Java, Joe, Espresso: By Any Name, Coffee Grounds in the Garden are a Veritable Genie

coffee grounds in the garden

coffee grounds in the gardenThere seems to be a new opinion about the efficacy of coffee in our diets every week – it’s bad for you, it’s good for you, yes no maybe so…

But one thing is certain, whether you drink coffee or not, if you can get your hands on the used coffee grounds of as many people as possible for your gardens, it’s all good.

We accomplish this through a local fellow who collects grounds from all around town and then offers them out to gardeners at a completely crazy $1.50 for 4 lb. bucket full.  He says it is a labor of love to keep them out of the landfill and at these prices we have to agree.

Coffee Grounds in the Garden

So what do coffee grounds do for the garden? In short: lots!

They are an excellent high source of nitrogen, containing as much nitrogen by weight as chicken poop but in a form that will not burn the plants.

They are the best ever slug repellant we know of: simply surround your plants with a nice fat ring of coffee grounds right up to the stem and no slug will venture forth onto that ground. Or, if you are short enough grounds to cover the entire garden area needing protection, brew up a pot and make a spray of it – you can use it warm (not hot!) and spray the leaves of all your precious veggies just at dusk.  Slugs and snails not only do not like the grounds, they also cannot abide the caffeine, and a spray will keep them off those leaves you spray.  Warming: if you do this and only spray a part of the garden do not be surprised if the slugs move into a new section of the garden in search of non-caffeinated dining opportunities.

Coffee grounds also speed up composting processes in the compost bin.  And yes, they count in the green, or nitrogen based balance of the compost even if they are brown, so balance them with carbon material like straw, newspaper, sawdust etc.

Finally, as if all this was not enough, coffee grounds are an amazing attractant for earth worms. Don’t believe me? Just start dumping your daily grounds in one spot in the back yard and watch how quickly it becomes an earth worm mecca. You’ll be a believer in no time.

For those souls looking to expand their use of coffee grounds in the garden, word is that most coffee shops will happily give away their used grounds rather than send them to the landfill – a double bonus for you, the coffee shop and your local community – so get daring and go ask for some of the ‘brown gold’ from your local barista!


Starbucks – Grounds for Your Garden:

National Geographic – Benefits of Coffee as Compost in a Garden:  

Readers Comments (3)

  1. I’m not a coffee drinker, but I would like to get my hands on some coffee grounds. I’ll check at a coffee shop I drive by everyday.

  2. Thanks very much for your recent comment. It’s nice to know that you enjoy my site. Thanks also for this information on coffee grounds. I recently started keeping a plot at a community garden here in Seattle. I think coffee grounds will be great.

  3. I have been doing this for a number of years. I take all of the grounds I can get my hands on.


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