Coffee!! Just what I need to perk up my day. As I pick up my espresso at the Caffé Ladro counter, I ask them if I could have some coffee grounds. The girl at the counter is surprised and happy – “We have just started giving our coffee grounds away, free for everyone” she says. I tell her that I am more than happy to take all she has got because they do ‘wonders’ in my garden.
The coffee grounds are rich in nitrogen and are an excellent soil amendment in spring. I just sprinkle them around my plants before watering. Over the next few months, they get broken down by microbes and release nutrients beneficial to plants. They act like a slow-release nitrogen fertilizer and boom… lush green growth, esp. in leafy vegetables like lettuce, swiss chard and cabbage.
This year I am trying them on my roses as well. The high-nitrogen content of coffee grounds makes it an excellent addition to compost piles and worm bins as well. I have read that compost tea made from composted coffee grounds acts as a quick release liquid fertilizer.
Added bonus: coffee grounds repel snails and slugs. This is something I learned recently when I saw it being effectively used to protect pea seedlings at the Pickering Barn Community Garden, Issaquah. One set of seedlings encircled by coffee grounds were growing well while another set were decimated by the slimy slugs.
Now it is time to try it out in my own garden. I have encircled my newly emerging hostas with coffee grounds. I shall have the verdict in a few weeks. Meanwhile, try it out in your garden. Considering how much coffee is consumed every day, recycling it back into the earth seems like the ‘green’ thing to do. Nothing to lose!!
For Reference: Sunset – Coffee Compost Test