Coffee is a part of the routine in many people’s lives. You drink your daily coffee and then you likely just throw the used coffee grounds out in the trash. But maybe instead of wasting it, what if you compost coffee grounds? Are coffee grounds good for gardens?
Coffee grounds are a great source of organic matter. A lot of coffee shops already give their coffee grounds away to gardeners for example. So if you make a pot of coffee every day, you already have your own source, so don’t throw them away because they can actually be amazing for your plants. If you are interested in learning about the uses for coffee grounds in your garden, read on.
Coffee Grounds in Soil or Compost
Your coffee grounds can be added to your compost bin. Compost materials are usually divided into two categories, green and brown. The coffee grounds fall into the green materials category, which means that it is a material that is nitrogen-rich. Coffee grounds also have calcium, magnesium, potassium, and some other minerals. All you have to do is add to your compost pile the used coffee grounds, if you use coffee filters they can also be composted. When you add the used paper coffee filter and the coffee grounds, you are providing green material to the compost, which means you will have to add some brown material in there to balance it out, brown materials can be newspapers and dry leaves for example. You are aiming to have four parts of brown material for one part of green material. When there is too much green material in a compost pile it usually starts to smell, if there is not enough however the compost pile will not heat up.
Are Coffee Grounds Good for Plants?
Yes, you can actually use coffee grounds as fertilizer for your plants. For this use, you can add the coffee grounds directly to your garden’s soil. You can mix it a bit with the top centimeters of the soil, or you can just sprinkle them on top of the soil and leave it be. The pH of coffee grounds that have already been used is almost neutral, so if you thought about the acidity, that won’t be an issue. But it is important that you don’t overdo it with the amount of coffee ground and let a pile of it build up because the small particles can become compacted and end up creating a barrier resistant to water which won’t be good.
Another option is to take the coffee grounds and make a kind of tea out of them. You should then allow this tea to steep overnight or for a few hours. This resulting liquid can be used as a liquid fertilizer for plants in pots and in your garden. It is also a great food for foliage and stems so it can be sprayed directly on them.
The soil benefits a lot from the use of coffee grounds as fertilizer, it gets more organic material which results in better drainage, and aeration. It will also attract earthworms and allow the microorganisms that are beneficial to plants to thrive.
Feeding Your Worms
Adding coffee grounds to soil definitely makes the worms happy, they love coffee grounds. Just avoid adding too much at once because in high quantity the acidity may rise which can bother the worms. One cup of coffee ground each week for a small size worm bin is enough. So adding the coffee grounds in your worm bin is one way to make the worms happy, but also, coffee grounds in the garden are attractive to the earthworms when are added as a fertilizer to the soil.
Some Other Uses for Coffee Grounds Are:
- Mulch. They can be used as mulch for plants.
- Pests. They can be used to keep pests away from your plants. For example, a barrier can be created out of coffee grounds to avoid slugs and snails. Coffee grounds have an abrasive quality, which means that if you have plants that are prone to have slug infestation, placing a coffee ground barrier close to them will likely protect them from these pests. But this is not known to be totally effective so if it doesn’t work you might need to try other methods.
- If you have cats and they use the garden as a litter, adding coffee ground to the soil might affect their habits because they don’t like the smell.
What Plants Like Coffee Grounds?
It is better to use coffee grounds for plants that like a bit more acidic soil. As I wrote before after being used the coffee grounds lose most of their acidic quality. So plants that like slightly acidic soil will benefit from coffee grounds added to their soil, some of these plants are rhododendrons, hydrangeas, lily of the valley, carrots, azaleas, radishes, and blueberries. However, there are some plants that won’t enjoy coffee grounds, tomatoes are one of those, so if you have them in your garden, make sure to keep the coffee grounds away from that section.
Although they lose some of their acidity, the caffeine and part of the acid remain in the coffee grounds. So they shouldn’t be used in the case of very young plants or seedlings, because the caffeine can stop their development.
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