How To Use Coffee Grounds In Your Home Garden


Composting Coffee Grounds

How To Use Coffee Grounds In Your Home Garden.

Used coffee grounds ("coffee grounds") are a great way to supplement the compost in your garden, as they provide valuable nutrients, attract earth worms and improve plant growth. Coffee grounds may be mixed into your compost pile or directly into the soil around your plants. Coffee grounds may be obtained if you make coffee at home or from your local coffee shop.

Coffee Grounds Facts
  • Coffee grounds are about 2% nitrogen by volume
  • Coffee grounds have a Carbon/Nitrogen ratio of 20-to-1
  • Coffee grounds are not a nitrogen fertilizer
  • Coffee grounds do improve soil tilth or structure
  • Grounds are not acidic; the acid in coffee is water-soluble so the acid is mostly in the coffee
  • Coffee grounds are close to pH neutral (between 6.5 to 6.8 pH)
  • Coffee grounds do not “go bad." For future use, store in a 32-gallon trash container near the compost bin or pile
Mixing Coffee Grounds Into Your Compost Pile

Composting coffee grounds can be a great way to divert waste that would otherwise end up in the landfill.

If you have a compost pile at home, you may add coffee grounds directly to your compost pile. Used coffee filters can be composted as well. Simply spread out the coffee grounds and filters and nature will take care of it. Please note that coffee grounds are considered green compost material and should be mixed with brown compost materials to balance the composition. A good ratio is 1/3 leaves, 1/3 fresh grass clippings, and 1/3 coffee grounds.

In informal trials by the Oregon State University/Lane County Extension Service, Compost Specialists recorded sustained temperatures of 140 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit for up to two weeks when coffee grounds were 25% of the material in the compost pile by volume.

Adding Coffee Grounds Directly To Your Garden

If you do not have a compost pile, you may add coffee grounds directly to your garden. You can spread the coffee grounds onto the soil around your plants. If you do so, keep the soil damp. Or cover with leaves, compost or bark mulch to prevent the coffee grounds from drying out.

The main benefits are of using coffee grounds as a carbon fertilizer is that it adds organic material to the soil, which improves the soil (water retention, aeration and drainage). In addition, coffee grounds attract earthworms and help microorganisms beneficial to the plant growth.

If you are adding coffee grounds directly into the soil, simultaneously add a nitrogen fertilizer. Coffee grounds encourage the growth of microorganisms in the soil, which use up the nitrogen from the grounds for their growth and reproduction. While the coffee grounds are being broken down by the microorganisms, the extra nitrogen in the fertilizer will make sure your plants also have enough nitrogen.

Keep the volume ratio of coffee ground to soil lower than 25%, otherwise you'll end up with poor rates of germination and stunted plant growth. This was found in a germination test performed at the GrassRoots Garden in Eugene, OR.

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Worms Love Coffee Grounds

For those that have a worm bin at home, adding a little coffee grounds to your worm bin is a great way to diversify your worm's diet. Don't add too much. A good rule of thumb is to only add your own coffee grounds along with other left-over food that you are feeding your worms. Your worms will thank you for it and make great worm castings.

Where To Get Coffee Grounds

If you make coffee at home, you can use the left-over coffee grounds in your own garden. If you need more, or are not making coffee at home, you may ask your local coffee shop if you can use their coffee grounds for your garden. Most coffee shops would be willing to divert waste from the landfill and support their local community.

About Mundea's Blog Posts

In the next couple of months, Mundea's blog posts will address Case Studies on how businesses have set up their trash-, recycling- and compost program. In addition, we will provide information on what is recyclable, what is compostable and how to set up a trash area.

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