Guest Author - Charity Armstrong
Roses enjoy loose nutrient rich soil, but many rose gardeners simply donít have the space or ability to make their own compost. Frequent purchases of mushroom compost and other types of composted material can quickly become expensive. An excellent solution is the free used coffee grounds offered by many coffee establishments.
If youíve recently gone into a Starbucks they often have a large metal can on the floor with cleanly wrapped packages of used coffee grounds inside. You can also get free coffee grounds from locally run coffee shops as well as gas stations. If you donít see free used coffee grounds offered anywhere in your area, try asking coffee serving businesses if theyíd be able to save their grounds for you.
Coffee grounds are mildly acidic and provide a small amount of nitrogen. Used coffee grounds should be considered an amendment for your rose bed rather than a fertilizer; they help create a looser well drained soil. Worms also benefit from the addition of used coffee grounds which in turn creates a healthier aerated rose bed. Coffee grounds can be used in moderation on all plants, but are especially preferred by acid loving plants such as roses.
Itís always best to go slowly and use caution when trying something new in your garden. If you coat the bed too heavily with used coffee grounds they can negatively affect your plants. High amounts of used coffee grounds will create a dry impacted layer on top of your rose bed that prevents water from entering the soil. Depending on the size of your roses, one or two cups of used coffee grounds per plant is plenty. Once you see how your roses respond you can add more grounds in the future. Sprinkle the used coffee grounds around the base of the plant, taking care not to place the grounds on the actual rose plant or bud union of the rose. You can lightly work the grounds into the soil if you choose. If you have your roses in a large bed the used coffee grounds can be applied throughout the bed in reasonable amounts. Once youíve finished this easy step you should then give your roses a thorough watering.
Iím not entirely sure how used coffee grounds might affect a curious pet. I would recommend either working the grounds into the soil or if youíre leaving the grounds on top of the soil, keeping your pet away from the treated area until the grounds have disappeared into the soil. Many household pets, including dogs can be poisoned by caffeine since their bodies canít process it like humans. Where the family pet is concerned itís best to air on the side of caution.
If you create your own compost, used coffee grounds can be used as a green in your compost mixture. Just mix the grounds into your compost pile as you normally would in place of grass, kitchen scraps or other green items. Used coffee grounds will help to create a loamy, nutrient rich, compost your roses will love.
Used coffee grounds shouldnít be the only amendment applied to your rose bed, but they are an excellent start in the ongoing quest for better garden soil. Used coffee grounds are a free resource that is quickly becoming available in all areas. Check out your local coffee shop and give used coffee grounds a try in your rose bed today.