Coffee Grounds in Compost?

The canteen at my workplace is trying to improve its recycling statistics and so is bagging up the used coffee grounds from the machine and offering this to customers for their garden compost bins. A colleague has said this is not a good idea because the grounds are too acidic. I would appreciate knowing the thoughts of experienced gardeners on this please. I am not particularly wanting to grow acid-loving plants. I have also heard that one should not add citrus peel to the compost bin for the same reason. Does the group agree?
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Coffee grounds grow BIG red worms! :-)
I live on a giant limestone plain. The soil and water are naturally alkaline so adding citrus peels to compost is not an issue.
It's going to depend on where you live.
--
K.

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:-) Red worms? Are those earth worms? I've noticed that putting some coffee grounds around some pepper plants brought some earth worms to the surface. There was this one nice worm squirming around yesterday. I thought it odd to see it on the top of the soil squirming around.
-- Jim Carlock Please post replies to newsgroup.
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Anthony Ward wrote:

no. finished compost is near neutral under all circumstances. if you can get buckets of coffee (or buckets of peels) go for it.
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I usually take home about 4 pounds of grounds from the coffee stations here at work every day. Coffee grounds are considered a "green" for composting where you want a combination of green and brown ingrediants. I forget the ratio, though. But composting is not a precise activity.
I've also heard that grounds are 2% nitrogen.
I put them in my main bin where the kitchen scraps go and in the worm bin with newspapers. Actually I add them to all of my heaps. I have pretty good compost. It's a little weedy and needs to be screened because I put sticks and twigs in it. But I consider coffee grounds to be a vital ingredient. I don't have that much in the way of other green ingredients and I have lots of dried leaves, dried grass and pine needles.
I don't add citrus to my worm bin, but I do to the main bin. Which has quite a lot of worms. I guess they can avoid the citrus on their own. The worms seem to like the coffee grounds. And compost the paper filters, too. You don't have to separate them out.
simy1 wrote:

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On Mon, 6 Jun 2005, Anthony Ward wrote:

Not necessarily. It probably depends on what you are growing. I have nearly 100% clay where I am gardening. I tried (for laughs) mixing 1/3 local clay soil that weeds were previously growing on, 1/3 vermiculite, and 1/3 coffee grinds. I planted tomatillos and tomato seeds into this (about 100 plants), from fresh, dried seeds. This was placed under incandescent 60 Watt light bulbs to give light and temperature around 30 C. Growability was almost 100% percent, and they sprouted and grew at prolific rate. If this is tried in a sealed container, like a portably greenhouse, I got some mold, but even after getting really moldy and removing the cover, the soil just dried up, the mold went away and the plants were in fact growing very happily. Many were planted in May and are now about ready to move to my greenhouse (required since I live in Sweden). Yes, coffee is terrific fopr me since there is so much of it here....
Dominic
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A number of years ago, I too had the opportunity to get coffee grounds and orange pulp for my compost, and I also was told that both were too acid. Well, people just think that, but they're wrong. Coffee grounds are nearly neutral in pH. I don't know about orange pulp, but I can say that it really made good compost. Lots of nitrogen in it. Make sure you turn the compost pile often and it should get very hot. _________________ John Henry Wheeler Washington, DC USDA Zone 7
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Regarding pH of coffee grounds, to my knowledge, coffee can be used as a pH indicator and is only midly acidic. I do not know if the tannins and theobromines, etc are a problem for the plants we are discussing, or for that matter, the molds that can grow on this, which often make toxins. The pH does not itself seem to be a problem for most vegetables. With rotting, the pH could easily end up very different. I have not gotten motivation to measure pH on smelly rotted compost, certainly not with my expensive pH meter. However, there are pH indicator dyes that can cheaply be added to give a good approximation.
Dominic
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Your co-worker is wrong. Used coffee grounds have little acid in them.... and if you compost it, it's going to be neutral. (all acording to UC Davis) You can throw your citrus peels in also among most other foods. It'll break down just like other food items. I always save a few to put down my garbage disposer to give it a fresh smell.

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I use coffe grounds in my compost all the time. I put citrus peels i
there too along with all my kitchen scraps. THe only problem I had wit my compost pile is when I put the leftover ashes from our cookout th day before and it started my compost pile on fire! :) Now I wai several days before putting the ashes in.
Anthony Ward Wrote:

-- Maryc
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