodine. It is also a slow-releasing long-term food and it is bio-available to the plants and soil.


How to Consume More of the Great Foods

How to Consume More of the Great Foods

There is a daily posting or publication of new diets and superfoods in the press and in the blogosphere.

There are many great things to eat some are super – OR At least HAVE BETTER press AGENTS- But if you shop only at farmers markets and the produce section of the stores you will find a lot of Superfoods. Dark greens, green herbs, starchy power foods ( potatoes, sweets, beans) and juicy fruits.  They can be  prepared in many ways cooked or stewed- raw or salad and put into juice or smoothie.

These can also be grown in the yard, garden, balcony or even in the house. This gives the added benefit of freshness as well as the wonder and pleasure of the work and effort to grow them.

Not going to get into too much detail or recipes now- that will be later.

   – similar to before- but a varied selection of Greats… 

 – More great foods but these with a different reason 



veggies and Fruits- What to eat to LIVE Forever ?

veggies and Fruits- What to eat to LIVE Forever ?

I love all the great pictures and charts that help promote healthy eating and life.

What to eat?

   What to buy?         and especially 


  What to grow in the garden.