It may be surprising to learn that one secret to success for hardy shrubbery, lush vines and flowers, and high-producing vegetable gardens can be found in your morning cup of coffee. Gardeners everywhere are smelling the coffee and discovering the benefit of coffee grounds in the garden.
Mix those used grounds into the soil around acid-loving plants like azaleas or magnolias.
There’s no need to start brewing an extra pot of coffee for your garden. Used or “spent” coffee grounds are acidic and high in the nutrients your garden requires. Mix spent grounds directly into soil around acid-loving plants, such as rhododendrons, azaleas, hydrangeas, camellias and magnolias and they’ll respond with splendor.
Your vegetable garden will appreciate the valuable nutrients in coffee such as nitrogen and potassium. Apply the coffee grounds as a light mulch to fast- growing vegetables-don’t apply the mulch too thickly or you could create a moisture and air barrier that can cause fungal growth. Mix grounds with brown leaves and grass clippings or lime to help balance the pH of the soil. Check in with a gardening expert for additional recommendations.
Coffee grounds help accelerate the composting process. The grounds have a carbon-nitrogen (C-N) ratio of 20-1 and act as green materials when added to a compost pile.
Coffee grounds should be no more than 25 percent of a compost pile’s content. You can counter the acidity of coffee grounds by adding one teaspoon of lime or wood chips for every five pounds of coffee grounds in your compost pile.
Worms enjoy their morning coffee too. If you have a worm bin, feed worms with coffee grounds combined with brown material.
To satisfy your garden’s coffee craving, try recycling your spent coffee grounds when you make coffee.
Starbucks Coffee Co. also packages its spent coffee grounds in recycled bags and offers them free of charge on a first-come, first-serve basis in stores across the U.S and Canada.
Starbucks coffee grounds recycling program is a grass roots effort that was started by customers more than six years ago. Spent coffee grounds are complimentary upon request at Starbucks retail locations and are available year-round as they are generated. Grounds are packaged in reused coffee bags and sealed with the Starbucks Coffee Grounds as Compost sticker.
“Many consumers are unaware of the fact that by-products from the kitchen make excellent additions to compost,” said Ginny Black, communications chairperson of the United States Composting Council. “Coffee grounds are rich in nutrients and beneficial for any backyard compost effort.
The 9-year-old program, known as Grounds for Your Garden, keeps coffee grounds out of landfills and provides a nearly endless supply of grounds to the ever increasing number of gardeners who claim coffee as their key to success. Black says, “The U.S. Composting council applauds Starbucks for their environmentally responsible donation and encourages consumers to take advantage of this generous opportunity.”