If you love coffee and love your garden, then you may have considered combining the two. Opinion on whether coffee grounds can help or hinder your garden is split. We take a look at the pros and cons, and how you can best utilise your used coffee grounds to make your garden flourish.
If you have a compost pile or bin in your garden, adding coffee grounds will add an array of nutrients. The grounds contain 1.45 nitrogen as well as calcium, magnesium and potassium, so they will help make your compost especially nutritious for your garden. It is important that you produce a balanced compost to ensure that it breaks down sufficiently, without smelling. The recommended ratio is 2-3 parts brown (leaves, paper, card etc) to one part green waste (food waste, grass clippings, coffee grounds etc).
Worries that coffee grounds are acidic can be set aside; they actually have a near neutral pH. Coffee grounds make a good fertiliser either sprinkled on the top or layered into the first inch or so of the soil to provide a nitrogen boost. Alternatively, you can soak the grounds in water overnight and use the resulting brew as a liquid fertiliser.
As pest control
Four-legged and no-legged pests are reported to hate coffee grounds. Slugs and snails struggle to navigate the abrasive barrier and cats apparently detest the smell. Theoretically, a ring of coffee grounds around susceptible plants will keep these uninvited guests away.
As worm feed
Just like humans, worms are caffeine lovers. If you have a worm bin, add a modest amount of coffee each week - be wary of the mild acidity and don’t add too much. Even if you don’t have a worm bin, adding coffee to your soil will encourage worms in your garden.
As a pH reducer
Unused coffee has a pH of around 5, coffee grounds are probably more like 6. If you have acid-loving plants such as lily of the valley, blueberries, carrots, hydrangeas, and rhododendrons, they may well benefit from a nice cup of fresh coffee! Be aware that tomatoes react badly to coffee, so avoid using it if you have tomatoes growing nearby.
As always, there are some counter arguments to the use of coffee grounds in your garden. Some studies showed poorer growth when coffee grounds are used. If in doubt, go cautiously; if you have ten runner bean plants that are being attacked by slugs and snails, give one a protective barrier and see how it fares before liberally covering the rest.
A professional or experienced gardener will be able to call upon years of experience on the ground (literally). If you want to give your garden the very best start, it may be worth getting a gardener in. Trust A Trader will help you to find trusted, rated gardeners near you so that you can enjoy your outdoor space with complete peace of mind.