Raspberries and coffee and raspberry coffee cake

Coffee and old friends go together beautifully.

The recent warm winter weather provided a good opportunity to do my simple and free winter fertilization of the raspberries with coffee, and a favorite raspberry coffee cake recipe.

A few years ago, the area where these raspberries grow was little more than gravel and rubble (literally, piles of bricks and rocks). At this point the rubble was removed, the gravel is still there if you dig, but there is beautifully rich soil on top and the raspberries are thriving.

I try to do a thin layer over the entire area, but I’m obviously not all that careful.

The way we got to where we are today required two free things:
1. Leaves
2. Used coffee grounds (UCG)

Layering these two each year has had a profound effect on the soil and plants.

By this time of year (mid-January), wind blown leaves have been trapped among the canes, so I didn’t even have to work. Some years I do add leaves in the fall, some years I just let the wind do the work for me.

I took advantage of the warm weather to dump a few large bags of UCG from Starbucks into a wheelbarrow and toss them on the snow-covered leaves. I spread a thin layer, trying to cover the whole area. I try to break up most of the cappuccino ‘pucks,’ but I don’t worry about it too much because they’ll fall apart with the winter’s remaining snow and rain.

Raspberries love nitrogen, and UCG have lots of it to offer. By the spring, when the raspberries will actually want the nitrogen, the coffee will have started decomp and provide the nutrients right where they’re needed, in the spring.

Late winter I’ll be cutting the canes down. For a really great video on the why and how, see this great UMaine piece.

For any who may still hold onto the idea that UCG are acidic. I’ve spoken about that before as have others. The short version is that the acid is water soluble, so it went into the coffee, and the grounds are close to neutral. They are, however, still very high in nitrogen.

And the recipe! I won’t give away all the changes, but I basically do this recipe, minus the lemon peel, and swap half and half for the buttermilk. The kid insists on this as his birthday cake rather than any other, and who am I to complain?


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