Mar 8, 2012

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[usage of coffee grounds, use of coffee grounds, coffee grounds as fertilizer, coffee grounds in compost]

Many of us are not completely aware about usage of coffee grounds. Being an essential part of morning breakfast, used coffee grounds mostly end up in our trash can which at the end are collected by the municipal garbage collection service. In this era of recycling and reuse, used coffee grounds has many usages and if you are an organic gardener, you will be happy to know that there are multiple ways of using them in your garden, instead of putting them in another landfill. So let’s get started describing them:
  • Use coffee grounds in compost. In composting world, coffee grounds are considered as "Green" material (yes, green, although they are brown in color) as they are excellent source of nitrogen (and in composting, nitrogen is coming from mostly green materials like leaves, grass, vegetable and fruit scraps, with exception as coffee and tea grounds). Put your coffee grounds directly into your compost bin.
  • Use coffee grounds as fertilizer. You can always add some grounds directly to the soil near the base of your outdoor or indoor plants. That will act as soil amendment and be helpful for plant growth. Specially add near to your leafy plants (salads, herbs) and young plants. This is because, nitrogen promotes leaf growth and coffee ground is an excellent source of nitrogen.
  • Use as slug, snail and bug repellent. Due to its abrasive texture, strong smell and slightly acidic nature (but not that much acidic, that your plants can be harmed), coffee ground is an excellent organic bug-and-slug repellent. If you have plants which are delicious to slug, snail or you have ants near the base of plant, make border around those plants with coffee ground mixed with crushed eggshells (again, snail and slug hate the texture of crushed eggshell). You do not need any chemical warfare!
  • Feed your earthworms. If you have a worm bin (vermicomposting), toss coffee grounds in it. Your red wiggler or earthworms will love it and will reward you producing one of the richest compost materials for your garden. Just be careful not to put too much as the acid level will bother your worms. Just a cup full for every week will do.
  • Mix with your soil for planting. Coffee ground is a very good soil amendment. Mix it with your soil before planting. Particularly if you have clay soil, mixing with coffee ground will improve the soil texture and make the soil more useful for growing plants or vegetables.
  • Use as nitrogen layer for Lasagna Gardening bed. My previous post Lasagna Gardening describes how to create a raised bed garden with alternate layer of carbon and nitrogen materials, such as coffee grounds, which can be used as rich medium to grow vegetable.

KISS TIP FOR COLLECTING COFFEE GROUNDS:
If you or your entire family is still not producing enough coffee grounds for the above causes, ask your local coffee shop. Starbuck in USA has community service program, due to which they usually give away coffee grounds. I myself collect from my office coffee shop twice a week. And I can tell you the shop people are not looking at you strangely, but they appreciate it. At the end you will be saving some of their money that they would spend to pay to a garbage collecting service.

So above are some of the ideas for recycling used coffee grounds into your indoor or outdoor gardens. Next time you are about to flush out your used coffee grounds, just remember that you can reward your garden with that and in return you will enjoy healthy plants in your garden.

Do you have any more ideas of coffee ground uses or recycling coffee grounds, which you may like to share here?

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