This weekend I planted my potatoes in recycled coffee bags just like I did last year.
What I love about this method is it allows you to grow bonus food by simply finding a few square feet anywhere in the right light conditions, even over concrete. If you aren’t using your driveway to park the car or have unused patio space you can turn it into grow space!
Here are other bonuses:
- Inexpensive compared to raised beds or pots
- Re-use existing materials rather than increase consumer demand for plastics or wood
- All natural materials can be composted at the end of the grow season so nothing to store over winter
- Easier to hill late variety potatoes by simply unrolling the bags sides and adding more dirt
- Excellent drainage during wet and soggy springs keeps your potatoes healthier
- At harvest time simply dump the whole thing into a wheel barrel and sort for potatoes, no more cutting into them with the spade or stabbing with a garden fork
- Growing in bags around the base of young fruit trees allows you to use that space without disturbing the tree’s root zone and the tree roots will benefit from the mulch effect and any draining water from the burlap bags (sort of a slow release watering.)
Where can you get some coffee bags? You can check with your local coffee roaster but if you live in Seattle you’re in luck. You can get them from Upcycle NW. And while you are there you can pick up free coffee chaff to use either as organic matter and browns to your compost pile, as a top layer for your worm compost bin to keep fruit flies at bay, or as chicken bedding (which then gets added to your compost pile as the brown organic matter layer.)
They also have roasted coffee grounds to add nitrogen to your compost pile or soil mixes and roasted and unroasted beans to use decoratively in the garden or as a top mulch layer that will slowly release nitrogen into the garden. And if you are container gardening adding a few inches of beans at the bottom of the container will help improve drainage.
Can you tell I’m a huge fan?
As an added bonus if you reply in the comments that you want any organic coffee bags to use as containers I can have them at my open garden on April 17 for you to purchase.
The no cut are $3 each (have not been sliced open) and the top cut bags are $2.25 each. I’ve used both as planters and either work fine.
So if you weren’t planning to grow potatoes (or squash) because they take up too much valuable garden space go outside and look around for any possible spot to put a coffee bag and then reply below or email UpcycleNW for their hours so you can pick some up.
Now go grow some food already!