Coffee has more purposes than just giving you a morning jolt. Your cup of joe can help out your plants, too! Using coffee grounds in the garden has been a growing trend over the years, and this eco-friendly recycling program is super easy to do yourself.
So don’t be hasty in tossing out the grounds with the trash. Keep reading to see how you can use them as an effective fertilizer (and how you can possibly get more for free!).
Why Coffee Is Great For Your Garden
It might seem hard to believe, but adding used coffee grounds to the garden is a great way to add nutrients. You might drink a bad cup of coffee and decide it’s too acidic; it’s true, fresh ground coffee is acidic, and you shouldn’t grind beans and toss them among your flowers unless you know that they thrive in acidic soil (more on that later). But used coffee grounds are close to neutral, and if you give them a rinse before using, you’ll reduce the acidity even more, bringing down the pH and making it perfectly safe for your garden.
Coffee grounds make for an excellent fertilizer, and they can do so much for your garden! Here are some of the reasons why:
- As they break down and decompose, coffee grounds release a number of incredibly important nutrients, including potassium, nitrogen, and phosphorous.
- They also encourage the growth of beneficial microbes that help break down materials and release more nutrients. These can make the soil desirable to more helpful creatures, including earthworms.
- It’s always great to add more organic material to the soil, and coffee grounds are an easy, accessible material.
- There are also claims that coffee grounds keep away harmful pests and (maybe less harmful) cats. The theory goes that the caffeine negatively affects nuisances like slugs and snails, so they stay away from the soil. With all the other benefits, it doesn’t hurt to keep this in mind!
How To Use Coffee Grounds
Coffee grounds are as easy to use as any bagged product: just add them to your garden and work them into the soil. If you’ve already got a fertilizer pile, throw them in there as opposed to the garbage can. You can even pour leftover coffee on the soil, too, but make sure to dilute it further.
You can use fresh coffee grounds, but only for certain plants. Root vegetables like carrots can really thrive in coffee-added soil, so mix fresh grounds in when planting the seeds. Flowers like azaleas, lilies, and hydrangeas also love acidic soil, so feel free to sprinkle fresh coffee on the soil.
Getting Free Grounds: Starbucks’ Grounds for Your Garden
So you like the idea, but don’t drink enough coffee to cover your garden? Or maybe you’re a tea drinker? Don’t worry, Starbucks has your back! Their Grounds for Your Garden program conveniently packages used grounds in recyclable bags for an easy fertilizer. It’s literally used grounds scooped into a bag.
If your local Starbucks doesn’t have the grounds available, ask the barista to see if you can get your hands on some of their grounds. If not, ask other coffee shops in your area! Don’t let such an awesome fertilizer go to waste!