Every day, people across America wake up to a fresh pot of steaming hot coffee. And every day, they toss their used coffee grounds into the trash or compost bin, and then go about their business.
While this is a normal practice for many, all of those coffee grounds can be reused to create incredible soil for lawns and gardens alike. After all, coffee grounds are packed with nutrients that your plants need, so saving the used coffee grounds will be a boon to your yard or community garden.
Coffee Grounds and Nitrogen
The chief benefit of using coffee grounds in compost is the nitrogen they provide to the soil and thus to plants. Plants need nitrogen to conduct photosynthesis, however, plants also need carbon-rich items in their soil. Gardeners consider nitrogen-rich items ″green,″ and leaves, coffee filters, and twigs to be ″brown″ matter.
The green items create the heat and energy in a compost pile that helps break down the brown items. Greens also provide a hospitable environment for bacteria to flourish. Thus, the heat generated by coffee grounds will help speed the process of decomposition.
Worms Love Coffee Grounds
Worms also love coffee grounds in compost. Composters always rave at the incredible activity they witness when they add coffee grounds to their vermicomposting piles. Gardeners report that when they add coffee grounds to their compost, the worms appear more healthy and ready to lay eggs. This is the best news a composter can hear, because worms accelerate the composting process, as well. Accelerating the proliferation of worms in a compost environment will result in more and better soil for your garden.
Mushrooms Decompose Grounds
Gardeners who love mushrooms also use coffee grounds as a substrate for their mushrooms. You can purchase oyster mushroom kits, and then place the mycelium
in coffee grounds and also tealeaves. The fungi will help break down the grounds into usable soil, while providing you and your family with a tasty, protein-packed delicacy.
Starting Coffee Ground Compost
To start a standard coffee ground compost, you will want to begin with 40% grounds, 20% grass clippings, and 40% dried leaves (brown). Mix all of the ingredients and dampen them so that the pile is damp, but not sopping or soaking wet. You might find worms by digging in your yard or by asking a friend or neighbor if they have some extras in their compost piles. It is also possible to find worms for sale to fishermen. Wherever you manage to find them, add them directly to the compost pile with the coffee grounds and other ingredients, and let them get to work!
More Uses for Coffee Grounds Beyond Compost
While coffee grounds make for a great compost material, they are also said to have other important uses. Some gardeners claim that sprinkling coffee grounds around their plants keeps the slugs and snails at bay. Others claim that cats will avoid using garden beds as a litter box if you sprinkle coffee grounds around.
Creating a healthy garden is a snap for coffee lovers. Saving the daily grounds and mixing them in a compost pile will speed the success of your flowers and food-bearing plants. If you need more coffee grounds for compost purposes, you might talk to your local coffee shop to see if they offer their leftover grounds to the public. Just a few pounds of coffee grounds should set your compost pile well on its way!