Sunday, September 6, 2009

Acid or alkaline

I get quite a few questions regarding why I use coffee grounds on my garden. Coffee grounds add nitrogen, potassium and magnesium to the soil. And they have high acidity which lowers the PH of the soil. Something very good for much of our soil here in Arizona which tends to be alkaline.

Generally I put the grounds directly on my garden in the raw form and rototill or hoe them in. We maintain a fairly regular watering schedule and we have intense heat so they decompose in our garden fairly quickly. I do put them in my compost bins as well.

If you are unsure whether your soil is acid or alkaline and you don't want to get a soil analysis done there is a pretty simple test you can try at home with baking soda and vinegar.

Get two containers. Put some vinegar in one and a mixture of 1 part water to 1 part baking soda in the other.

To do a simple check on various areas of your garden or flowers beds simply walk around and pour some vinegar or baking soda water on the soil. The liquid that makes the soil form tiny bubbles or fizz will tell you what type of soil you have.

If your soil reacts to the baking soda and water it is acidic. If it reacts to the vinegar it is alkaline. If it reacts to neither it is probably PH neutral.

And just because I haven't bored you quite enough...

The pH of soil is measured on a scale of 0-14.
A pH of 7.0 is considered neutral.
The higher pH levels, the lower the acidity and vice versa.
Soil is considered “alkaline” if it has a high pH (greater than 7.5) and “acidic” if it has a low pH (less than 6.5).

I'm gonna simplify it down just a bit more cuz I always get confused by this.

Low acid - high PH - alkaline soil
High acid - low PH - acid soil

I'm not trying to create an acid soil - I am just trying to neutralize our PH levels. Totally confused yet?

And just to relax all that low creating high and high creating low confusion let's talk about coffee grounds for a totally different application. Did you know that they make a wonderful exfoliant scrub for your skin. Just pat on, rub gently and rinse off - voila! Super smooth, baby butt skin.

I also found a tip for using coffee grounds to help get rid of cellulite. I haven't tried this particular idea yet but I plan to. Heaven knows I need to. Let me know if you try it first, though, please.

Mix 1/4 cup warm, used coffee grounds and one tablespoon of olive oil. While standing over an old towel or newspaper, apply the mixture to your problem areas. Next, wrap the areas with shrink wrap and leave on for several minutes. Unwind the wrap, brush loose grounds off your skin and then shower with warm water. For best results, it is recommended to repeat this procedure twice a week.

Hey, consider this your full service coffee ground blog!

Signing off from my PH neutral AZ garden.


  1. Wow, this was incredibly informative. I'm going to give this a shot sometime in the near future. Thanks!

  2. Yes... a thousand and one uses for coffee grounds... the mind boggles with the cellulite treatment! You KNOW that someone will come to the door when you are wrapped in shrink wrap!
    Jenny, have you thought of putting a small tap on your next compost bin? A simple on or off one would do (no holes in the very bottom. It would allow you to collect the liquid run-off for liquid fertilizer.