It seems as if every one of our neighbors and relatives received one of those Keurig individual coffee makers. If you are not familiar with them they are pretty neat, especially if you want to enjoy a quick, fresh cup of coffee.
They give you the flexibility of making an individual cup of coffee in a wide range of flavors (over 200 the last time I checked their website) without having to make a whole pot, measuring the grounds and so on.
With the convenience of making your own cup of specialized coffee though comes the added waste of the cup itself. They are made out of a thin plastic, that can be recycled if you live in a part of the world that accepts <1> or <2> grade plastics, but us vegetable gardeners can put them to better use and better yet they can serve us two fold as I will show you in a moment.
First let us diagnose the evidence in question, in this case the cup. There are a number of cup manufacturers, however the cup is made from the same material and are all the same size. The top will be either foil or a thick paper. The top is strong enough to keep the contents of the cup in (i.e. the grounds), but pliable enough so the machine can puncture a hole into it.
Inside the cup, the contents if you will, are coffee grinds and a filter. The machine punctures a hole into the top and one in the bottom of the cup. Water is then sent through the top hole where it is mixed with the grounds of the cup and eventually comes out of the bottom hole and into your waiting coffee cup.
Now that you have the basics of how it operates, how can it actually help vegetable gardeners? Well very simply, let’s start with the obvious and that is the coffee grinds and filter sitting inside the cup. Both make for a great addition to any compost pile. To get the grinds and filter out, first remove the top foil or paper covering on the cup. Then dump the coffee grinds into a separate bowl (or whatever you use to collect your kitchen waste).
The next step is to remove the filter. It is attached fairly well to the cup so I used a knife and simply cut it and then put the filter into the same bowl with the grinds. We have the grinds and filter ready to go into our compost pile but we still have the cup. Do not throw that cup away!
You now have in your hands the makings of a great seed starter. And although the cup is small, it works perfect for starting such things indoors as celery or oregano and thyme, the small seeded variety vegetable and herb plants.
What makes the cup a perfect fit as a seed starter is your coffee machine has done a portion of the work for you already; it punctured the drainage hole on the bottom, so all the cup needs now is some soil and seeds!
There you have it. Using your Keurig coffee make as a means to add to the compost pile and create seed starters all while you get to enjoy a nice cup of hot joe!
About the Author
Mike Podlesny is a contributing writer for Mike the Gardener Enterprises, LLC, who operates the largest Vegetable Gardening page on Facebook and the widely popular Seeds of the Month Club.