Last updated 22nd February 2020
Whether you make a cup of coffee daily or you have noticed your local coffee shop has started putting out bags of used coffee, you might be inquisitive about composting with coffee grounds. Is using coffee grounds as fertiliser a good idea? Keep reading to find out more about coffee grounds and how they can make an excellent addition to your compost heap or used as fertiliser for your garden.
Composting Coffee Grounds
Composting with coffee grounds could be a good way to make use of something that you would otherwise find yourself throwing out. Composting grounds helps to introduce nitrogen to your compost heap.
Composting grounds is as straightforward as throwing the used coffee grounds onto your compost heap. Used coffee filters are often composted as well.
If you’ll be adding used grounds to your compost heap, bear in mind that they’re thought of as green compost material and should be be balanced with the addition of some brown compost material.
Coffee Grounds as Fertiliser
Using coffee grounds for gardening doesn’t end with compost. Many folks opt to place grounds straight onto the soil and use it as a fertiliser too. The factor to keep in mind here is that whereas grounds add nitrogen to your compost, they will not instantly add nitrogen to your soil.
The advantage of using coffee grounds as a fertiliser is that it adds organic material to the soil, which improves drainage, water retention and aeration within the soil. The used coffee grounds can also facilitate microorganisms which help plants thrive in addition to attracting earthworms.
Many people feel that coffee grounds raise the acid level (or lower the pH) of soil, which is good for acid-loving plants. However this is often only true for unwashed coffee grounds. “Fresh grounds are acidic. Used grounds are neutral.” If you rinse your used coffee grounds, they’re going to have a close to neutral pH scale of 6.5 and will not have an effect on the acid levels of the soil.
To use coffee grounds as fertiliser, work the grounds into the soil around your plants. Leftover diluted coffee also works well for this purpose.
Other Uses for Used Coffee Grounds in Gardens
Coffee grounds can even be utilised in your garden for other things.
- Many gardeners like to make use os used coffee grounds as a mulch for their plants.
- Other uses for coffee grounds include using it to keep slugs and snails off your plants. The theory is that the caffeine in the coffee grounds negatively affects these pests, so they avoid the soil where coffee grounds are found.
- Some gardeners also claim that coffee grounds on the soil is a cat repellent and will prevent cats from using your flower and vegetable beds as a litter box.
- You can also use coffee grounds as worm food if you like to vermicompost with a worm bin. Worms love coffee grounds.
Using Fresh Coffee Grounds
Lots of people ask about using fresh grounds in their gardens. while it’s not always recommended, it shouldn’t be an issue in some situations.
For instance, you’ll sprinkle fresh grounds around acidophilous plants like azaleas, hydrangeas, blueberries, and lilies. Several vegetables like slightly acidic soil, however tomatoes generally don’t respond well to the addition of coffee grounds. Root crops, like radishes and carrots, on the other hand, respond favourably – particularly once mixed with the soil at planting time.
The use of fresh grounds are thought to suppress weeds too, having some allelopathic properties, of which adversely affects tomato plants. One more reason why it ought to be used with care. That being said, some fungal pathogens might be suppressed as well.
Sprinkling dry, fresh grounds around plants (and on top of soil) helps deter some pests same just like used grounds. While it doesn’t absolutely eliminate them, it does appear to assist with keeping cats, rabbits and slugs away, minimising their damage to the garden. As previously mentioned, this is often thought to flow from to the caffeine content.
Instead of the caffeine found in fresh, unbrewed coffee grounds, which may have an adverse impact on plants, you might choose to used decaf coffee or just apply fresh grounds minimally to avoid any problems.
Coffee grounds and gardening go together naturally. Whether you’re composting with coffee grounds or using used coffee grounds in the yard, you may notice that coffee can provide your garden as much of a boost for you garden as it can for you.
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