Did you know that used coffee grounds can be used in the garden to improve conditions and get better results?
This unusual yet effective combination is the perfect pair – with leftover coffee grounds from yours coffee machine is the perfect way to avoid waste and garden sustainably.
Used coffee grounds contain a significant amount of nitrogen, as well as potassium and phosphorus. These properties make them perfect for composting.
Here, coffee expert Lewis Spencer from Coffee direct shows how to use coffee grounds safely and effectively in your garden.
1. Use coffee grounds in the garden as a long-term fertilizer
Coffee grounds contain a different amount of essential nutrients in each batch, but all of them contain nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus in addition to micronutrients.
Plants like carrots, azaleas and roses would appreciate a nice batch of coffee grounds. However, tomatoes don’t like the soil.
See: Plant tomato accompaniment – the best plants to grow with tomatoes
To use coffee compost, simply sprinkle the coffee grounds right on your soil and lightly rake in. Coffee grounds add organic matter to the soil and aid in water storage, aeration and drainage. Leftover diluted coffee can also make a liquid plant fertilizer. Simply mix two cups of brewed coffee grounds with five gallons of water in a bucket overnight.
2. Use coffee grounds in the garden to feed worms
If you practice worm composting with a worm box, coffee grounds are a must as worms love them.
For a small container, add 1 cup of coffee grounds a week to quench their addiction. Avoid adding too much at once, as acidity could negatively affect your worms. Paper coffee filters can even go in.
See: Rewilding – 10 ways to rewild your garden
3. Use coffee grounds to deter snails
Coffee grounds are a great repellent for snails. Simply spread the soil around delicate plants to create a barrier against the insects.
Research shows that caffeine is effective in repelling snails when applied to leaves or the growing medium of plants. This is due to the naturally abrasive properties of coffee: soft living things tend to avoid rough surfaces.
- You can even use ground coffee for vegetable beds. See, Ideas for the raised bed garden – for productive, easy-care gardening
4. Put the coffee grounds in the compost
Good compost contains a mixture of “brown” and “green” ingredients. Brown materials like dried leaves, sawdust, and newsprint add carbon to the mix. Green materials like tea leaves and clippings provide nitrogen and protein. (As a rule of thumb, a 4: 1 ratio of brown to green compost material applies.)
Compost is a great way to recycle something that would have ended up in a landfill. Coffee grounds, including paper filters, fall into the green category, which means that they’re about 1.45% high in nitrogen.
They also contain magnesium, potassium and other trace elements.
See: Monty Don’s warning about compost – take his advice or risk attracting rats
5. Use coffee grounds as mulch in the garden
Mulch is helpful in reducing weed growth and keeping the soil moist. It is notoriously difficult to get large quantities of compost or straw at a cheap price.
Coffee grounds work best as mulch when mixed with other organic matter such as leaf mold. The combination reduces the risk of clumps forming, which can act as a water barrier and suppress the growth of your plants.
See: Monty Don’s tips on mulching – and what to do now
Since plants can be sensitive to the caffeine in the soil, avoid creating a thick layer. Using a mixture of particle sizes promotes good structure
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