I have always added my own spent coffee grounds and filters to my compost. Now, I’m putting the grounds directly into the garden.
I recently met someone from Ground to Ground, an organization the promotes a union between neighborhood gardeners and their local coffee shops, to keep more waste out of the landfill. I learned that coffee can be applied directly to the garden, as a top or side dressing on acid loving plants, (she suggested that garden soil can be comprised of up to 30% coffee grounds.) It contains nitrogen, magnesium and calcium which are all great for the soil and plants. And, spent coffee grounds are free.
Armed with my newly learned information about coffee grounds, I left the Green Corn Project event, where she had come to help us transplant seedlings for future garden installations, and headed straight for the Starbucks about a half a mile from my house. Sure enough, there was a bucket near the front door with two 5 pound bags of spent coffee grounds just waiting to meet my garden. and left with two neatly bundled bags of spent coffee grounds.
It felt too easy, really, just picking up free fertilizer from a store just up the street. I had done some research, on which plants would likely tolerate and benefit from a direct application of coffee grounds. I used the grounds to top dress my strawberry plants, citrus trees, and the onion beds. I applied them pretty liberally, but not completely covering all the soil. So far, so good. With our strange Springlike weather, I hesitate to attribute much of the new growth, flower buds, and overall health of these plants, to the coffee, but they are happy and don’t seem to hate it and show no signs of burning.
Happy Gardening! Pick up some free grounds with your morning coffee next time.
*If you are interested in getting involved with a cool non-profit, that installs gardens for folks who could not otherwise afford one, or be able to physically install one, check out Green Cork Project, a grass roots organization, always looking for more volunteers. We have workshops and dig-ins coming up, where you can learn about gardening, maintenance, and help others as well. It’s a great organization. Learn more at http://www.greencornproject.org.