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How To Use Coffee Grounds To Power Your Garden, Annuals & Perennials

Did you know that when you use coffee grounds in your vegetable garden, it can help to power your plants like never before?

The same can be said for putting them in flowerbeds, hanging baskets and container plants as well. And while on the subject, they also happen to be pretty terrific in a compost pile too.

In fact, when it comes to helping out just about any living plant or organism, coffee grounds rock! Who knew the by-product of such a popular morning beverage has so much value beyond waking us up?

The Power of Using Coffee Grounds

It is amazing how quickly you can improve your soil with a few simple organic practices. Working in compost to the soil is one of the best for sure. As is adding in organic materials like shredded leaves and aged manure.

And, of course, there is always the huge benefit in growing a cover crop every fall.

use cofee grounds on plants
The power of the left over remains of your morning coffee on plants is simply amazing. We use our grounds all over the landscape to add power to our plants and soil.

But one of the easiest ways of all to help build your soil and power your plants is simply by using coffee grounds. And best of all, they are completely free.

In fact, even if you don’t drink coffee you can get them at no cost. Many local coffee shops are more than willing to save their grounds for gardeners. All you have to do is ask!

We have had local coffee shops save them for us for years. Some even create lists in their stores to dole out the spent grounds to as many gardeners as possible. And yes, while we are on the subject, we are talking about used coffee grounds – not the fresh version. After all, that could get bit pricey for sure!

So What Makes Coffee Grounds So Great?

First and foremost, coffee grounds are an excellent, slow-release source of nitrogen. And nitrogen is a key component in making flowers flower, and vegetable plants produce.

But in addition to providing nitrogen, coffee grounds add incredible organic material and matter to the soil. All of which helps to improve the overall soil structure.

compost pile additions
When placing in a compost pile, the grounds and filter can both go in. Bleach free filters are also biodegradable.

That results in better drainage, aeration and increased water retention for the plants growing in the soil. And not just garden plants, but flowers, herbs and more. Here is a look below at 5 great ways to use coffee grounds in your landscape.

Using Coffee Grounds In The Garden

We use coffee grounds in a whole slew of ways in our vegetable garden.

When we initially plant, we add a few tablespoons of grounds (along with worm castings, crushed egg shells and compost) to every planting hole. This little concoction helps provide nutrients directly to the plants as they grow. See Our Article: 3 Big Garden Planting Tips

But it goes far beyond using in just the planting holes. We also put coffee grounds on the soil surface around plants. This serves two great purposes.

First, it provides a slow-release of nutrients every time it rains or you water. The nutrients leach through the soil from the moisture, helping to provide power to the plants via their roots.

But the coffee grounds on the surface also help to repel slugs as well.

Slugs delicate skins are easily cut as they crawl across the sharp edges of the grounds. So placing them around the main stalk helps provide a ring of protection, and in the process, helps keep plants safe.

Although it might not be 100 percent effective as a deterrent, every little bit helps for sure!

How To Use Coffee Grounds In Hanging Baskets & Containers

Coffee grounds are an excellent slow-release fertilizer for planters and hanging baskets too. In fact, it is one of our secret weapons to keep our container plants going strong all season long.

Along with worm castings, we add a few tablespoons of coffee grounds to all of our pots and containers every few weeks. To do so, we simple sprinkle them on the surface of the soil of each container or basket.

freezing coffee grounds
One of the best ways to collect and keep coffee grounds is in a zip lock bag in the freezer. It keeps them easily and without worry of them molding.

When the plants are watered, the nutrients from the coffee grounds slowly leach into the soil. As they do, the plant’s roots soak them up, and the magic follows.

How To Use Coffee Grounds In Flower Beds

Much like with our vegetable plants, we use our grounds when we plant annuals in our flowerbeds.

A few tablespoons in each planting hole helps to power the plants. And it continues to help build the soil up each year as well. In addition to the trace nutrients the grounds provide, they help to add structure to the soil. And that structure is important for good drainage, and providing air channels for water and nutrients to flow in.

In addition, coffee grounds can also be added around the base of each plant as a slow release fertilizer, just like with the garden and container plants. Again, every time you water or it rains, the nutrients flow down into the soil. They also help again with protecting against slugs.

How To Use Grounds On Perennials, Shrubs and Trees

Yep, you guessed it. Coffee grounds can help as you plant perennials, shrubs and bushes too!

hanging baskets - coffee grounds
Using spent grounds in hanging baskets and containers is a great way to add nutrients to your plants – for free!

Adding a few tablespoons when planting perennials helps add nutrients and soil structure for long-term growth. For larger bushes or shrubs, we simply add a few coffee filters and grounds all at once around the planting hole.

The filters are bio-degradable. And as the grounds break down over time, they give back nutrients to the roots. It is the ultimate trench composting method made easy! See: How To Trench Compost

How To Use Coffee Grounds In The Compost Pile

In the spring, summer and fall, we use our coffee grounds in the landscape. But in the winter, we use them to power our compost pile!

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They are an excellent “green source” addition to a compost pile. As a green source, coffee grounds help to heat up the pile fast. This means quicker decomposition, and a faster path to more compost.

Simply throw in your filter and grounds – and watch the magic happen!

Here is to using coffee grounds in your garden and flowerbeds this year, and to your best growing season ever! Happy Gardening -Jim and Mary.

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