Coffee grounds in the garden? Does adding used grounds from your morning coffee to your garden soil help or hurt?
Have you noticed down at your favorite coffee house, bags of used coffee (Starbucks has them)? Have you heard of composting with coffee grounds? How about using them as fertilizer… is it a good idea?
Don’t even think of throwing away those used grounds of java! They are just as valuable as the coffee you made from them. Below are 7 ways to use coffee grounds in the garden.
#1 – Coffee Grounds As Ground Mulch
Coffee grounds make an excellent ground mulch, especially for acid-loving plants like blueberry bushes, huckleberry, holly bushes, azaleas, rhododendrons, juneberry, gardenias, camellias, trillium, and begonias.
It’s a bit ironic but the dark brown remains of your morning coffee will turn your hydrangea flowers bright blue!
Evergreen trees are also fond of acidic soils, as are dogwood trees, magnolia trees, willow oaks, and beech trees.
Garden vegetables that prefer slightly acidic soils include peppers (all types), radishes, sweet potatoes, eggplant, tomatoes, parsly, rhubarb, and potatoes (even though the soils in Idaho are predominantly alkaline).
When you mulch with coffee, spread a layer about one-half inch thick or your grounds will mold too readily and they could make your soil too acidic.
#2 – Add Coffee Grounds To Your Compost Pile
Adding old grounds in garden soil is a good way to build the soil. Coffee contains about 1.5 percent nitrogen by weight.
However, it is also important to keep in mind the acidity of coffee grounds. Balance this out with yard scraps, kitchen scraps, and a good source of calcium carbonate like wood ashes or lime to balance out the pH and also add more phosphorous.
Keep in mind that the fungus growing on coffee tends to use up a lot of nitrogen. Again, it’s a good idea to have a good mixture of materials in your compost.
The video below looks at HOW much coffee you can use in the Garden
#3 – Create a Ring Of Protection
Slugs attacking your strawberries? Snails munching on your lettuce? Are ants eating your tomato plants?
Protect plants like a moat protects a castle. Place a protective ring of used coffee grounds around these vulnerable plants. Or try diatomaceous earth for the pests.
These common garden pests dislike the smell, acidity, or texture of coffee grounds and are repelled by them. Best of all, using this simple all natural solution can help you avoid using any toxic pesticides around your food!
#4 – Free, Effective, and Easy To Make Liquid Fertilizer
Coffee beans are full of nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, copper, and magnesium. The used grounds still contain a high concentration of these nutrients.
It is very easy to use coffee grounds as fertilizer by making an effective liquid food. Put about one-half pound of used grounds in a five gallon bucket, fill with water, and stir.
Let this sit a few days to allow the nutrients from the coffee to seep into the water. The resulting liquid is your liquid fertilizer. This is an excellent alternative to store bought chemical fertilizers which contain harmful chemicals like petrochemicals, arsenic, and cadmium.
Of course, unlike the store bought liquid fertilizers, your homemade liquid fertilizer is free!
Related Reading: Drinking Black Coffee And It’s Health Benefits
#5 – Using Coffee Grounds In The Garden To Stain Your Garden Benches
After creating a beautiful edible organic garden, the last thing you need is a varnished or painted garden bench, leaching toxic chemicals into your soil every time it rains or you water your garden!
An easy solution is to use natural coffee grounds to stain your garden benches. Use coffee grounds give a beautiful sepia color that will not contaminate your garden.
#6 – Grow Your Own Oyster Mushrooms
Used coffee grounds make an excellent substrate for these gourmet delectables!
Oyster mushrooms are the easiest mushrooms to grow. However, most people grow them on pasteurized straw.
However, if you use coffee grounds to grow your oyster mushrooms, when you brew your coffee, you automatically pasteurize your mushroom substrate!
All you need is a container to dump your coffee grounds in and some mushroom spawn to get you started.
#7 – Shoo Away the Neighbor Cats
Humans and cats don’t always think alike. While we relish the smell of fresh ground coffee beans and fresh brewed coffee, cats are repelled by the same coffee aroma!
Thus, if you have some neighborhood kitties (or your own cats) digging up your garden, try spreading some coffee grounds around the edge of your garden!
If you don’t drink coffee at home, or don’t drink enough of it to supply your garden, many coffee shops like Starbucks give their grounds away for free!
You could also ask any coffeeshop or restaurant you patronize to save their coffee grounds for you and they’d likely oblige you. You can thank them later by bringing them some beautiful fresh flowers or garden fresh vegetables.