Of worms and grind

coffee ground, grind, composting

What do you do with your used coffee grounds?

What do you do with your finished coffee grounds? Feed them straight to the plants? Donate them to Biobean to be transformed into fuel? Or perhaps turn them into compost with a worm bin? Ground to Ground is a website dedicated to sharing information about what can be done with old grounds. My preferred option though is the worm bin. Each Chemex of coffee grounds gets put out into the “can-o-worms” compost bin ready to be transformed into compost and plant fertiliser.

I had thought that there could be very little connection between my worms (so to speak) and the Bean Thinking website. However, I recently came across an anecdote about Charles Darwin that, to me at least, unites some of what Bean Thinking is about with my can-o-worms.

can-o-worms, worms, coffee grounds, composting

The top layer of my worm bin. You can just see some coffee grounds but it is mostly cabbage.

Darwin’s last book was “The formation of vegetable mould through the action of worms” published in 1881. After Darwin’s death (in 1882), Edward Aveling (1849-1898) wrote about meeting Darwin years earlier. In “Charles Darwin and Karl Marx: A Comparison” (1897), Aveling wrote: “I remember, in my youthful ignorance, asking Darwin why he dealt with animals so insignificant as worms. I shall not forget his reply, or the look that accompanied it. ‘I have been studying their habits for forty years’.”

By studying what to others looks insignificant, Darwin had made huge progress in our understanding of worm behaviour. This has led to our current knowledge about the contribution of worms to the ecosystem and the benefits of composting our coffee grounds, both for our plants and our planet. It strikes me that we can all benefit from slowing down and noticing what seems insignificant.

Perhaps you do something unusual with your old coffee grounds? Maybe you have noticed something about coffee grounds and worm behaviour. Whatever it is, do let me know in the comments section below.

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