Monday, April 4, 2011

Garden Tip: Start Saving!

Here in Northeast Ohio, it is still a bit too cold to start our gardens. I am envious of those of you who live further south and have nice weather right about now and are starting your gardens. I wouldnt give up the four seasons we see for the world (though I wasnt saying this when it was snowing on April 1st!)

Now is the perfect time to start saving up your coffee grounds and egg shells. 

I have a glass jar full of coffee grounds and a cannister of egg shells that I've been saving up to help make our garden soil nice and rich.  The egg shells should dry out  before you put them into any sort of closed container.  I do this by either leaving them on the counter overnight or popping them in the microwave for a few seconds.  I then put them into a jar.  When the jar is overflowing, I push them down with the end of a wood spoon and crush it up. 

Egg shells and coffe grounds (with eggshells in it)

Used coffee grounds contain nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium and sulfur.  The egg shells contain calcium and help to keep the slugs away!  I read that egg shells are great for tomato plants to keep them healthy and abundant. 

If you have acidic soil, you can use ashes from the fireplace.  I know I just added some to our red raspberry bushes and to the area where I will be planting strawberries this year in the garden.

This year, I will be starting a compost pile with manure*, kitchen scraps, soiled chicken bedding (paper), coffee grounds, egg shells, leaves and fireplace ashes.  Before Squiggy passed away, we never had kitchen scraps: he ate them all!  

When you compost, there is no need to buy expensive additives for your soil.  Let your scraps do the work for you!

*Manure should not be spread around plants because it can burn them!  You should let the manure "mature" in a compost pile for a year before spreading it in the garden or flower beds. We will be getting a small load of manure from a local farmer to help with next year's nutrient-rich soil!

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