Mulching Garden Beds for Winter Organic Easy and Cheap using Comfrey Used Coffee Grounds and Paper

As your crops come out its time to think of how to continue to improve your soil. If you don’t have the average 6-8 weeks for green manure or cover crops to effectively work it may be worth thinking about mulching now while there is still warm weather and biological activity. This will set you up for a healthy and productive garden next spring.

We are starting with used coffee grounds that are available in most communities. spreading a 1.5-2.5cm layer 1/2 to 1 inch. over all of the open soil. Mixing in there a small amount of garden soil to help keep the coffee grounds from creating a hard surface.

North Carolina State University finding that the npk of used coffee grounds is 2.1 0.3 0.3. the nitrogen is not immediately available however the Phosphorus and Potassium is. Worms enjoy coffee grounds and will be drawn to the area. The pH of used coffee grounds is typically in the range of 6.5 which is well with in the optimal pH for most plant growth. Generally speaking when you brew the coffee any acidity is transferred to the coffee.

On top of that a Comfrey is added. Comfrey is a perennial with a deep tap root that mines minerals from the parent material. University of Victoria researchers found that dry comfrey has an NPK of 1.8 0.5 5.3 and has a number of other elements essential to plant life.

On top of that a mulch layer of recycled paper that the coffee grounds came in. The mulch will help keep the moisture, prevent erosion and provide both food and protection for our native earth worms by providing insulation from the cold winter temperatures prior to the snow.

To top things off our traditional mulch using either grass or dried leafs adds benefit. Both add more trace minerals organic material .

It is important to keep the soil moist although the area may not be producing at that time. Keeping the soil moist is important to keep the soil food web moving prior to freeze up. as the temperature drops you won’t need to water as often.

As fall continues to come we will add dried and crumpled leafs on top along with some of the free resources we have already added.

it is important not to mix the components too much as this may cause a hot compost which can damage your plants. leaving the layers thin and unmixed help keep the process cold while still entering the nutrient cycle.

over time all of this material will break down and provide the soil food web with the resources it needs to be healthy and as a result your garden plants will be protected and benefit for years to come.

If you have 6-8 weeks before your first frost of live in a zone that does not freeze completely check out this video on Green Manure

About Stephen

The Alberta Urban Garden Channel hopes to promote organic gardening that is simple, sustainable and does not have to cost a lot. We do this by investigating the Science behind gardening, methods, practices and products to make sure that you will have the best chance of successfully growing your own food at home.