Coffee Grounds In The Garden: Using Coffee Grounds As Fertilizer

Leftover coffee grounds are beneficial to many plants as a simple organic fertilizer, especially for plants that prefer acidic soil.

Composting is one of the best ways to make excellent soil for a garden, but it is not necessarily easy to do. Composting takes time and space. There are many benefits to using organic fertilizers and mulch, aside from the obvious benefit of creating less landfill. However, if space or time is a concern, compost is not out of the question.

Coffee grounds can be used as a daily spread around particular plants or over the entire garden. There is no need to mix the coffee sediment with other compost before adding to the soil. It can be dispersed in a thin layer over the soil without the need for any preparation or waiting.

Caffeine to Kill Slugs

Adding a little caffeine to soil is effective in warding off slugs. Although adding the remains of a cup of java is not sufficient caffeine to actually kill slugs, it will drive them away from the area. To end the life of slugs completely, it is recommended to have a 2% solution of caffeine, which is stronger than what is found in most commercial brands of chemicals intended to get rid the harmful pests. However, caffeine levels as low as .01% have been shown to reduce the number of slugs and to deter them from eating plants.

Worms Love Coffee

Creating a vermiculture set-up is easy enough and a great alternative to an outdoor compost heap. Worms digest compostable remains, and in turn, create rich, dark soil excellent for gardening. And worms love coffee remains; they thrive on coffee grounds.

It is interesting to note that putting coffee grounds directly onto the garden causes slightly more acidic soil, but when cycled by worms, the soil produced is pH neutral. Thus, if the plants being treated with coffee grounds prefer acidic soil, put coffee grounds directly onto the soil around the plant. Alternately, if the plants being treated prefer pH balanced soil, then make sure the dregs are composted properly first.

Sustainable Gardening

Rather than dumping good organic leftovers like coffee grounds or tea leaves into the bin, consider the alternative of using those items as quick fertilizers. Collect coffee grounds and tea leaves in a sealable container during the week and then spread them over the garden. Another option is to spread the grounds daily rather than storing the remains over the week.

The Odor of Decomposing Coffee

coffee grounds

Keep in mind that spreading too thick a layer of coffee grounds may lead to a strong odor of decomposing coffee, which is not nearly as appealing of the scent of a fresh-brewing pot of Joe. As well, moist coffee grounds, if spread too thickly, have a tendency to develop mold. Do not spread the organic material too thickly. If attempting to add a large amount of coffee grounds to soil, try mixing it with the top layer of soil to prevent mold and harsh odors.

Coffee grounds are an excellent, simple organic fertilizer that require little to no preparation and can be used in most gardens. They can even be used to encourage happy worm development and ward of pesky slugs.

Plants That Like Coffee Grounds

After doing some research in response to a comment about not mentioning which plants like coffee grounds, it has been determined that the following plants tend to thrive when coffee grounds are used in the soil: mint, ixora, tomato plants, azaleas, rhododendrons and blueberries (any acid-loving plant).

Do not overdo it though, as too much coffee can cause too much acidity and nitrogen to be present in the soil, which causes plants to die. The acid and nitrogen added to the soil via coffee grounds, in moderated amounts, helps flowering plants to blossom more fully and fruit-bearing plants to produce abundantly. However, if too much coffee is used, the opposite can occur causing plants, instead, to produce no flowers or fruit. To be sure about what amount of coffee to use in a garden or orchard, check the pH level of the soil. A pH of 5.1 is great for blueberries, but a pH of 5 or lower is too acidic for most plants and the soil would then need to be treated to correct the balance.


About the Author

With the endless passion for organic living, I - Ann Sanders has come up with the idea of creating A Green Hand. Being the founder and editor of A Green Hand, my goal is to provide everyone with a wide range of tips about healthy lifestyle with multiform categories including gardening, health & beauty, food recipe,...