Throwing used yerba mate directly into the garden is very common practice, and many believe it serves as a natural fertilizer. In this article, we explain why this is not recommended and what to do instead.
Yerba right out of the cup is compostable, but it is not the same thing as compost. It cannot be used as fertilizer until it undergoes decomposition. Only, once it’s broken down or composted, can it be used successfully in the garden.
There are two types of organic waste:
- those that have a high level of nitrogen such as yerba, coffee or tea, fruits, and vegetables.
- those that have a high level of coal: pieces of wood, branches, dry leaves, paper, cardboard, newspaper.
The decomposing matter of yerba releases a large amount of nitrogen. Too much nitrogen will harm your plants. Throwing a layer of yerba directly on your plants won’t only poison them with nitrogen, it will also create a barrier that prevents moisture from reaching the roots.
If you want to use yerba in your garden, create a compost bin with a mix of both nitrogen-rich, and coal-rich organic waste. Do not add any of these things to your compost bin:
- Yolk and egg whites (shells are ok)
- Animal droppings
- Moldy vegetables
- paper with printed colors
If there’s a rotten smell, it means there’s too much moisture: mix with dry matter and stir. It should take approximately three to five months for the compost to be ready. The yerba will start to become darker with each passing day. Only then can you use the yerba to enrich your garden.