Organic Gardening with Coffee Grounds

Summer is upon us and that means gardening. And whether you have a few pots of tomatoes on the patio or a large plot of ground, sustainable agriculture is the way to go. Organic gardening is fun and it is healthy. And organic gardening with coffee grounds is a great way to return mulch and antioxidants to the soil. Gardening Knowhow discusses composting with coffee grounds.

The benefit of using coffee grounds as a fertilizer is that it adds organic material to the soil, which improves drainage, water retention and aeration in the soil. The used coffee grounds will also help microorganisms beneficial to plant growth thrive as well as attract earthworms.

Many people feel that coffee grounds lower the pH (or raise the acid level) of soil, which is good for acid loving plants. But this is only true for unwashed coffee grounds. “Fresh coffee grounds are acidic. Used coffee grounds are neutral.” If you rinse your used coffee grounds, they will have a near neutral pH of 6.5 and will not affect the acid levels of the soil.

To use coffee grounds as fertilizer, work the coffee grounds into the soil around your plants. Leftover diluted coffee works well like this too.

Besides adding nitrogen to the soil, improving water retention and improving drainage there are more benefits to organic gardening with coffee grounds.

Keeping Pests Away

Some gardeners work used coffee grounds in to the soil around favorite plants to keep slugs and snails away and even deter cats from wandering through the garden and using it as a litter box. Coffee grounds in the soil also appear to attract earthworms which further improve the quality of your garden soil.

What Soil Nutrients Come with the Coffee Grounds?

According to Sunset coffee grounds, from Starbucks, contain phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, and copper as well as nitrogen according to a coffee soil compost test.

Based on the overall chemistry and physical properties of the coffee grounds, they can be utilized at rates similar to other organic amendments when used in amending mineral soils. These data indicate that 25-35 percent by volume coffee grounds can be blended with mineral soils of any type to improve structure of those soils.

Only a small portion of the nitrogen in coffee grounds is readily available for the plants. Thus you won’t get a rapid increase in nitrogen availability but you will get a slow release over time.

Coffee: the Multipurpose Food

Organic coffee is healthy and good for you. The sustainable agriculture that produces organic coffee is good for the environment. Used coffee grounds find their way into beauty products and as we recently wrote organic coffee for hair is a good thing.

But now that gardening season is upon us it is time to return coffee grounds to the soil from whence they came. Organic gardening with coffee grounds works for a few patio plants and it works for a large garden. Till in to a depth of about six inches. Rinse with water beforehand if you want to avoid increasing soil acidity and forget rinsing if you want to acidify your soil. You can get a soil test by taking a few ounces of your garden soil to your country agricultural extension agent and then you will know which way to go.

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