If you are a coffee lover, and a gardener, you have probably looked at those coffee grounds as you throw them out, and think that there must be a way that these grounds can be of use. Here is some good news. Those coffee grounds are excellent for your garden in several ways. They not only aid in growth, but they can add an element of protection as well. If this information has you ready to drink in some more, then keep reading.
1. Compost additions
Your coffee grounds will give more nitrogen into your compost, and are easy to work in. Simply throw the grounds in, filter and all, as the filters are also biodegradable. No need to add to the landfill, you can add it into your compost and let your gardens benefit. Now, coffee grounds are a green compost material, so you will need to be sure to balance that green compost with the addition of brown compost as well for best results.
Not only can you put coffee in your compost as a way of adding to your garden, but you also can apply it directly to your garden iteslf as a fertilizer. The coffee is not a way to direct nitrogen into your soil, as that is added when it breaks down in your compost. But it is organic material, improving the drainage, aeration and ability to hold water, just as adding a mulch will. Worms are also attracted to the coffee grounds, and microorganisms that you want near your plants will love it as well. Go ahead and work it into your soil. If you have a half empty cup of coffee that gets cold while you are gardening, you can dilute it and pour it right on for a similar benefit!
3. Additional acid for the soil
Coffee grounds are well known to have a high acid content. You have plants such as tomatoes, rhododendrons and azaleas that love acidic soils. Perfect match! Let your coffee grounds soak for a while and then add this directly to the soil by these plants. Just pour it on. Not only will your plants benefit from the acid, but they will also love the added nutrition. Coffee is more acidic than tea, but this same process can be done with tea as well. As the coffee decomposes it will tend toward a neutral pH. Therefore it can be used in many areas.
If you are looking for a sheet mulch, dumping the grounds directly out in the desired area will meet the need. We know that the coffee is acidic, but if you test grounds on the soil, you will find that they range from mildly acidic to mildly alkeline, due to the decomposition of the coffee grounds. So, it can be used as a mulch around fruit trees, currants, blueberries and cane fruit. The coffee grounds are a bit more particular when you use them to mulch. You don’t want to pile it too thickly, as then it will mold, which is not what you want. Figure about a half inch layer will work as a mulch, and because it won’t mold then, it will let the microbes and worms work on decomposing it. Coffee grounds do break down rather rapidly, so you can add more fairly regularly.
5. Control of pests
Coffee grounds are a wonderful deterrent to those pesty bugs we don’t want around our plants. It may help you get up and moving when you don’t want to, but coffee will drive away things like ants, slugs and snails. You can place the coffee grounds around your plants to keep these bugs away.
6. Carrot growth stimulant
We know that the coffee grounds are great for plants that love acids, but they also seem to be very beneficial for carrots. When coffee grounds are added to carrot seed, they seem to give a boost that stimulates added growth, as well as keeping pests away from the young plants.
7. Helps avoid fungal disease
When you are growing seedlings, fungal growth is a thing to be avoided as it damages your young plants. Fungal rot will wilt and kill young plants. We know that the coffee grounds decompose rapidly, but it turns out that as it decomposes it has its own fungal colonies, and those out compete the fungal colonies you don’t want. The coffee colonies are stronger than other fungus colonies! So, coffee grounds used to mulch your seedlings can be very helpful.
We already know that worms are attracted to coffee grounds, but when you are vermicomposting, there is some debate about coffee grounds. Some people like to add the coffee grounds right to their worm soil, being sure to monitor the acidity level of the soil as you don’t want it too acidic for your worms. Some people believe that it will be harmful to the worms as it can be a difficult balance. Maybe give it a try and see what your worms think, if they like to be caffinated or not.
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