Your morning cup of coffee can help you to not only start your day off right, but in the garden as well. The grounds used to make it have many important properties that are ideal for both plants and soil. By using your coffee grounds in the garden you’ll be able to take advantage of them while cutting down on waste.
Using Coffee Grounds As Fertilizer
You can use your coffee grounds as an all natural fertilizer for your plants by adding it directly to the soil. Grounds shouldn’t be considered a substitute for a nitrogen fertilizer but instead as a natural supplement.
Adding anywhere from a sprinkling to an inch of grounds to your soil is considered safe for plants. You don’t want to add more since once they dry out grounds can block both the water and oxygen intake of the plants’ roots.
And while grounds do a have a high nitrogen content, they will need to decompose first so that the nitrogen can be released. So when you add coffee grounds to soil, be sure to cover them with mulch, up to four inches, to help them break down as fast as possible.
Unlike what you may have heard once they are used, the pH of coffee grounds is close to neutral. So you won’t have to worry about them making your soil too acidic. (If you are looking to add some acidity you may want to place used tea bags in the garden.)
All of your plants should benefit from their added nitrogen. But if you’re concerned you can always start with a small amount of grounds and work your way up to more with each application, if you don’t notice any negative effects.
Add Them To The Compost
Placing coffee grounds in the compost is an excellent way to increase its quality and structure. The high nitrogen content means it is considered a “green,” compost material.
Just make sure to keep the percentage of coffee grounds in the compost at about 20% of the total, or under, for best results. And don’t forget to add your paper coffee filters as well. Grounds are a favorite food of worms, which will help to break down your compost even more.
By adding them to your bin or pile you will also be giving the grounds the adequate time needed for them to decompose. That way when your coffee compost is added to your garden soil later on, the nitrogen will be readily available for your plants.
Snails and slugs can cause serious damage to gardens. Luckily however, both of these backyard pests are sensitive to caffeine. In fact spray solutions made up of from one to two percent caffeine can be very effective in killing them. While grounds contain less caffeine, they still have enough to work as repellent.
Simply spread the grounds lightly around the base of the plants you’d like to protect. And when they reach the coffee grounds slugs and snails will slowly be on their way to find a meal somewhere else. Moles also happen to dislike caffeine. And placing coffee grounds in an active mole hole will deter them from coming back to it, at least temporarily.
While this could work in multiple holes at once, trying to use coffee grounds to get rid of ground moles permanently likely won’t be effective since they could just dig new ones. One of the more lesser-known uses of coffee grounds in the garden or yard is as an all-natural mosquito repellent.
Once dried out, you can place your used grounds in a bit of aluminum foil and light them. The burning grounds will have a strong smell and produce smoke which mosquitoes, along with wasps, and other insects dislike thus keeping them away when your relaxing outdoors.
As you can see there are many beneficial ways to use coffee grounds in the garden. So be sure to put them to good use after your morning cup, instead of throwing them out like everyone else.
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