Garden soil experiment, adding used coffee ground complete with cinnamon & turmeric

shllnzl
shllnzl Posts: 1,820 ✭✭✭✭✭

There is a small plot of soil in my backyard that is currently growing weeds. I had originally buried compostable materials there until my husband complained about seeing the "garbage" I had thrown in the yard.

The soil here is sandy with little nutrients and very alkaline. My current experiment is to sprinkle the dried coffee grounds, and sometimes dried used tea leaves on top of the soil/weeds.

My first thought was that I would acidify the soil and get rid of the alkaline loving weeds that way. THEN, my thoughts went further: the cinnamon would work to kill fungus and repel some insects.

I wonder, though, what the turmeric would do to the soil and/or wildlife. Heaven forbid that I actually have an earthworm in the area that I drive away! (I haven't seen earthworms here, although I saved from drowning an 8 inch snake that looked like an earthworm. Although I didn't know for sure what it was, I picked it up with my bare hands and put it under dirt in my yard.)

Does anyone have thoughts on the matter?

Comments

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,980 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Coffee grounds are excellent compost. They decay fairly quickly, look like dirt even before decay, and do a good job of adding organic matter.

    As far as the complaint about seeing garbage in the yard, the usual way to handle this is to put down a moderately thick layer of organic "garbage", then add a thin layer of soil, finished compost, or mulch (leaves, wood chips) on top so that the "garbage" is not visible. You should give that a try.

  • shllnzl
    shllnzl Posts: 1,820 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @VermontCathy I tried burying the compost materials but when I went to stir or turn over the soil for better composting, little bits of things would show up. Leaving sterile bits of eggshell out for the birds annoyed him too. That being said, my husband is pretty tolerant of my plants, natural landscaping and pets.

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,980 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Okay, if even little bits of eggshell annoy him, he's fussier than I expected. :-) I thought he just didn't want to see paper and rotting food.

    But if uncomposted items are showing up when you turn over the soil, you have two options. Either don't turn it over and accept that composting will be slower, or put a thicker layer of soil on top of the compost so that it doesn't appear when turned.

  • freedomform
    freedomform Posts: 7 ✭✭✭

    Hello shllnzl. There are a lot of things you could do to simply make it look better, but it really depends on if you have any purpose or goal for the area... If you want to keep using it as a compost area, then you will be limited on growing anything there, unless you just did a few plants and kept the compost going in around the edges of them. Regarding the turmeric, if you are meaning scraps to compost, my experience has been it composts pretty quickly however not sure about any effects on the acidity. If you are meaning to plant turmeric, that may be nice if it can grow in your area as its a beautiful plant. Considering the ground should never be left with the soil exposed to the sun and/or rain because that kills the soil, you need to keep it covered with either mulch to feed the soil and encourage growth of the microorganisms, or plants that will grow there. Also if the area is exposed to the sun most of the day, you may consider some fast growing plants that will give some partial shade to protect the area and developing smaller plants. One idea may be Mexican sunflower which is a fast growing nitrogen fixer that can survive in pretty harsh soil, and is easily propagated by cuttings. Many people use this plant as a chop and drop to feed their other garden areas as the plant has no problems growing back after a hard pruning.

    Kent

  • shllnzl
    shllnzl Posts: 1,820 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @freedomform Thanks for the suggestions. I am hoping to grow food crops in the area someday, just working on improving it right now. The area is partly shady, a concept that has to be adjusted because I live in a desert area, zone 8.

    The Mexican sunflowers might be worth the experiment, even though they want full sun. I will look for seeds and see what happens.

  • freedomform
    freedomform Posts: 7 ✭✭✭

    Hello @shllnzl heads up on the Mexican sunflower, you want to be sure its the perennial "hardy" kind to work well. I have read those are NOT propagated via seeds, but only by stem cuttings. The annual type aren't the same plant (basically just like a normal flower) and are available by seeds yet many times called by the same name. Just a heads up... :)

  • vickeym
    vickeym Posts: 2,102 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited January 2022

    shllnzl A keyhole garden might be just what you need.

    https://www.familyfoodgarden.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Keyhole-garden-bed.jpg

    There are many different looks and styles. Just search for Keyhole garden and many different ones will come up.

  • Tave
    Tave Posts: 952 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Eggshells aren't the most attractive thing in the garden, and they compost painfully slow. I dry them, and when I have enough to fill the blender halfway, I grind them into white calcium-rich dirt.😉

  • shllnzl
    shllnzl Posts: 1,820 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @vickeym The keyhole garden seems like my style. Thanks for letting me know about it.

    Looks like my garden style is eclectic just like my decorating style: I keep my favorite old stuff and add interesting pieces as I go along.

    @freedomform Thanks for the plant clarification -- I prefer perennials wherever I can get them.

    @Tave I agree eggshells don't look good to a non gardener, but I think I will keep the big pieces anyway as they work well to deter snails and are also visible to birds that may need calcium.

    (I'm still amazed that I have a snail problem in the desert. Soon after we moved to this house, a windstorm deposited about 100 of them on my patio. I show no mercy when I find them.)

  • Tave
    Tave Posts: 952 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I finally had a chance to look at the keyhole garden. I knew about it, but I immediately forgot about it since I live in an apartment. I wonder if my landlord would be interested because we have such compacted clay soil.

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,980 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Tave I used to try to compost eggs, but eventually gave up and now just toss them in the trash. I only keep a few for tomato beds to help against blossom rot.

    Anything that helps get organic material into clay soil would help with the hard,compacted ground. It can't hurt to ask him.