With coffee being one of the most consumed drinks in the world, chances are you have it in your home. If you belong to a household that never misses their daily morning filter coffee, chances are also high that you throw your coffee filter and its coffee grounds into the household garbage. Without giving up the satisfying taste that your coffee provides you can find new uses, both ecological, economical, and practical, for this ‘waste’, in your garden.
The whole breakfast can work as compost, so before throwing away leftover fruit or coffee grounds, have a rethink. This drink not only gives you the energy you need to start a new day, but now it will also be your ally to fertilize plants, create a natural pesticide, the possibilities are endless.
You may have already heard of the different uses that can be made of coffee grounds in everyday life, such as deodorizing the refrigerator, maintaining its pipes, or even cleaning the chimney, but did you know that the garden has multiple utilities? In this article, we will show you 15 different ways to use coffee grounds in the garden.
What is the Composition of Coffee Grounds?
The coffee grounds are what is left in the filter of the coffee maker after running water on them to make your little black.
This residue is composed mainly of nitrogen but has components of phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, and copper. These elements are beneficial for both the soil and the plantations.
How to Get Coffee Grounds
To obtain a stable coffee supply, please maintain a good relationship with your local coffee distributor. Many coffee shops provide free coffee grounds in special packaging (such as Starbucks). If they don’t, ask if they can do it especially for you.
If you don’t drink much coffee, you can collect residues from your office lounge, grocery deli, or restaurant.
15 Ways to Use Coffee Grounds in the Garden
A Compost Activator
If you have a composting bin, called a vermicomposter, to sort your organic or other waste, consider incorporating the coffee grounds into it. Putting coffee grounds in your compost will enrich it with the various minerals it contains such as nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, and copper, but not limited to these.
Also, when buying coffee filters, opt for ones that are unbleached because they are biodegradable and often cheaper. They will therefore be able to go without problem in the compost while the laundered ones will only add to your trash of non-recyclable waste.
Regularly fertilizing with compost, mixing the coffee with the soil and other organic remains can completely reduce the need for conventional fertilizers.
A Feed for Worms
We all know that worms are a welcome sight in gardens because they are really pivotal to working the soil. The main ingredient in coffee is caffeine, and its stimulating virtues in humans are well documented. But we are not the only fans of this soothing effect, the earthworms will do anything for a swing or two.
They enjoy it and it boosts their activity. Earthworms are especially fond of it because it helps them digest the organic matter in your compost pile. Therefore, adding coffee grounds to your compost will allow a faster, and above all, more complete degradation.
Note: Since caffeine is the primary stimulant of interest for our slithering friends, decaffeinated coffee will not produce similar results.
Earthworms like coffee but only in minimal quantity. If you go overboard, the worms could die due to the inability to digest that much coffee acidity.
Hence, do not put more than one small cup of coffee a week in the soil of your garden, so that the worms survive.
Balance Soil pH
Due to their acidic content, coffee grounds can help balance the pH of overly alkaline soil.
There is a popular conception that fresh coffee grounds have some allopathic components, which are known for stifling plant growth. Therefore, they might become handy in suppressing the growth of weeds.
This theory has however not been scientifically validated.
Nitrogenize the earth
A good alternative to nitrogen fertilizers, coffee grounds are rich in nitrogen, since they are derived from processed seeds. Its proportion of around ten percent is ideal for enriching the earth with nitrogen, which will be of great help for the growth of plants, their flowering, and, in the case of having a garden, also their fruits.
An Odor Absorber
If you deal with plants like garlic or onions in the garden, you should be familiar with the very pungent smell left on your hands which are very difficult to wash off. Coffee grounds can be very useful in this case, as they eliminate bad odor. Just rub them with coffee grounds and rinse.
Maintain Natural Plant Color
Coffee grounds are an excellent natural coloring. With its slight acidity, it is perfect for hydrangeas to help strengthen their blue coloring, as well as for tomatoes. To get premium results, it is best to use coffee grounds with blueberries, cranberries, and citrus fruits. Other plants that benefit from it are camellia, garden saplings, rhododendrons, and virya.
Its pH of 6.2 allows you to modify the color of hydrangea to a magnificent bluish hue. So coffee grounds might just be the ingredient needed to turn your back garden into a Dr. Who-style experiment site.
To do this:
Spread the coffee grounds at the foot of the plant.
Lightly hoe the soil of the garden to mix well.
Aids Growth of Seedlings
Mix one part of this brown gold with one part of garden soil to obtain an ideal soil to germinate your seeds.
Thanks to a carbon-nitrogen ratio of 20 (one part nitrogen to 20 part carbon), coffee grounds are ideal. They are also especially good as they gradually release nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, rather than at a go, which could be overwhelming for the young plants.
A Natural Repellent against Pests
Many small animals can be harmful to the garden, such as aphids, slugs, snails, carrot flies, and ants. But don’t rule out cats, who especially love to dig up seedlings and do theirs do wherever they want. They have their place in nature but if they could leave our plantations alone, we would be very happy!
To ward off harmful insects and gastropods from your garden and thus preventing them from ravaging your plants and crops, coffee grounds will act in two ways.
The first is due to its smell which some do not like and therefore prefer to go their way.
The second comes from the fact that the coffee grounds have a granular consistency which is particularly unpleasant or even painful, for snails and slugs, in particular, when they walk on them.
Beware of the rain which dilutes the coffee in the soil and therefore makes it less effective. After heavy rains, refresh your soil by sprinkling coffee grounds around your vegetable plants or flower beds.
Rabbits will also bypass flowers that use coffee grounds as mulch. As coffee grounds quickly decompose into the soil, they should be consistently refreshed once or twice a week to maintain their effectiveness as a repellent.
Coffee Grounds to Sand and Thaw Paths
Thanks to its acidity, coffee grounds make the floor less slippery, thereby effectively replacing salt which is not allies to plants.
Place it on the paths in the garden or around the house in winter in the event of snow, frost, or ice. It is both inexpensive and more environmentally friendly.
A Winter Soldier
Coffee grounds can also act as mulch for the feet of the most fragile plantations in winter. It protects them against falling temperatures naturally and free of charge.
Note: During sunny days, avoid using coffee grounds as a stand-alone cover, as they can form a waterproof shell when dry in the sun.
To Grow Mushrooms
Here is an amazing tip for growing mushrooms on your own. In a bag, slip coffee grounds and mycelium. Then put it in a dark, warm place for three weeks and then take it out to the light. Always maintain humidity in your mushroom crop and you will see them blossom in no time.
Perfume Your Garden
Use coffee to envelop your interiors and exteriors in a unique and beautiful scent. Stir a little coffee ground into melted beeswax, then place a wick in a jar. Pour the mixture into the jar to obtain a candle with a sweet scent of coffee ... Ideal for your dinners on the terrace!
The favorite indoor flower of the French, the orchid is a plant with specific needs. Its substrate – or soil – must be rich in phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium, all of which coffee grounds bring! So don’t hesitate to use it.
A DIY Fertilizer
Nitrogen, potassium, and phosphate are found in most commercially available fertilizers, whether organic or chemical.
With the coffee grounds, you will therefore have a free and available fertilizer that will enrich your soil with the minerals and trace elements it needs. It will fertilize the soil by its slow degradation by gradually diffusing its benefits. So you will be eating your cake and having it, or more literally, drinking your coffee and having it.
Coffee grounds are therefore a natural and effective product, but they should not be abused, otherwise, you end up with the opposite of the expected effect.
Thus, to enrich the soil in your garden and/or your vegetable patch, it is recommended not to apply more than 500 grams of coffee grounds per square meter annually.
It is enough to sprinkle it in a thin layer directly on the ground, preferably where the flowers, fruits, and vegetables are planted.
Caution: Watch out for rainy days! Avoid dispersing your coffee grounds if drops of water are forecast in the weather because they will be diluted in the soil and the results will be reduced.
Preparing a liquid fertilizer: step by step
To prepare an effective and free homemade liquid fertilizer based on coffee grounds, simply mix everything you collect from the filter with 2 liters of water.
Stir well then let stand in the fridge for 2 days. After this, filter with a fine cloth. Your liquid coffee grounds fertilizer is now ready to water and feed your plants!
How to Store Coffee Grounds
Before wondering how to store coffee grounds, you should first learn how to collect them. The operation is simple but still requires a little patience. There is a risk of burning yourself if the grounds are taken directly into the filter after the coffee has been brewed. Therefore, it is best to wait until it has cooled down completely.
After this bridge is scaled, lay it out on a flat surface and let it air-dry. If you are in a hurry, you can put it in a not too hot oven, keeping a close eye and leaving the door ajar. The idea is to remove as much water as possible to minimize the risk of mold growth.
When your coffee grounds are dry, the preservation method will depend on when you plan to use them. For use within 10 days, place it in the refrigerator in a tightly closed box. Beyond that, it is best to store it in the freezer in a suitable bag. To thaw it, just take it out 2 to 3 hours before.