Dec 032011

Coffee Grounds have been used as soil conditioner and compost additive for hundreds of years, and in our modern society they are available in almost limitless quantities. Coffee grounds have about the same amount of nitrogen as grass clippings – 2% or so, meaning they heat up quickly when added to compost and help turn the entire pile into a beautiful dark rich soil.

They are also very suitable for the worm farm, with those little guys loving used coffee grounds. I have used these in up to 70% of their total feed, with excellent results.

Certain garden pests have difficulty coming into contact with coffee grounds, including snails, slugs, and ants, something that has been observed by gardeners for many years.

I’ve been a big user of coffee grounds these past 18 months, and once I got to 5 tonnes I stopped counting. You will find that the grounds quickly return to the soil, and in the process provides you with an effective and cost free way to add organic material into your garden.

Where to Find Coffee Grounds?
Your local café or office is the place to get them, and you will be doing them a favour by taking them away. The only hard part is getting them home.

A typical café will dispose of 50 kilos of spent coffee grounds per week, or about the size of a traditional garbage bin.

You only need a group of 5 people to be able to handle that amount without too much trouble, and you will be well on the way to improving your soil quality while reducing landfill.

Reducing the amount of coffee grounds that go to landfill is a really good thing to be involved with – Coffee grounds that go to landfill are exposed to anaerobic conditions where they help create methane (a destructive greenhouse gas).

So using coffee grounds is not only a win for your garden, but also for our general environment.

How to get Involved
If you want to learn more about how to make a difference, visit the Ground to Ground site – for everything to do with using coffee grounds for gardening.

SGA Staff love their coffee!
If you phone the SGA office you may hear the whoosh of the espresso machine in the background (or else it is the sound of our brains in overdrive!). We have been collecting coffee ground for 2 years now and including them in our composting systems. Mary Trigger, CEO and coffee tragic says, “My compost worms have never been happier or more energetic! If I don’t give them their weekly dose of caffeine I find them at my back door clamoring to get into my kitchen. The quality of my compost is excellent with all my plants quivering at the sight of a spade of compost!.”

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  2 Responses to “Using Coffee Grounds in your Garden”

  1. Thanks for the advice Ottilie. They are great for most plants, and can be applied directly to the soil in moderate amounts or larger volumes via compost.

  2. Tradition has it that geraniums absolutely love coffee grounds. So, if you love your geraniums, let them have a coffee break!

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