Using Coffee As Fertiliser
Adding coffee grounds directly to the soil as a fertiliser can be a good option. Coffee grounds are rich in nutrients, especially nitrogen. They also have some amount of other nutrients like potassium and phosphorous. Overall, this means that adding coffee grounds to your garden can work fairly well as a fertiliser.
Coffee should be spread in a thin layer, rather than being clumped in one place. Spreading it as a thin layer not only spreads out the nutrients, it also reduces the chances of caffeine affecting one particular spot of the garden.
Fresh grounds have more caffeine, but the content of used grounds is debatable. The regular inference would be to assume that used grounds have lower caffeine. However, that is not always true. Theres a good chance that at least a portion of the grounds has high caffeine content.
Can You Put Too Much Coffee Grounds In Your Garden
If your soil already has a high level of nitrogen, adding in coffee grounds could take the level over the edge, actually stunting the growth of some plants.
Spencer adds, Be careful not to add too much coffee grounds into your garden as the small particles can clump together creating a water resistant barrier, stunting plant growth. Always use the grounds sparingly and never in large quantities. Coffee grounds will not kill grown plants, it will just take some recovery time in the event of excess application. To rectify using too much, use a rake to separate the particles into finer bits. Recommends Spencer.
So Are Coffee Grounds Useful For Making Great Compost
Nearly as popular as using coffee to acidify your soil, is the use of coffee grounds to compost.
One study compared three different composting methods to measure the effect of adding coffee grounds to your compost. In all three methods they found an increase in the death-rate of earthworms.
Eeesh, poor little guys!
Apparently as the coffee grounds break down, they release organiccompounds and chemicals which kill the worms.
It would appear that coffee grounds are not so great forearthworms after all.
And as if murdering innocent earthworms wasnt bad enough, it appears that coffee has antibacterial properties, too.
So, instead of helping the thriving microbiota of your compost, tossing those coffee grounds in could actually kill off helpful microbes.
If you do decide to add coffee to your compost, do so sparingly. Despite its color, coffee is considered to be a green addition, so it needs to be mixed in with plenty of brown, like dried leaves.
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Coffee Grounds For Mulch
Spreading layers of coffee grounds as mulch is beneficial when in lower quantity. Coffee grounds shouldnt exceed more than 25% of the mulch mix.
- Never layer the coffee grounds pure in a thick layer.
- The fine particles, when they dry out, form a watertight barrier. Only heavy rains and day-long drizzles soften it enough that water will reach the ground underneath.
- Always add other materials like river sand, compost and regular garden soil to make a balanced mix.
- Alternatively, let the grounds dry. This makes them easy to sprinkle on the ground in a thin layer.
Additionally, excess traces of caffeine from the ground coffee might have detrimental effects on some plants. If there are too much coffee grounds in the soil, plants will grow slower or stunted until such a time that soil organisms are able to break the coffee down.
- This is especially true for seedlings, when only pure coffee grounds are used.
- Coffee grounds will not kill grown plants. It just takes time for them to recover in case of excess amounts.
Coffee Grounds Keep Slugs And Snails Away
Coffee grounds are also good as pest control: snails and slugs hate the texture of coffee grounds. So, some gardeners like to scatter coffee grounds around crops that snails and slugs love a lot.
Especially tender leaves like lettuce, young cabbage, kale etc. are real favorites of snails and slugs.
No need for chemicals that pollute your soil if you just drink a few coffees and keep these annoying little leaf munchers away
These are all the benefits of coffee grounds added to the soil. But did you know that they are excellent for compost too?
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Coffee Grounds Are Risk
Coffee grounds, since they go through the process of roasting, are always healthy material for composting and growing beds.
Unlike some store-bought fruits and vegetables, coffee is rarely treated with pesticides and chemicals. It can thus be used without fear of contaminating your garden soil with chemical products.
- In the case of flavored coffee beans, however, additives are also part of the mix. Check to see if the flavor is a natural extract or if its synthetic.
- Whether flavoring breaks down in a harmful way or not hasnt yet been extensively studied.
How To Use Coffee Grounds As Fertilizer
Did you know that your coffee grounds can actually be used as a slow-release fertilizer?
‘I always use coffee grounds as fertilizer,’ says James Gray, founder of Barista & Co. ‘Some size of grounds cant go down the sink, so giving them to your plants is a great way to reduce waste.’
Lewis Spencer adds: ‘To use coffee compost, simply sprinkle the grounds directly onto your soil and lightly rake it in. Coffee grounds add organic material to the soil, helping water retention, aeration and drainage.
‘Leftover diluted coffee can create a liquid plant fertilizer, too. Simply mix two cups of brewed coffee grounds with five gallons of water in a bucket overnight.’
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Avoid Pests With Coffee Grounds
The second way that you can use coffee grounds on your houseplants is as a pesticide. Slugs will not eat at the leaves of your plants, leading to a detrimental ruin for them, if you only sprinkle the grounds on the top of the soil.
The texture of the coffee grounds will deter the slugs as they will not enjoy crawling over it when trying to get to your houseplants.
What About Using Coffee Grounds For Killing Slugs
Well, if coffee is good at killing things, then surely theadvice to use coffee grounds to kill slugs or repel them is accurate, right?
This one is a big fat maybe.
Robert Pavlis of Garden Myths, set up his own experiment with slugs and coffee grounds, and he says the coffee grounds dont even slow them down!
I read other anecdotal advice saying that slugs wont even go near coffee grounds. While I cant say with certainty that coffee grounds will repel slugs, in this case, it cant hurt to try.
However, I wouldnt put the grounds too close to the plantsyou are trying to protect.
Thats right, more foreshadowing.
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What Are Coffee Grounds And How Can They Be Used In Gardening
Coffee grounds are the waste that results from preparing or brewing coffee. Many coffee shops have huge amounts of coffee grounds going in the waste, which they will often happily give to customers for free to be used in their gardens.
Gardeners can use coffee grounds in a range of ways in the garden. They can be successfully used to improve soil quality, fertilize plants, and deter pests. However, there are some drawbacks to using coffee grounds in the garden, and some instances where they should be avoided. To learn how you can make use of this organic material that would otherwise be wasted, read on.
How To Water Plants With Coffee
Now that we have ascertained that we should use diluted coffee for plant fertilizer, how do we do it?
Coffee has a pH of from 5.2 to 6.9 depending on the variety and preparation. The lower the pH, the more acid in other words, coffee is pretty acidic. Most plants grow best in slightly acid to neutral pH . Tap water is slightly alkaline with a pH greater than 7. Therefore, using diluted coffee for plants can increase the acidity of the soil. Traditional chemical fertilizers, the addition of sulfur, or allowing leaves to decompose on soil surfaces are methods to decrease soil pH levels. Now you have another option.
Allow your plain brewed coffee to cool and then dilute it with the same amount of cool water as coffee. Then simply water acid-loving plants such as:
Water with the diluted coffee just as you would with plain tap water. Dont use this to water plants that do not like acidic soil.
Dont water every time with the diluted coffee fertilizer. Plants will sicken or die if the soil becomes too acidic. Yellowing leaves may be a sign of too much acid in the soil, in which case, abandon the coffee irrigation and repot plants in containers.
Coffee works great on many types of flowering indoor plants but can be used outside as well. Diluted coffee adds just enough organic fertilizer to encourage bushier, healthier plants.
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How To Use Coffee Grounds For Plants
If you make filtered coffee at home, then you likely have plenty of coffee grounds going to waste each day. Use a large tub or a bucket in your kitchen to empty your grounds into, and at the end of each week, you can use it to benefit your garden. Note that if you make instant coffee, then you wont have any grounds leftover, which is a great reason to move over to filtered coffee , or you could ask a neighbor or local coffee shop for their used grounds.
To use coffee grounds in your garden, always mix them well, whether that be mixing them in with your existing soil or with another organic matter such as lawn clippings or shredded leaves to make a mulch.
Where To Get And How To Store Coffee Grounds
If you are not a coffee drinker but would want to try out using coffee grounds in your little indoor garden, you can easily get some at any of your local coffee shops. Its free and quite abundant wherever you go. All you need to do is ask. Some big names in the business actually re-pack these grounds and display them in their store, free for anyone who needs them.
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Fresh Coffee Grounds For Acid
While used coffee grounds are only slightly acidic, fresh coffee grounds have more acid. Your acid-loving plants like hydrangeas, rhododendrons, azaleas, lily of the valley, blueberries, carrots, and radishes can get a boost from fresh grounds. However, tomatoes do not like fresh coffee grounds keep them out of that area of the garden. This could be a good use for coffee that is getting old in your pantry or a type you bought for visiting friends but isn’t your usual cup of joe.
Fresh coffee grounds still have most of their caffeine content as well as the acid. Don’t use coffee grounds on seedlings or very young plants, as caffeine can stunt their growth. Be cautious in using fresh grounds around pets or your wire terrier may become extremely wired.
Large Providers Of Coffee Grounds
- Check with coffee shops in your area. Some franchises already prepare packs of used coffee grounds for customers to take away.
- Restaurants often have coffee machines that produce quite a lot of coffee grounds.
Youll notice that when asked politely , many eatery managers will be happy to set some coffee grounds aside for you.
- Make it even easier for them: bring a container that closes with a lid, such as a large plasticware or a bucket with a lid.
- Agree on a schedule, and stick to it. Dispose of the coffee grounds quickly, or theyll start molding within three to four days. This is why growing mushrooms on coffee grounds is perfect!
- Having two containers makes it easy to swap an empty one for the full one.
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Ways To Use Coffee Grounds In The Garden
If you didnt learn the proper way to store ground coffee after opening it, you may end up with stale coffee. However, dont throw away those grounds.
When used correctly, coffee grounds can be a great addition to your garden. Many gardeners find it is a safe, natural, and effective way to boost their gardens without using harsh chemicals or pesticides.
Use them to boost blooms and berries, and to keep away slugs and snails. Use them in your compost pile to increase nitrogen levels in your soil.
Even if you arent a coffee drinker, you may be able to get the benefits. Contact local coffee shops or restaurants to enquire about picking up their grounds for use in your garden. If that doesnt work, try asking one or more of your coffee-drinking neighbors to help you out.
Sounds Like A Good Idea But Do Coffee Grounds Work
Sarah Hardgrove is a horticulturist from Melbourne, and her masters research focused on the effects of spent coffee grounds on garden plants.
“It’s often collected as a resource from coffee shops, and recommended to be put straight on the garden,” Sarah says.
“It sounds like a good idea reduce the logistics of composting it first. We have so much of it, Melbourne is such a coffee drinking city.”
For her research, Sarah set up an experiment to grow radishes, leeks, sunflowers, violas and broccoli across different soil types in both a glass house and outside.
The plants were subjected to differing amounts of spent coffee grounds in their soil, ranging from 2.5 to 20 per cent. The coffee grounds were incorporated in the top 10cm of soil. A control group was set up with no coffee applied.
After around 10 weeks, the plants were harvested and weighed to compare growth.
Sarah says all plants in the research trial suffered from being grown with coffee grounds.
“Growth was inhibited in all soil types, nothing responded well. We saw pretty much the same trends across all treatments, substantially lower biomass in the plants,” she says.
“In one treatment with broccoli, the control plant grew to about four grams. Grown with coffee it weighed less than half a gram. They were so tiny it felt silly weighing them.”
So what caused this huge reduction in plant growth?
“What we theorised is the toxic effects of the grounds and the caffeine,” Sarah says.
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Do Coffee Grounds Make Good Mulch
So, weve established that the caffeine in coffee grounds can suppress plant growth. But this effect is not universal. Not all plants will be affected negatively. So should we consider using coffee grounds as a mulch around certain plants in a polytunnel garden?
As a slow release fertiliser, they could potentially be added to a mulch containing other organic materials with beneficial effect. But it is not a good idea to use coffee grounds as a mulch on their own. They compact too easily, reducing air flow to the soil and preventing water from reaching plant roots where it is needed.
If you do decide to mulch certain plants in your polytunnel with coffee grounds, to boost the fertility of the soil for nitrogen-hungry plants, make sure you mix the coffee grounds well with other organic materials. Better yet, compost them first and then use the compost as mulch material.
Use It As A Natural Cleaning Scrub
Coffee grounds are abrasive and can help remove buildup on hard-to-clean surfaces. They may even help sanitize due to their antibacterial and antiviral properties (
If you like to avoid cleaning with chemicals, used coffee grounds might be worth a try.
Use them to scour your sink, polish your cookware or clean your grill.
Just be careful not to use them on any kind of porous material, as they can cause brown stains.
Summary Coffee grounds can be used as an abrasive cleaner. They can help sanitize and remove buildup from sinks, cookware, grills and other surfaces around the house.
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Coffee Grounds As A Garden Amendment
This one is true. Coffee grounds are easy to compost, they break down quickly and add generous amounts of nitrogen to your compost pile.
Careful when adding them to your vermicompost bin, though, as the matter may harm the organisms. Reduce the chance of killing your earthworms by adding a healthy amount of cardboard to your pile.
While coffee grounds are great in the compost bin, dont expect them to transform the organic matter magically. Theyll boost nitrogen and improve the consistency of the compost. But for a measurable effect on the growth rate of your plants, youll need to add a hefty amount of finished product around your plants.
In other words, coffee grounds are a suitable compost additive, but they wont transform your compost into a miracle product.
Coffee Grounds Improve Soil Texture
You can also use coffee grounds to break up lumpy soil and make it loose, permeable and easy to work. They are especially good with heavy clay and chalk based soil for this.
They have a similar effect as that of sand: they break up the hard and impermeable pebbles of soil and improve aeration and permeability.
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Uses For Coffee Grounds On Plants In The Garden
What to do with Coffee grounds? Put 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 ? Have you tried putting coffee grounds in compost? How about using coffee grounds on plants as fertilizer. Is it a good idea?
Dont even think of throwing away those used grounds of java! Fresh coffee grounds are just as valuable as the coffee you made from them. Below are 7 ways on how to use coffee grounds in the garden.