It’s no secret we love coffee, well at least I do and if you’re reading this then you must have some degree of love for it. Living in the Pacific Northwest for almost 16 years of my life, you learn quickly about organic gardening. One of the tricks I learned was how to recycle used coffee grounds.
It helped that my mom also had her own compost she used to grow an amazing garden. I’m also convinced that her compost is the main reason that no plant under mom’s watch dies. Me on the other hand, I’m lucky to keep my spider plant alive. It’s probably because I haven’t given any of my plants coffee.
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Wait. Wut. Coffee?
Yep, coffee. Just like you your garden LOVES coffee. I discovered this amazing organic magic secret back in the early 2000s when I was tending to my beloved hydrangeas. After adding used coffee grounds to the soil, the colors would actually change on the petals!
So how does this magic happen?
Coffee grounds add additional acidity to the ground. It’s this chemical reaction that allows the plant to absorb additional aluminum in the soil. The affect of this absorption creates a magnificent blue color. Now, don’t go thinking you can turn your bright pink blossoms into blue overnight; but you can change them to a purple color and make a pale blue even bluer.
Other Ways to Recycle Coffee Grounds
Coffee grounds are like the superfood of the garden. If you’re striving to keep your garden organic, coffee is a great way to keep your garden pesticide free. Here are some ways to recycle coffee grounds in the garden:
- Add to your compost – make sure you’re using unbleached filters (if you use them) so you can just through the filter and grounds right into your compost pile. Adding grounds to your compost makes a haven for worms, keeps the ideal temperature of your compost, and creates a nitrogen rich soil for planting. Recent studies have shown compost that contained coffee grounds produced the fewest greenhouse gases and the best quality.
- Mix for mulch – adding grounds to your mulching agent will give a touch of color to your flower beds along with adding vital nutrients like magnesium, calcium and potassium among many other nutrients. Avoid using all grounds in your beds because they don’t allow the max amount of water to the roots.
- Slug and snail repellant – the high acid content along with the gritty texture will help protect your plants from these garden pests. Just line your beds with them and it will deter snails and slugs during the wet months.
- Fertilizer – make a coffee “tea” by steeping two cups of grounds with 5 gallons of water overnight and use as a fertilizer. Spray or ‘feed’ to your plants in place of your store bought fertilizer.
Where Can I Find Used Grounds?
This might seem pretty obvious to those of us that consume, oh, a pot or more a day. #dontjudge But seriously, if you’re not a coffee drinker, no sweat. Local roasters would be happy to save some for you! Organic is best, but really any coffee grounds will do. Or better yet, get to know your neighbors and hang a sign on your mailbox or at the local grocery store bulletin board (if those even exist anymore). I’m sure many folks will gladly save them for you and who knows, maybe you can start a community garden! Stay tuned because I’ve got some more ideas up my sleeve on how to recycle used coffee grounds coming up!
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What are some creative ways you’ve used coffee grounds? Share in the comments!
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