If you’re a coffee-lover who’s also a plant parent, reusing coffee grounds for your garden is something that you should consider. Instead of throwing them in the trash, repurpose your leftover coffee grounds to feed your plants. Here are different ways to use them:
Addition to your compost heap
Compost materials are categorized into two: (1) green compost that includes nitrogen-rich materials like food scraps, and (2) brown compost materials that are rich in carbon like dry leaves. Coffee grounds are classified as green compost material because they carry high levels of nitrogen. It can be an excellent addition to your compost pile as it will help heat your compost bed. Mix grounds with other browns like dry leaves and newspapers to obtain a balance of 4:1 ratio of browns to green compost materials. Make sure not to put too much greens or else your compost will start to smell.
Fertilizer for your crops
Sprinkle your coffee grounds atop the soil. You may also create a tea out of it by adding two cups of coffee grounds to a five-gallon water bucket. Soak it for a few hours or up to overnight. This concoction serves as a liquid fertilizer for your plants and can also be sprayed on their leaves and stems.
Feed for your worms
Worms are lovers of coffee grounds. Add enough coffee grounds for your earthworms weekly depending on the size of your vermicompost or worm bin. Mixing coffee grounds with soil will encourage more worms into your garden.
Drive away garden pests
To deter pests from going near your plants, you can place coffee grounds around your garden. Arrange them like barriers of each plant to avoid pest attacks. Pets like cats hate the scent of coffee grounds and may prevent them from entering your garden if you mix coffee grounds into the soil. Some researchers think this is ineffective, but you can still try it but have a plan B for safety.
Fresh coffee grounds for acid-loving plants
While used coffee grounds are nearly pH neutral to slightly acidic, unbrewed coffee grounds are more acidic. Some plants love acidity like hydrangeas and carrots, so you can opt to mix fresh coffee grounds with the soil of select plants that like acidity. Tomatoes do not like fresh coffee grounds so be careful when putting coffee grounds in your garden.
Research about the effects of coffee grounds in the garden
In one study, results show that using coffee grounds in some crops led to weaker growth. According to the researchers, this may be because of the toxic-compounds in coffee grounds that are not beneficial to plants. In contrast, it was found that it also improves the plants’ capacity to hold water and decreases weed growth. In the case of unwanted results, you may experiment with other materials and methods for your garden.
Using coffee grounds can be effective to one and can be destructive to another crop, especially if using fresh grounds. Therefore, be careful and conduct prior research on which plants get more benefits when applied with coffee grounds.