We’re not claiming to be seasoned gardeners by any stretch of the imagination, but working around coffee all day every day has made us very thrifty to all its great uses. Whilst there’s a time and place for proper gardening products, who really has the mental and physical capacity to go to a faraway garden centre and lug back a sack of compost anymore? Not only can using your old coffee grounds help your garden look blooming gorgeous on a budget, but it’s a great way to cut down on waste – which we’re big advocates of too.
Whether you own a coffee shop or simply find yourself wondering what to do with the remnants in your filter coffee machine or cafetiere, we’ve listed our top 8 straightforward uses of leftover coffee grounds to make your garden summer ready.
1. Use as fertiliser
Did you know that coffee grounds contain essential nutrient nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus and other micronutrients? This essential blend of minerals is ideal to be used as a slow-release fertiliser for your plants – whether it be potted plants in your apartment or garden!
Using old coffee grounds as a fertiliser couldn’t be easier. Simply sprinkle them thinly on to your soil and watch your plants flourish from the improved drainage and water retention.
2. Create mulch
Mulches are loose coverings of organic matter placed on the surface of the cultivated soil. It can help the soil retain moisture during the summer whilst preventing weeds from growing and protecting plant roots during the winter. Whilst mulching is incredibly beneficial, it can be difficult to acquire the large amounts of compost, straw or other organic matter necessary at a low enough price to cover your garden. This is where your sack of used coffee grounds comes in.
We recommend those that work in the coffee industry and all-around coffee lovers to mix their old coffee grounds with organic matter such as compost or leaf mould before laying it over their plants to avoid overloading their delicate nature with too much caffeine.
3. Use as pesticide
Coffee enthusiasts know better than anyone that it’s a love/hate kind of drink and pests are no exception to this rule. Slugs and snails are not fans of the bitter drink, making your used coffee grounds the perfect natural deterrent for your plants.
Simply create a mound of coffee grounds a couple inches high around the plants you want to protect, or sprinkle over your soil, to keep pests at bay.
4. Keep cats away from your plants
Do you find your garden looks more like a playground for wandering cats? Well, it’s time to make them wake up and smell the coffee. Sure, it’s a nuisance for these feline foes to gnaw at our plants, but it’s incredibly dangerous for them too. Did you know that lilies can be deadly for cats if consumed? That’s why we advise mixing coffee grounds into your soil as the acrid taste will repel them.
However, a word of warning about dogs. Whilst it’s difficult to determine how much coffee would cause poisoning as the amount of caffeine in coffee grounds varies, it is essential to take the necessary precautions to keep your four-legged friend safe. We recommend not laying coffee grounds directly on to your garden if your dog insists on sampling anything that smells the slightest bit tasty.
5. Create compost
This one’s a no-brainer and probably the easiest way to use your coffee grounds. Simply throw your leftover coffee grounds (and the paper filter if you use a filter coffee machine!) into your compost heap to take advantage of all the micronutrients. Your plants will thank you.
6. Give little seedlings a boost
You know the viral tip all over the Internet about leaving a spoon of sugary water to replenish tired bumblebees? Think of this as the special version for seeds. We found that mixing our used coffee grounds with water and sprinkling them over little seedlings gives them a nice nitrogen boost to help them sprout. Who said only humans could enjoy a coffee pick-me-up?
7. Feed your ericaceous plants
Ericaceous plants such as roses, hydrangeas, azaleas and gardenias thrive off the acidic levels that occur when coffee is mixed with soil. Rather than wasting your money on specialised plant food, we recommend sprinkling your used coffee grounds around the soil of your flowers to let them flourish to their full potential.
Make sure to use no more than half an inch depth of coffee grounds on your soil to avoid mould or mildew.
8. Use as a post-gardening hand exfoliant
Perhaps you have diligently followed these steps and still have a ton of coffee grounds left. If your garden can’t possibly take any more coffee for the next few days, take it as a sign to give your deserving hands some TLC. By mixing your used coffee grounds with natural oils (coconut, jojoba or olive to name a few!) you can create a hardworking scrub that most beauty brands would charge a premium for. We recommend storing your homemade scrub in a mason jar to use after a hard day in the garden to remove any calluses and unwanted smells.
Have we missed any out? Don’t forget to let us know in the comments what your favourite way to use your used coffee grounds in the garden is.