My long-year friend and zealous gardener Polly from Java, said to me the other day that mixing coffee grounds with the planting soil is one of the best ways to boost-and-refresh your garden jewels. It makes sense that just like coffee works for our refreshing, it can also work for our plants, right?
So, the next round you finish your aromatic morning coffee, think over before dumping the grounds!
Truly, coffee grounds can do magic in your garden though not necessarily in the way you would expect.
And let’s make it clear: Coffee grounds do not deliver abundant nitrogen contents, and do not lower soil’s pH value either. But they do enrich your garden soil with needed nutrients, compost pile and help in other ways.
So, what are the correct ways to use these grounds in your garden?
Read the guidance article below for complete details on the subject.
1. Coffee grounds improve plants’ nutrition
The coffee grounds contain only 2% of nitrogen, but plants cannot use even this small content until it breaks down. So, as these grounds gradually decompose, the low nitrogen level present in them acts as a long-acting fertilizer. The coffee grounds also provide healthy little amounts of other basic plant nutrients such as phosphorus and potassium, then secondary nutrients like magnesium and copper. The potassium, magnesium and copper portions are used by plants almost right away!
The coffee grounds also contain some calcium, manganese, zinc and iron, but the level of these nutrients is too low to have fast effect on the plants’ growth and development.
2. Coffee grounds in soil
The coffee grounds have long been thought to lower the soil pH, but, in fact, most of their acidity goes straight from beans to brew. Laboratory analyses show that they are slightly acidic-to-neutral, and make a minor-to-no impact on the soil’s pH.
But who cares about the acidity? Coffee grounds improve the soil’s structure directly and real quick. Barren soil, which is low in organic matter benefits from scratch when coffee grounds are profusely applied.
The coffee grounds in the soil also trigger the seed germination and growth of a new root and plant. What is more advantageous is that they prevent soil-borne diseases including wilts, fungal rots, and some bacterial pathogens too.
3. Coffee grounds compost
If you are just about to add some remaining coffee grounds to your compost piles, preferably restrict it to the range of 20-25% since higher levels than this can suppress beneficial microorganisms. So, do not overdo it! The more, the better, does not apply here! Rather, you ought to balance your compost pile with other organic materials like the residue of grass clippings, dry leaves or similar natural composting materials.
4. Coffee grounds used for mulching
The coffee ground mulching is becoming ever so popular due to the claims that they deter pests and hungry pets, prevent weeds and aerate the soil as well.
However, you should know that the coffee grounds, being fine in texture, can be used as good mulch only in combination with coarse organic mulches. If they are used in a thick layer on their own, the coffee grounds can dry and compact the soil, and keep moisture out, not in. So, instead of getting the benefit of them, you will achieve the unwanted opposite – you will bring harm your plants!
In order to use coffee grounds for mulching, always put thin, 1cm (half-inch) layer of coffee grounds with a layer of coarsely-textured decomposed organic materials. Fallen tree leaves and old tree barks, peel compost (that is left-over peels from vegetables and fruits used in your dishes), and garden twigs work best to form a layer of mulch, which is favorable and permeable.
Note: If you find yourself short of used coffee grounds, kindly ask your nearby coffee shops to give you these, free of charge if possible. And if are hooked on coffee, you are likely to have too much coffee grounds to mulch, so you can deep-freeze these remaining to use them when needed.