How to recycle coffee grounds in your garden

Gardens are not made by singing ‘Oh, how beautiful,’ and sitting in the shade.” Rudyard Kipling

A beautiful, productive garden takes work, know-how, the right ingredients…and a few coffee grounds only help! Keep reading to learn more about how coffee grounds can nourish your plants, boost your veggie production, improve your compost, and even deter pests.

Nourish acid loving plants

Humans aren’t the only ones who perk up with a little coffee. Nourishing your garden soil with used, diluted coffee grounds can improve your roses, add extra flavor to your blueberries, and energize your parsley. Coffee is a wonderful nutrient-rich source of acid and balanced nitrogen and carbon. Adding coffee to your soil can also help prevent fungal rot and wilts. To maximize coffee grounds’ positive fertilizing impact, steep the grounds in clean water for 12-hours and then pour the entire grounds mixture onto your soil. Adding coffee grounds directly to the soil can also work but be sure to use a very thin layer as too thick of a layer could lead to unwanted fungus. For plants and flowers that love high acidity, such as azaleas and rhododendrons, scatter fresh grounds directly on the soil.

Coffee-loving flowers and shrubs: azaleas, begonias, wild blueberries, camellias, gardenias, holly bushes, hydrangeas, huckleberries, juneberries, lilies, rhododendrons, and roses, and wild strawberries.

Coffee loving plants and herbs: green leafy plants, including brussel sprouts, cabbage, chard, kale, lettuce, parsley, and rhubarb.

Grow vegetables

Root vegetables, such as carrots and radish, thrive in a coffee ground soil mix thanks to the added boost of copper, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and the slow release of nitrogen. An optimal coffee soil mix contains a ratio of 35% coffee grounds to 65% soil and mulch. For more on creating a great veggie soil, please visit gardening know how.

Mushrooms, while technically not a vegetable, also love a good coffee soil. To learn how to grow tasty, effortless mushrooms in your old coffee grounds, check out this blog entry.

Make natural fertilizer and compost

Used coffee grounds are a fantastic organic supplement to fertilizers. They release nitrogen, a natural fertilizer, into the soil, along with phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, and copper. Used in moderation, coffee grounds prevent against fungal rot and wilt, attract earthworms, and increase natural drainage, aeration, and water retention. You can also add coffee grounds to compost to boost its nitrogen levels and attract earthworms. Coffee grounds are considered “green” in the composting lexicon.

Create natural pesticide

Next time pesky snails invade your garden or an army of ants takes up residence in your home, block the entryways with coffee grounds! To protect your plants from snails and slugs, spread coffee grounds around the edges of your garden; to keep ants out of the house, spread a 1-2 inch wide strip of grounds around the foundation of your home. Slugs and snails dislike crawling over the grounds while ants are repulsed by the scent. Coffee grounds are also thought to repel rabbits from munching on your greens and cats from using your garden as a litter box.

6 thoughts on “How to recycle coffee grounds in your garden

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  1. Very informative post. We love gardening but never used coffee grounds in our garden. Definitely going to try😊 Your blog looks amazing. Lots of love and hugs 🤗💞


  2. Thank you for this article!

    I’m an expat in Kyoto, Japan and it’s been my dream to help keep spent coffee grounds from going into the city’s incinerators. Kyoto is striving to reduce waste and to be a ‘green’ city in general. That has also spurred me on.

    After dithering about it for a couple years, looking into making pellets for fuel out of the grounds, etc., I came back to where i started-used grounds work so well in the garden that this is the most logical place to start! It certainly can account for a lot of weight and mass diverted from landfills and incinerators.

    I’ve been collecting grounds from Kyoto cafes for a couple months and giving them to local farmers, and it’s wonderfully simple, as long as I can keep enough demand going by finding farmers. The supply part is easy so far.

    I call the project, ‘mame’ means bean in Japanese( as in edamame), and eco refers to sustainability and environmentally friendly activities.

    Thank you for your ‘down-to-earth’ article, very practical and actionable info there!


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