Why Coffee Grounds Make the Best Garden Fertilizer

Why Coffee Grounds Make the Best Garden Fertilizer

Around two-thirds of all American adults start their day with coffee.... as of 2014, every third household in the US is growing their own food, at least partially.

While these two things seem completely disconnected, there is a possible specific symbiotic relationship between the two.

What most people don’t realize is how amazing the used up coffee grounds can be for your garden!

Now, I am aware that many of us get our coffee from coffee shops, but that doesn’t have to deter us in our quest for the best fertilizer. In fact, many coffee shops will give used up coffee grounds to customers, if they just ask for them.


Why Are Coffee Grounds Good for Your Garden?

Anything that’s organic such as coffee grounds is as bound to be good.

Believe it or not, coffee grounds are “green”- quite literally! They turn green in your compost, due to their richness in nitrogen and other trace minerals, like magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and calcium.

The main appeal of using coffee grounds is closely connected to their availability. It’s a product that will end up in the trash otherwise and can be extremely useful to plant growth.

Done properly, fertilizing your garden with coffee grounds will mean better growth, healthier plants, and richer soil.


How to Utilize Coffee Grounds in Your Garden

What you need to do is add used coffee grounds or coffee filters into your compost pile. Since, as already mentioned, coffee grounds are the green compost material- you need some brown in there to mix things up.

It’s also possible to put coffee grounds directly into the soil. The only thing to keep in mind then is the fact that, while nitrogen will be added to your compost with the addition of coffee grounds, the same process will take some time when you place them directly in the ground.

On the other hand, using coffee grounds as a direct fertilizer will add organic material to it and impact it in several beneficial ways, improving drainage, aeration, and even water retention. Microorganisms will thank you for it, and your plants will work as well.

Watch out for unwashed coffee grounds, because only after a wash will your used coffee grounds be of a near-neutral pH level and thus will have no effect on the acidity of the soil.

The logistic approach to fertilizing your garden is quite simple: use your hands to work the used coffee grounds into the earth around your plants. Be careful not to go too deep- you can either work them a few centimeters deep or leave them at the top of the soil and let them get absorbed with time.


Additional Coffee Ground Garden Usage

If you decide that coffee grounds as a part of compost or as a fertilizer is not the right fit for you, that doesn’t mean you need to throw them away- that’d just be wasteful.

Many people are jumping on the wagon of using them as mulch for their plants. There are also some experienced gardeners using them to deter pests, such as slugs and snails from approaching their goodies.

Some people even swear by coffee grounds as a way of keeping cats away from precious flower pots. Cats: who knew all we needed to defeat their world-conquering ways is caffeine?

General Advice

Be sure to read up on the effects of caffeine on the plants you’re trying to grow.

Some plants react really well to used coffee grounds, while other some more sensitive- and we really want to prevent wilting here.

Another thing to keep in mind is the presence of dogs: though in small amount coffee grounds will not have any effect on your dog, ingesting large amounts can bring about health problems. If your four-legged friend enjoys munching on your garden, I suggest using coffee grounds in your compost for pure safety reasons.

As all other fertilizers, some research and work need to be put into successful usage, but used up coffee grounds have proven themselves to be well worth the trouble. Now it’s becoming clear to everyone why passionate coffee drinkers have been swearing by coffee for ages- it seems to be the natural solution to many problems, including garden maintenance and fertilization.



This Article was written by Samantha Rosario.

Samantha Rosario is a blogger, mother, and resident of the greatest city in the world, NYC. When not working at a Manhattan publishing house, she's spending time with her family or putting pen to paper for her own personal pursuits. She is also an avid runner and swimmer and aims to complete an Ironman in 2018.  Read her blog.


Photo by Krista McPhee on Unsplash

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

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