Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Uses for Coffee in the Garden

We had our calender committee meeting at a Starbucks last night. I walked away with about 20 lbs of coffee grounds. Usually I just dump them in the compost pile and give a little to the worms. I did a little research and here is what I came up with.

1. Coffee grounds have an NPK of 2.-.36-.67
2. Coffee grounds are acidic. My soil is alkaline so this is perfect.
3. Coffee ground repel slugs and snails. Maybe, I should sprinkle some on the deck. Earlier this summer, I walked out on our deck and stepped on a slug. Horrible, the stuff of nightmares.
4. Worms like coffee grounds.
5. Coffee absorbs odor. My mom had a horrible smell in her house. We never did figure out what it was. Anyway, we put out bowls of coffee and it really helped.
6. Coffee has a 20:1 nitrogen to carbon ratio. This is about the same as grass clipping so it should help heat up a compost pile.
7. Taking the coffee grounds from a coffee bar or restaurant keeps them out of the landfill and helps reduce production of the greenhouse gas methane. Methane is 25 times worse for the environment than carbon dioxide.

Go get yourself some coffee grounds. It makes your compost smell good.


  1. Great tips Debbie. I put my coffee grounds each day in my compost bin. I also put them around my Azaleas because my soil is alkaline too. I will have to look into asking my nearby Starbucks for coffee grounds the next time I'm there. :)

  2. I have long used it as an air freshener. It works great in refrigerators (instead of baking soda) and coolers that have become musty smelling. Put ground coffee or coffee beans in a large container, and sit your candles on them (either alone, or in their own glass containers) as the wax warms, it will warm the coffee and release a light scent. I didn't know about the used grounds being valuable, too. I don't have a compost bin, but can sprinkle them in my flower beds.

  3. pgl, do it. They are good garden stuff.

    Nola, I never thought about using them in the fridge. That is a fantastic idea about the coolers. Wish I had thought of it a earlier this summer. One of our got really stinky. Thanks.

  4. How interesting Deb. I never knew coffee grounds are so good at heating up the compost. Now I really want to go hunt down some bags of it! We have rather acidic soil here so I have stayed away from adding them directly to the soil. I also never knew they can be used as air freshener. Wow.

  5. Wow, Aunt Debbi! I am SO jealous of those 20 pounds of coffee grounds I can't even stand it! We compost our grounds (and filters), and of course the earthworms love them, but sheesh. Maybe that's finally a good use for those wretched Starbucks (and Dunkin' Donuts)!

  6. Great stuff deb - we will pass it on on our next link dump.

    I like to drink it myself. Another great use. ;)

  7. Thank you so much for this information. I am a coffe drinker and knew coffee was good in the garden, but not sure about the details. I am printing you post for my garden journal.

  8. I love coffee grounds. The last place I worked used to give me a big bag of coffee grounds every day from the coffee shop. Imagine how big a bag it was as there were 1,000 workers there. I got very fit as I then had to carry the bag to the train station for my commute home. Imagine all the strange looks I used to get. But I didn't care, because I knew just how much my veggies liked the grounds and how much the slugs hated it!

  9. Cynthia, If you compost them they return to a neutral ph.

    Hi ofb, yes finally a use for that expensive freaking coffee.

    James, I drink it too, guess I should have said so.

    Hi meadowview thymes, glad to help

    Hi vp, I used to collect the coffee grounds from the office I worked at. Now I stay home and have to find them wherever I can. I wish I could have seen you dragging those bags on the train:)

  10. Three cheers for coffee! I love it for all the reasons you mentioned, but drinking it is my favorite! :) Air freshener? That's a new!

  11. Hi lisa, yep is works great. I was glad Nola suggested using it in the fridge and stinky coolers.