My garden smells of coffee

My garden smells of coffee. The smell of morning lattes greets me as I open the compost bin, or as I cultivate the ground in preparation for planting.

So far I have spread about 40 kg over the ground, and its a free waste product of the local cafes. Essentially its compost ready to go, and it doesn't cost $6 per 40 litre bag! And if its not collected, it goes to land fill.

Coffee grinds are high in carbon, 1.4% nitrogen, and apparently a cat and snail repellent too. It seems most cafes produce 5-10 kg of waste grinds a day, and are more than happy to have it collected than have it fill their skip bins. So get out there, save money, reduce waste to land fill, and improve your garden soil (all in one mutually compatible go!). At this time of year I am spreading it over the surface in a layer 1-3 cm deep, weeds and all, and then lightly hoeing it in.

We do compost as well, but our three bins cant keep up with the need. The ideal scenario, if you have it, is to make the surface 5 cm a 50:50 mix of soil and compost with each new crop. This way the soil has great water retention over the summer (reducing summer watering costs) and provides ample nutrients for greedy feeders such as courgettes, pumpkin, and leafy vegetables such as lettuce. The only crops I wouldnt generously compost prior to sowing are carrots.

Sowing indoors now for planting early October:
Tomato (Tommy Toe, yellow cherry, black cherry, garden peach, Oregon Spring)
Capsicum (Dulce Espana)
Beetroot (Detroit Dark Red) - will be great eating by Christmas
Basil (Gourmet Blend of purple, lemon, thai, sweet genovese)
Eggplant (Green Splash F1) - for our summer Thai curries
Onion (Red Bunching).
Courgette Costata Romanesco
Courgette Gold Rush
Cucumber F1 Diva
Climbing beans (Dalmation, Purple King, Scarlet Runner)

I put mine on top of the tropical fishtank. If you dont have a heat source enclose each pot in a clear plastic bag and put it on a sunny windowsill. Start the beans, courgette, and cucumber in cardboard toliet roll tubes and then when you plant put them in with the 'pot' - they dont like root disturbance.

And now for the cost-benefit analysis for August:

Cost this month:
Seeds $21. 7 packets at $3 per packet. The remainder of seed sown this month collected from last summers garden (free).

Time: 2 hours (weeding, spreading coffee grinds, pruning espalier fruit trees, sowing seeds). I probably could have done this faster, but Annabelle LOVES sowing seeds, and this certainly doesnt speed the process. However I rather like it that my daughter that keeps asking "sow seeds Daddy?"

Harvest and value:
 Mesclun 3 salads @$3.68 each
Bok choy 2 bunches @$2.99 each
Herbs: parsley 2 bunches, rosemary 1 bunch, basil 1 bunch, sage 2 bunches @$3.25 each
Total for August $36.52

Cost versus benefit for year to date:
+$15.52

Herbs are only accounted for as multiple packets if they are 'bought' more than a week apart, otherwise one packet is used for multiple meals. I will find a more digestible way to show this data for the next post!

Happy Sowing

Tim