Gardening With Coffee: Using Coffee Grinds To Improve Your Garden

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We often stress over what we are going to use as compost in our garden. But did you know if you brew one cup of coffee every day, you already have a great source of fertilizer and compost for your backyard? 

According to many reports, homemade compost is much better than the mass-produced ones you buy from your local supermarket. The homemade compost contains all the necessary nutrients and minerals that help your plants grow stronger. 

Coffee in Compost

gardening with coffee

If you are determined to make compost using the coffee you usually throw away, you should start by storing the coffee waste in a separate bin. You cannot start the process of composting unless you have a significant amount of coffee waste. 

Know that coffee is a type of green compost material. This means that coffee is rich in nitrogen and calcium, magnesium, potassium, and other minerals. Other types of green compost material include vegetable & fruit scraps. 

The technique for making effective compost using coffee is to stick to a 4:1 ratio for brown and green compost material. We already know what green compost material is. As far as brown compost material is concerned, it includes newspapers and dry leaves. 

You have to stick to that ratio because if you add too much green compost material to the compost, it will start to smell. On the other hand, if you add too little, the compost will fail to trigger the heating process.

Fertilize With Coffee Grounds

gardening with coffee

Once the compost is ready, you are all set to sprinkle it in your garden. There are two primary ways you can apply compost in your garden. First, you can simply sprinkle the compost throughout the garden and let them sit there. Or, you can dig up the upper surface of the soil in your garden and mix the compost inside. 

Do not worry about the coffee compost damaging your highly vulnerable plants to acidity in the soil. The coffee compost is neutral on the pH scale (6.5-6.8). Also, when coffee is mixed with other brown compost materials, it quickly gives up nitrogen. 

It is advised that you do not use too much of this compost in your garden. Use in moderate amount every week. If you apply too much of this fertilizer on the ground, you will hinder the water from passing into the ground. 

There is one variation to this coffee compost – adding tea to it. Tea is another green compost material that can be used with coffee. Mix two cups of regular coffee grounds with 5 gallons of water, and add two cups of used tea leaves. Let the mixture sit for a day or two. 

You can apply this compost as a liquid fertilizer for your garden. If you have container plants in your home, you can also use this fertilizer for them. It also contains all the necessary minerals for leaves and stems, which means you can directly spray this compost on the leaves. 

Fresh Coffee Grounds for Acid-Loving Plants

gardening with coffee

As mentioned above, coffee compost using coffee grounds is low on acid, making this compost ideal for regular use. For example, if you are growing tomatoes in your garden, you don’t have to worry about using the coffee grounds for the soil. 

The low acid content is ideal for the expedited growth of tomato plants. Also, young plants and seedlings cannot absorb the strong caffeine and acid content from coffee compost. 

However, certain plants (carrots, lilies, radishes, blueberries) thrive on acid. If you have such plants in your garden, you might want to consider using the unbrewed coffee ground for the compost. 

If you bought an extra bag of coffee beans that have already started to turn stale, this might be a great idea for repurposing them. 

There is one drawback of using coffee compost. Both cats and dogs do not like the smell of coffee. You might notice them avoiding your backyard soon after you start applying this compost to your garden. 

If you have been using the backyard as a litterbox for your pets, you might want to use the compost less frequently. Replacing the existing litterbox with a new one is also an effective solution.    

Now let us talk about the advantages of using coffee compost in the garden. The first advantage is, it increases the water-holding capacity of the soil. This way, your plants are at a lower risk of dying due to the unavailability of water.

The second advantage of using coffee compost in the garden is it decreases the growth of weeds. This happens because coffee contains many plant-toxic elements. Another reason for this is the improved temperature inside the soil. According to research conducted by compost specialists, soil with 25% coffee compost is ideal for sustaining 140-160 degrees Fahrenheit temperature. 


There is another reason why you should consider using coffee waste for compost. According to a recent report, organic waste that includes fruit scraps and yard waste makes up 30% of all the waste sitting in landfills all over the USA. 

If people started using the organic waste and turned them into compost, they would be directly contributing to reducing the global greenhouse gas emission. How? Well, as the organic waste sits in the landfills, they start to decompose and release Methane.