plants. gardens. friends.

digthedirt is about gardening, outdoor living and loving our planet!

learn more »

Composting 101

by gardengirl

Groung to Ground

An introduction to composting and using coffee grounds

In keeping with the greening of Austin, TX and its goal of zero waste by 2040, composting is a great way to reduce our landfill waste and improve our soil fertility.  The simplest way to start is with a ready to assemble bin or tumbler. Materials can be added until the bin is full and then it’s left alone. In this scenario, it can take 3 weeks to several months until the compost is ready to add to the garden and the cycle begins again.  If you want to compost more, consider getting another bin or tumbler where one is being actively filled, while the other is at work composting. ]

Now, what goes in the compost pile? A good adage to remember is “If it grows, it goes.” Grass clippings, leaves, dead plants, food scraps, coffee grounds and even hair and lint are all ‘green’ and great to add. Do not put in meat, grease, or dairy products in the compost pile – they smell bad as they decompose and attract critters. Generally add 2 parts of green (fresh things) to 1 part brown (leaves, straw, hay, wood chips, paper). Turn the compost pile every 7-10 days to get the most aerobic activity – the pile needs oxygen to work. Finished compost is dark colored and smells earthy, in a good way.  Don’t use compost that isn’t fully decomposed on seeds or seed beds, the fragile roots of the young plants can be harmed by microbes. 

The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf locations Austin, TX give away coffee grounds through the Ground to Ground program. Grounds may be used directly on plants or may be composted.  Containers are available at the store. If you take one, please return it empty! Go get some today!