Using coffee grounds in the garden is the best way to use what you would likely just throw in the garbage. Before you plant, learn the best ways you can put those old coffee grounds to good use.
Vegetables like the benefits coffee grounds in the garden provide. Whether you are prepping your garden bed before you plant or nearing your harvest, you can put those old coffee grounds to good use.
Lessons from Our Ancestors
One of the things I love about the pioneer lifestyle is that they didn’t let things go to waste. They reused old clothes as patches for other items and were frugal with their property out of necessity.
Even though we love our modern conveniences, I believe there are several things our great-grandparents did better than us.
One thing most of us have in our homes is coffee grounds! If you're like me, you enjoy a good cup of coffee on a daily basis.
Don’t toss those old grounds when you’re done with them. In true pioneer fashion, let’s put them to good use.
Help Your Plants Thrive with Coffee Grounds
There are varied opinions on whether or not coffee grounds should be used in the garden. The health and pH level of the soil you already have indicates whether or not it will be super beneficial.
Some coffee grounds are acidic and might harm plants. Learn how to get your soil tested, and do the necessary research to help you reach a decision.
As a rule, coffee grounds will add nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus to the soil. As with adding any organic matter, there are certain methods to follow before you use it in the garden.
I Don’t Drink Coffee – Where Do I Find Grounds?
Even if you don’t drink coffee, you can still get your hands on some grounds!
If your coffee-drinking friends use theirs for their own garden, check with your local coffee shops.
Many smaller coffee shops will toss their grounds into a 5-gallon bucket and save them for you (even better if you provide the bucket!). Starbucks saves their used coffee grounds and has them available on a first come first serve basis.
Can I Use Fresh Coffee Grounds in the Garden?
There is some evidence that fresh coffee grounds deter pests such as slugs and snails.
However fresh coffee grounds are not recommended because of the caffeine content which can be harmful to plants. It's best to use coffee grounds that have already been brewed. The caffeine will have been leached out of the ground beans and into your coffee!
Here are other natural ways to deter pests from the garden.
Using Coffee Grounds in the Garden
Coffee grounds are extremely versatile and can be incorporated into many gardening tasks. Here are my favorite ways I have used coffee grounds in the garden.
Coffee grounds as fertilizer provide nitrogen to the soil as well as some resistance to common fungal rot and even blossom end rot. This is a great additive for the soil around plants like tomatoes as they are susceptible to blossom end rot.
The level of acid left in used coffee grounds will vary. Sprinkle used coffee grounds around plants that love acid such as:
Pro-tip: Spread it out in a thin layer around the acid-loving plants or rake it lightly into the soil. Coffee grounds tend to clump together which can create a water barrier.
In addition to coffee grounds, there are many ways to use organic material to improve your garden soil. Check out the six natural garden fertilizers that I work into my routine.
One of the easiest, yet best ways to get the benefits of coffee grounds in the garden is to put coffee grounds in your compost bin. You can even throw in the paper coffee filters!
Coffee grounds are considered a green compost material, so make sure to add brown compost material such as dried leaves along with it. Keep coffee grounds to 20% of your volume for best results.
Read about 7 ways to start your compost pile if you have been overwhelmed with information and don’t know where to start.
Coffee grounds are high in nitrogen and add minerals to the soil. By working small amounts into the top of your mulch, you can slowly add these nutrients to the soil over time.
Pro Tip – Large amounts of coffee grounds can keep oxygen and water from getting to the plants. A thin layer mixed with other materials such as wood chips is a great way to control the amount.
Check out the results of my experimentation using wood chips as mulch in my garden here.
When planting new plants, add coffee grounds into the soil to give the plants an easy, quick boost. A small amount is all you need because the roots are tender and will absorb easily.
Pro-tip: Use organic coffee when putting it in the soil around your edible plants and berries. You reap the benefits twice!
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