With Spring flowers starting to peep up from the soil, you might have begun planning for your Spring garden. An ingredient you may already have around your home and regularly toss out may provide a useful and inexpensive additive for you to nurture a healthy and vibrant garden – coffee grounds!
Plants, such as vegetable plants, grow well with the addition of coffee grounds. One such example is tomatoes, which thrive from the increased nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. Some other plants, like carrots and radishes, will grow larger and sweeter with coffee grounds. Blueberry plants and evergreen trees also like acidic soil, and would benefit from the addition of coffee grounds. When you mix coffee grounds into your soil, you introduce nutrients that fertilize and otherwise help the plants. And, using coffee grounds can be a great alternative to traditional chemical fertilizers.
To use, you can add coffee grounds directly to the soil in your garden by sprinkling the grounds on top or scratching them into the top few inches of the soil. You can also steep the grounds in a bucket or large container of water for a few hours or overnight to make a liquid fertilizer concoction that can be poured or sprayed onto your plants.
If you are adding the grounds directly to the soil, be careful not to pile up the grounds or apply too much, since you do not want to create a water resistant barrier for your garden nor do you want to overfertilize and cause plants to turn brown. If you are in doubt, less is more, and if you are uncertain whether or not a plant likes acidic soil, a quick google search can help you determine if using coffee grounds will help the specific types of plants in your particular garden!
Some gardeners also swear that coffee grounds are great for pest control. The caffeine and other compounds in coffee have been found, in some instances, to deter slugs, snails, some beetles, and possibly ants. Coffee grounds may also be used in your compost bin, to absorb and/or eliminate noxious odors.
If you do not drink coffee and have your own used grounds, coffee shops, diners and other businesses that sell brewed coffee may be willing to bag up their used grounds for you. One example is Starbucks Coffee, which launched a program in 1995 to give gardeners and farmers their used coffee grounds on a first come, first served basis in order to provide customers with an inexpensive way to enrich compost and garden soil while advancing its efforts to balance the Company’s environmental impact. Simply ask your local barista (or other business owner) if they have any coffee grounds available for gardens – in most instances they are more than happy to provide you a free bag!