Since it's National Coffee we should talk about coffee in the garden.
Anyways, a smart way that’s not a trend but a tried and true reality is mixing coffee grounds into a compost pile or your garden directly to give it a burst of energy!
Did you know that if you ask the manager if you can have some grounds, they’ll often give you a bagful? I often try to call the night before or in the morning and nicely ask if they can put some grounds to the side for me. I have never been told no yet. Let them know you’re going to use it in the garden and you might get a giant garbage bagful.
Now actual composting is an entirely different subject that I’m sure we’ll get into someday. If your child is wondering more about it, the best way to explain it is “a compost pile is things recycled from your garden and kitchen to help make nutrient-rich additives for your garden soil.” The nutrient-rich additives are like homemade vitamins or fertilizer.
When compost is ready to add to your garden it’s usually dark and crumbly and looks like really good soil. The coffee grounds are high in nitrogen and that’s something that plants really love! Turns out the grounds also provide tons of phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, and copper.
If you aren’t composting and don’t need a giant bagful of it, you can also add coffee grounds right into the soil. Pour it on top and then scratch a couple inches of into your soil. You can even just sprinkle it right now top and leave it there.
Give plants a coffee shot today!
Here is my list of the twelve quick growing veggies that I recommend for an easy and fast harvest.
1. SPINACH: The tasty dark leaves definitely help our muscles build. They are good in salad, sandwiches and even heated up with mushrooms. You can harvest spinach leaves at their baby stage in as little as 30 days. Tear off a leaf and more grow!
2. KALE: Different varieties have different growing periods. Be sure to read the label and find the ones that can be harvested in 30 days. Add kale to a smoothie or salad. One of our favorite variety’s is the Blue Curled Kale!
3. BOK CHOY: We love growing bok choy, although I think it’s because we love chanting it more than growing it. It grows super-fast and is ready to throw into salads or stir fry's in 30 days no problem!
4. Arugula: This leaf lettuce is a bit on the spicier side. It grows to full size in 30 days. Just be sure to cut the outer leaves first. Use a ruler to measure the 2 inch leaves and cut those.
5. Romaine: These leaves are hearty and grow tall fast. At 30 days, pick the leaf and wrap it around your favorite sandwich meat or just wrap it into a horn and play a tune. (Huh? I know it’s silly but it’s fun and a great way to learn more about sound waves! It tickles your lips!)
6. Watercress: This is easy to plant. Just toss seeds onto the soil and watch it sprout. Don’t overwater and don’t cover with soil. It grows as fast as weeds, and kind of looks like them too. Freshly picked, it adds a bit of crunch to your snack.
7. Batavia: There are several varieties so look for the ones with the quick harvest time. This is also a lettuce that likes warmer weather but since we’re in Southern CA we can get away with it because we still have some hot days speckled in.
8. Butter Lettuce: This crisp-head lettuce leaves form a small ball as it grows, although it’s much less compact than iceburg lettuce. Butter lettuce has a texture that simply “melts in your mouth like butter,” said one of my 4th grade students recently.
9. Radish: Always a favorite for any family garden because it sprouts up fast all year long. In the summer it tends to be more peppery in flavor than winter. Try it and keep a log about the taste to compare the two seasons.
10. Green Onions: They look like green pencils standing tall at about 30 days. You can start pulling them out any time. The flavor gets bolder the longer you keep it in the soil.
11. Mustard Greens: I honestly do not like the peppery taste of this foliage and find it quite funny to have the kids taste it. It’s great to have just so kids can start to develop the sense of different tastes. Who knows…maybe your kids will like it mixed in with the sweeter lettuce. It definitely sprouts fast and is fun to watch.
12. Turnips: Did you know you can grow turnips for both the roots and greens? In 30 days the root is not developed but he baby leaves are ready to harvest and eat. They taste a bit like spinach. Just cut the outside leaves and leave the center ones attached to the root. 30 days later you can pick the entire plant!
For an instant blast of fall color in your garden, plant a chrysanthemum or “mum.” They come in a wide range of Fall colors like gold, yellow and maroon. They are a fall favorite because they liven up after most flowers in the garden have finished blooming and sizzled out!
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.