Pdxjoe.us: Love Coffee? So Does Your Garden. Kick Start Your Garden With Coffee!
Don’t throw away those coffee grounds! Learn how you can use fresh and used brewed ground coffee as fertilizer, compost, and more to boost your garden plants!
Can’t start the day without a cup of Joe to boost it? You’ll be glad to know that you can perk up the plants in your garden with your favorite drink! Really? Coffee? Yes! Ground coffee! It is versatile and has remarkable benefits for your patch of crops and veggies. So don’t throw those bags of used coffee! Here’s how you spruce up, protect, and help your food grow after you drink the last drop of your cup.
Coffee grounds contain as much as 2 percent nitrogen per volume, and sometimes, with a nitrogen:carbon ratio of 1:11, which is ideal for homemade fertilizer. When added to the ground, it immediately increases the nitrogen levels of the soil.
However, you must keep in mind the fresh ground coffee are acidic. This is only good for acid-loving vegetables and fruits, such as radishes (4.5-5.5), sweet potatoes (4.5-5.5), parsley (5.5-6.5), peppers (5.5-6.5), potatoes (4.8-5.5), and rhubarb (5.5-6.5), blueberries, cranberries (4.2-5), currants (5.5-6.5), elderberries (5.5-6.5), gooseberries (5.5-6.55).
You can successfully perk up the soil with fresh ground coffee for many acid-tolerant vegetables and fruits
- Such as onion (as low as 5.5)
- Beans (5.5-7)
- Broccoli (5.5-7)
- Cabbage (5.5-7)
- Carrots 95.5-7)
- Cucumbers (5.5-7), squash (5.5-7)
- Sweet corn (5.5-7)
- Tomatoes (5.5-7)
- Turnips (5.5-7)
- Apples (5.5-6.5)
- Grapes (5.5-6.5)
- Raspberries (5.5-7)
- Strawberries (5.5-6.5).
You can also water your acid-loving plants with diluted, leftover brewed coffee, which contains potassium and magnesium, minerals that they need to grow as well. Just allow brewed coffee to cool down, dilute with the same amount of water, and use it to water your acid-loving plants. Brewed coffee has a pH of between 5.2-6.9 and tap water is alkaline with a pH of greater than 7. Therefore, diluted coffee can increase the acidity or pH of soil.
Soil with high acid levels or lower pH is not ideal for plants that do not thrive in acidic ground. Rinsed, used coffee grounds, which have a near neutral pH of 6.5, are best for plants that do not grow well in acidic soil.
Adding used ground coffee into your compost file is a good way to add nitrogen. You can also throw in your used coffee filter into the compost. However, keep in mind that ground coffee is considered green compost material, along with manure, recently pulled weeds, grass clippings, and food scraps, which are high in nitrogen. If adding to compost, you must balance by adding some brown compost material, including dry leaves, wood chips, straw, sawdust, corn stalks, and newspaper, which are sources of carbon.
Mulch helps guard against heavy erosion, provide moisture protection, and control weed. The best way to use ground coffee as fine organic mulch is to add a good 1/2-inch thick layer of coffee ground on top of your normal organic mulch. As the soil microbes and worms go to work, they will break down quickly. You can add more ground coffee as the last layer breaks down. Do not pile too thick. Otherwise, it will encourage growth of the wrong kind of mold.
Coffee grounds are good for earthworms when used in moderation. The good nitrogen level and grit makes them an ideal food for your garden friends. Ground coffee is also convenient since you don’t have to cut, chop, or process them beforehand. When adding ground coffee to the menu of your earthworms’ diet, do not feed them with more than 25 to 50 percent of their weight. You should also pre-compost your ground by letting ground coffee sit for 3 days before adding them in any worm food. This will allow microbial growth; growing microbes are what earthworms actually eat, not the decomposing food. Moreover, coffee is acidic, so always test the pH of your vermicompost if feeding your worms with coffee ground. Acidic vermicompost can drive earthworms away to friendlier grounds. If the soil has high pH, you can lower the acidity by lightly sprinkling with lime and then watering or adding generous amounts of crushed eggshells. You can also turn your worm bed regularly to buffer pH levels.
Put some leftover ground coffee around plants that are troubled by snails and slugs. A well-maintained ring around your plants will deter them from attacking vulnerable plants. You can also keep ants away by putting ground coffee around ant holes.
Prevent Fungal Disease
Decomposing ground coffee have their own mold and fungal colonies that fend off other fungal colonies that cause disease in plants, including the Sclerotinia, Pythium, and Fusarium species, which causes fungal wilts and rots.
Incorporating ground coffee in your compost can help prevent the bad fungus from growing. You can throw ground coffee into transplant holes for plants that are susceptible for various wilts, such as eggplants, peppers, and tomatoes.