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What gardener doesn’t enjoy spending a relaxing morning or evening sipping a cup of coffee or tea as they take in the beauty of their colorful garden? In my opinion, it has to be the perfect way to begin the day.
Did you know your plants also enjoy a good cup of coffee, too? Well, they actually prefer coffee grounds. Utilizing used coffee, as well as tea, can produce wonderful benefits for your garden, not to mention for the environment by diverting material away from landfills.
Here are some suggestions on how to make good use of coffee and tea:
- Mix your coffee grounds and old tea bags in a compost bin. The filters break down quickly so toss them in as well. Coffee grounds have a carbon to nitrogen ratio of 20:1 and should be treated as green material. It is important to keep the coffee grounds to no more than 25% of the pile to keep the carbon to nitrogen ratio in balance. Do not worry about making the compost to acidic; the composting microbes will neutralize the pH.
- Use your used grounds in a worm-composting bin. Worms love the grounds and all that caffeine will make them work faster. (Not scientifically proven but caffeine makes me work faster, so why not?)
- Till coffee grounds directly into the top 6-8 inches of soil when preparing new planting beds as a means of adding organic matter to the soil. The grounds improve the soil texture while acting as a slow release fertilizer.
- Throw grounds on the surface of the garden to discourage slugs; caffeine is toxic to them. Although the caffeine concentration of your old coffee ground may not be strong enough to kill the slugs, it will certainly repel them from your garden.
- Use coffee grounds anywhere you have problems with ants; they hate coffee and will avoid areas treated with it.
- Even though the brewing process removes most of the acidity, spread grounds around the roots of acid-loving plants, such as like azaleas, blueberries and hydrangeas, for a little nutritional boost.
- Dilute coffee grounds with water at a rate of ½ lb coffee to 5 gallons of water for a fast acting fertilizer.
- Use grounds as planting bed mulch.
- Not a coffee drinker? Don’t worry local coffee shops give away used grounds; all you have to do is ask.
Be aware that the finely ground espresso grounds can be a problem; they have a tendency to cake on the surface and in turn, block water and light from the plant roots. Make sure the grounds are broken up or mixed into the soil.
On that note, I think I will grab another cup of coffee. My plants are hungry!
|Find a new compost bin for your coffee and tea at Garden.com!