Coffee is Not Just for Drinking - Use it in Your Garden

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Coffee is Not Just for Drinking – Use it in Your Garden

Coffee is Not Just for Drinking - Use it in Your Garden

Coffee is very popular as a hot or cold beverage. It’s favorite to many for the start of their day. While sipping from a double macchiato is popular, not many people know about using coffee grounds in your garden. Coffee is used by many gardeners; they use coffee grounds in composting piles to create rich, organic soil and as a fertilizer. Here are some of the ways you can use coffee in your garden.

Fertilizing with Coffee

The benefits of gardening using coffee grounds are not limited to compost only. Many gardeners prefer placing the coffee grounds directly in the soil in order to use as a good fertilizer. The important thing to remember is that while coffee adds or nitrogen to compost, it will not be added immediately to the soil. The main advantage of adding coffee grounds to your soil is that it adds organic material which improves water retention, aeration, and drainage. They will also help microorganisms thrive.

Microorganisms are beneficial to the plant growth and attract earthworms as well. Adding coffee grounds to soil lowers the pH level and raises the acid level which is beneficial for plants that grow well in acidic soil. However, this is true only for the unwashed coffee grounds. Fresh coffee grounds are acidic and older ones are actually neutral.

If you choose to rinse coffee grounds, they will have neutral pH levels of 6.5, and little effect on the acidic levels of your soil.

Watering Plants with Diluted Coffee

Coffee grounds have about a volume of two percent of nitrogen in them. Nitrogen is an important component required for the growth of the plants. Similarly, a cup of brewed coffee contains a considerable amount of potassium and magnesium that are useful as building blocks for plant growth.

Watering your plants periodically with brewed coffee offers another way to fertilize them. Watering with coffee works best with a diluted brew and no other additives. The pH of coffee is usually somewhere between 5.2 and 6.9, depending on the preparation and variety. The majority of plants grow better in neutral to slightly acidic pH (5.8 – 7). Tap water is mildly alkaline because it has a pH level above 7. Therefore, using diluted coffee to water your plants will help increase the acidity or pH of your soil.

Conventional chemical fertilizers, allowing decomposition of the leaves, and adding sulfur are other methods used to increase pH levels of the soil. Organic gardeners can obtain the same results by diluting brewed coffee (1 part coffee to 1 part water). Cool brewed coffee and dilute it using the same quantity of cool water.

Watering with diluted coffee is as simple as watering with the plain water. However, you should avoid watering plants that are not suitable for acidic soil. Also, remember that you shouldn’t always water with diluted coffee because plants will get sick or die if your soil becomes very acidic. The first sign of overly acidic soil is yellowing of plant leaves.

If you see yellowing leaves, abandon watering with coffee and consider shifting the plant in a container. Coffee works wonders on various types of indoor flowering plants and outdoor plants. Diluted coffee improves plant health and promotes growth.

Other Garden Uses

Coffee has other garden uses when used according to the following directions:

Acid-Loving Plants: You can try sprinkling fresh coffee grounds around many acid-loving plants such as hydrangeas, azaleas, lilies, and blueberries. There are vegetables that are ideal for acidic soil, but tomatoes do not respond very well to coffee grounds being added. On the other hand, root crops such as carrots and radishes respond quite well, especially when you mix grounds with soil while planting.

Weeds: Fresh coffee grounds are believed to have the ability to suppress the growth of weeds because of their allelopathic properties. Many fungal pathogens can be suppressed using fresh coffee grounds.

Deterring Pests: Sprinkling fresh coffee grounds on top of the soil and around plants helps to deter many pests. While it will not eliminate them, it will help in keeping rabbits, slugs, and cats at bay and will minimize the damage that can be done by them.

Gardening and coffee grounds go together quite naturally. Whether you are using fresh brewed coffee or composting with grounds, you will give your garden a coffee pick-me-up, just like you get from your morning cup.

Coffee is Not Just for Drinking Use it in Your Garden

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About Paula Atwell

Paula Atwell is a freelance writer who admires beautiful flowers and a good cup of coffee in the morning.

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