5 Ways To Use Coffee Grounds In The Garden

At a certain point I might as well admit that we drink a rather obscene amount of coffee. It’s almost all frugal, brew-at-home type coffee, but still: that stuff ads up.

Luckily, the grounds are almost as valuable as the liquid coffee, and we save them for use in the garden, thereby getting the most bang for our fair-trade-coffee-buck.

5 Ways To Use Coffee Grounds In The Garden

These are my five favorite ways to use coffee grounds in the garden.

Sheet Mulch

The majority of our grounds get dumped out, directly on the soil, as sheet mulch around around our berries and fruit trees. The common assumption is that coffee grounds are acidic, but tests on the pH of grounds have shown results from mildly acid to mildly alkaline, and research indicates that the pH of the grounds tends towards neutral as it decomposes. I use coffee grounds as a mulch around blueberries, fruit trees, currants and cane fruit, all with good result.

When you mulch with coffee grounds, don’t pile it on. That’s a sure-fire way to get moldy mulch. A good half-inch thick layer atop your normal organic mulch in any one spot will do nicely. It will break down relatively quickly as worms and soil microbes go to work, and when it does you can add more. Coffee works like any other organic mulch, with a few added advantages discussed below.

Side-dressing for Heavy Feeders

You probably know that the main nitrogen component in DIY organic fertilizers, like Steve Solomon’s famous mix, is seedmeal. Well, if you think about it, a coffee bean is a processed seed. As you’d expect, coffee grounds are high in nitrogen, at about 10%. Depending on the exact beans and extraction process, “the carbon to nitrogen ratio of coffee grounds can be as low as 11:1, an ideal ratio for plant and soil nutrition,” according to WSU extension.

With nitrogen levels like that, pure coffee grounds make an excellent side-dressing for leafy greens and hungry fruiting veg, like tomatoes and squash, early in their growth. I particularly like side dressing spinach with used coffee grounds.

Natural Slug Deterrent

Slugs get the heebie-jeebies crawling over coffee grounds. I think it scratches their slimy underbellies in an unpleasant way. Do you have some veg, like Napa Cabbage, that seems like a total slug magnet? Try banding coffee grounds in a uniform circle around the plant as a seedling, and keep the band topped up. It helps. I’m not giving away my Sluggo just yet, but it helps.


I know some people say that you shouldn’t feed worms coffee grounds, but I have Seattle worms. They’re all holding teeny Starbucks cups and wearing fleece vests as they crawl around their worm bin, talking about Python hacks and when they’ll finally be able to get up to the mountains to go snowboarding.

Coffee grounds aren’t the only thing I put in my worm bin, of course, but mixed in as part of a balanced diet of cardboard, shredded paper, kitchen scraps, banana peels and the like, the worms seem to process coffee grounds without any issue.

Suppression of Fungal Diseases

Decomposing coffee grounds have their own fungal and mold colonies and those fungal colonies tend to fight off other fungal colonies. If this seems weird, just remember that the antibiotic penicillin was developed from a mold. The world of teeny, tiny things is fighting for space and resources just as fiercely as the world of big, visible things, and you can use that to your advantage.

The natural mold and fungus colonies on coffee “appear to suppress some common fungal rots and wilts, including Fusarium, Pythium, and Sclerotinia species,” according to research. It’s hard to quantify exactly how this all plays out in the big outside world with millions of variables, but incorporating coffee grounds into your compost may help to prevent build-up of nasty verticulum and fusarium wilt inoculates. I figure it’s worth a shot. If I have coffee grounds on hand, I will throw a handful of grounds into the transplant hole for tomatoes, peppers or eggplant, since these plants tend to be susceptable to various wilts.

How do you use coffee grounds in your garden?


  1. says

    “How do you use coffee grounds in your garden?”

    Pretty unsophisticated, but everyday we have a big bucket that we use for scraps. Grounds go directly in there along with everything else. We cook at home almost 100% of our meals, so I estimate we generate a solid pound of compostable “waste” per day.

    Depending on the overall content, I rotate this stuff into a variety of piles, and the special stuff goes to the chickens. My wife is Venezuelan. She has trained the chickens to come running at her sight or sound. On Sundays, I usually wake up to a loud “Muchachas!!” and they all come running as fast as you’ve ever seen a chicken run.

    I keep the grounds away from the chickens. Don’t know why — just doesn’t seem like a good idea.

    Anyway, good post. I’ve been thinking about harvesting the grounds in my office. There’s plenty of good compostable material getting thrown away.


    • says

      My chickens do the same thing! I just have to be by the window or door and suddenly all the girls are headed my way, full speed ahead. Love it!

      We keep a compost bucket by the backyard to dump the smaller counter compost container in. When it starts getting full, out I go to add it to the pile. I tend to keep the coffee/grounds separate so I can add them direct to a garden bed, but most of them end up in the compost pile.

    • Maureen says

      I do the same put my coffee grounds with my compost bowl. I used the area I did a garden in a couple years back…it’s so wonderful! It really has made my small garden this year turn into a large wonderful I pray bountiful garden! We too cook at home so everything I can I use towards the composting. My landlord loves it too. For I use it around the shrubs, etc. Makes home really nice…use it on there property as well!

    • Lisa Fiske says

      I also use around my Roses and my grand daughters sunflowers down here in Florida it keeps the dirt and soil from turning into a dry sand its great plus i drink coffee 24 hours a day so always have …also looking for different ways to use the grinds

  2. Margot C says

    Ha! I scater the stuff around but we consume a LOT of coffee. I am pretty certain that my compost is as much as 20% coffee grounds AND the fliters (the unbleached kind).

  3. Joyce says

    I have a worm bin and feed a LOT of coffee ground to my worms. The instructions that came with the bin said it’s like ice cream to them… a treat. They devour them. (I have red wigglers)
    I also found a lot of worms in my wine barrel planters.. so I saved some coffee grounds for those worms too.
    I just harvested 1/2 of a 5 gal. bucket of castings.. I like keeping my worms fired up with plenty of coffee grounds.
    I haven’t found it to be great for slugs.. but I keep trying!
    Good post. :)

  4. says

    I’m so excited to use the coffee grounds on my fruit trees. Can they be used on every fruit tree? I use them on my blueberry bushes, my honeysuckle vine (it’s leafing out in a very dark green this year), my garlic and rhodies. I use them on my houseplants..my aloe plant and my money tree plant. I actually planted some hollyhock seeds I accidentally dropped in the sink directly into the coffee ground mulch in the money tree plant, and they are growing happily. :) Coffee is wonderful, and

  5. Bess says

    Huh. I never thought of coffee grounds as a seed meal, but you’re right. They are, aren’t they? Our coffee grounds — we don’t generate that many — go into the compost bin with everything else, but now I’m thinking they might be more useful as a side-dressing fertilizer during the growing season.

    Since you mentioned him, I just finished Solomon’s book The Intelligent Gardner. It was… interesting. Gardening does seem to generate Personalities, doesn’t it?

  6. Janet in Seattle says

    Thank you for the encouraging posts about feeding coffee grounds to composter worms! We have red wigglers, too. (I call ours the Paris Commune.) I’ve been wondering about ways to best use the coffee chaff and old roasted beans when I roast coffee at home, but have been reluctant to feed these to the worms because I fell for the vermicultural propaganda. Not any more! We also have a very divaesque gardenia that’s temporarily indoors for the winter; I may give her and the lavender shrubs some grounds, too.

  7. says

    I just throw coffee grounds in the compost bin. With its nitrogen content it’s a good “green” (even though it’s brown) for helping to break down my “browns”.

    One caution – keep an eye out for dogs after you’ve spread the grounds. I don’t know if coffee grounds would be all that appealing to a dog, but many will eat anything that’s not nailed down and with the high caffeine content in coffee, a dog could get into serious trouble. Dogs can’t process caffeine well at all – many have died from eating a relatively small amount of dark chocolate (semi-sweet chocolate chips, baker’s chocolate, etc.) which contains a similar chemical compound. Cocoa shell mulch can also cause problems. It makes sense that there’d be a similar risk from coffee grounds as well.

      • Tina says

        Do not fed the grounds to the chickens! They will over eat them readily. The oxalic acid in coffee grounds is extremely high. It will bind with the minerals and prevent the Chickens from absorbing them. Resulting in soft shell eggs which will eventually become life threatening to the chickens as their bodies become depleted .

  8. says

    Thanks for these great tips. I am new to gardening & havent used my coffee grounds yet. On a side note, I suspect my Australian worms are nowhere near as cool as Seattle worms ;-)

  9. Karen says

    Thanks for the info! Here, in the snowless months they go on the blueberry beds. In the winter they go straight to the compost.

  10. says

    Thanks for the idea! I will definitely start saving my coffee grounds for my minuscule Michigan garden. Can they be saved (without getting moldy) for the Spring/Summer when I’ll need them, or should I just toss them out on the soil all Winter?

    • Morgan says

      If you don’t want to store them, I would think that you could put them out all winter. They could work like a mulch.

    • Margie says

      I save them by drying them and storing them in the empty coffee can. To dry just spread them out in a cake pan and put in a warm dry spot for a day or so. They also make a good room deodorizer.

  11. says

    We drink enough coffee every day here to generate a tidy mound of grounds, but it just goes into the sheet compost layers for now. I’ve found a few nightcrawlers along with lots of red wigglers in the clumps of grounds and cardboard. Hopefully, there won’t be a new round of anti-coffee research articles, as we see the next flurry of scare pieces about alcohol now. I’d really like to compost the junk-science and political-correctness articles!

    • Homebrew Husband says

      Fortunately I thik we’re in the middle of a wave of just the opposite sentiment – the health benefits of coffee (especially for women) seem to be getting the popular-press science reporting focus these days!

  12. Judith says

    I sprinkle used grounds and sometimes fresh ones (from old beans) all around my yard and garden and even on my deck. It is supposed to be a cat deterrent, and seems to be working. The benefits to the grass and soil is a bonus.

    I read a posting some where that it could be toxic to dogs if they were interested in them. My dog isn’t. Maybe because he gets a real treat when he howls as I grind the beans to make the brew!

  13. Andrea says

    Omg, are you serious? Coffee grounds will (help) keep a cat at bay?? I am total cat person but my neighbors cat has a big ol bullseye on its back! It’s will def help remove the target. I’m a gardener before cat person & this cat keeps getting into my pots. Thanx for the 411!!

    • Morgan says

      I have 2 loveable, non-rehomeable special needs kitties. I love that they prefer to use the great outdoors as their litter box, until this spring when I found kitty rocca in my raised beds where I wintered over my beets and carrots. Utterly disgusted! Good luck with Bullseye!

    • Kay says

      Cats don’t like moth balls/crystals. Sprinkle a few with your coffee grounds around your flowers or indoor plants.

  14. says

    Excellent post. Thank you.
    I learned a bit of new info here.
    We save all of our coffee grounds and collect from a couple of our favourite cafes. We have a large compost pile that much of our coffee goes to. We spread it very thin (unnoticeable) on the lawn and through our bushes and flower beds. Great to know it can be a slug deterrent as well.

    FYI: There are many coffee shops that are not saving coffee grounds for composting. Much of this magical material is hitting the land fill. I suggest to everyone to inquire with your local coffee place spot and see what they are doing. Even if you have no use for the coffee, share the info with a local gardening group to set something up.

    • Morgan says

      I scored almost 50 pounds of coffee grounds from a few of the chain coffee shops all within 2 miles from my house. 50 pounds of “roasted gold” in one night, I am dancing around like I lost my mind! The weirdest things make a gardener happy, like spotting a garbage bag of leaves setting on a curb, or a big box from someone’s new fridge… Happy Spring to you!

      • Gary F. Restall says

        twice have gotten used coffee grounds from the cafeteria at work for the garden and may ask for another load. They go through a lot of coffee grounds and even bag up some for gardeners. Hence, I asked for a large amount for my garden which they readily agreed to supply me with.

    • Jonathan says

      Amen to repurposing the coffee grounds from ANY establishment–as long as its just coffee and water!

  15. Tiff says

    The funny thing about this post is that I clicked on it from another site, and poof there you are! Love it when you stuff get’s “re shared”. Anyway, I will be using more of our coffee grounds this year for sure! I read somewhere, that coffee is good to spray on slugs. I somewhere is a big place, so I will see if I can find it!

  16. Wence Dusek says

    I knew there was a reason I wanted to separate the grounds from the rest of our compost. Now I know.

    I also remember my granny using these around her indoor plants as a mold and insect deterrent. She also soaked tobacco in water and sprayed it on her plants to keep aphids away. She would buy cigars just to take them apart and soak them. One went a long way. Anyone knows about this?

      • Susan says

        Are there any risks with this? Isn’t there a tobacco mosaic virus that can spread to some other crops just from growing tobacco plants too close to them? or does the processing of the leaves kill that off?

        • Barbara says

          it only affects tomatoes. DO NOT use a tobacco based spray on tomatoes!!! or even handle your tomato plants after smoking, without washing first. anything else, you can use tobacco-based sprays on – most flowers, except roses, love it!

      • Wence Dusek says

        No idea but These days I would look for the most organic version. A tobacco product with the least additives. Will have to look into it. Living in North Carolina though, I can probably just take a drive in the country some day a pick a fresh leaf or two right of the field somewhere.

      • Val says

        Oh! Don’t use chewing tobacco… I think it has other stuff in it. Cigars are nothing but tobacco leaf pretty much, so would be much safer than many other forms of tobacco.

    • Morgan says

      Maybe the bagged, aka” roll your own” tobacco? I don’t know if they add as much weird stuff as the “mainstream” cigs… I noticed that cigars often smell like mildew to me…

  17. says

    Love the picture of the Seattle worms. Great tip about adding grounds to tomato holes. I did have mold in the greenhouse and was not able to remove the dead plants last year. Any evil micto organism that preys on tomatoes has been able to overwinter.

  18. says

    You’ve inspired me! Normally, the grounds go straight into the compost pail. As I’m preparing our beds for spring planting, though, I’m thinking I need to mix some of these grounds right in!

  19. sue says

    I have found that coffee grounds also produce worms. I also mix felt from dryer in with coffee grinds. It breaks down the felt when mixed with the grinds . I tend to put seeds in with them and wala a new plant:O)

    • karen halvorsen says

      dryer lint is radioactive as is all dust which collects on electronics-don’t let your cat or other pets lay on it as they will ingest it when they groom themselves.

  20. Kara says

    I’ve always composted my coffee grounds, and also put them directly on the beds near the kitchen in the winter time. Another unusual way I used them is I dried them out then used them as a small indoor sand box for my toddler. The dark brown grounds inside a plastic box made a unique play area for mini trucks and cars. A good winter activity for a change.

  21. JP says

    Your articles are so thoughtful! Has anyone seen this? http://extension.oregonstate.edu/lane/sites/default/files/CoffeeGrdTrial.pdf uncomposted coffee grounds didn’t do much for the bean plants in this study. Sunset did a report on them too… http://www.sunset.com/garden/earth-friendly/starbucks-coffee-compost-test-00400000016986/ and indicate that the nitrogen in used coffee grounds is unavailable to plants until it is broken down by microbial activity. I’ve found that scattering grounds on grasses improves tilth and doesn’t seem to turn the grass blades yellow or otherwise burn them if you don’t lay it on thick. If you fumble the container, a rake works well to spread out the mound. Two inches or thicker will develop a stink if the environment is moist; be considerate of any nearby neighbors. Avoid problems by mixing well in your compost pile, not leaving clumps, and going thin on uncomposted grounds used as dressing.

  22. Nancy says

    Stirred oyster mushroom spawn into coffee grounds, put in a plastic bucket with holes drilled into the sides and bottom….and in short order, the mushrooms DID start popping out.

  23. says

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  24. Janet Bowen says

    I am brand new to this website, thanks to my friend who loved your blog called The Terrible Tragedy of the Healthy Eater. That was fabulous-had me in stitches! I am also semi new to gardening here in Alaska-we just built a nice hoop house in the back yard. So by side dressing with coffee grounds, you mean basically sprinkling the grounds directly around each young plant? Are there any plants you would not want to do this to?

  25. lola josey says

    Moat coffee houses stack large bags of grounds by the doors for gardeners to pick up…there are many other uses as well. The waste associated with K cups makes me crazy….I am pulling the top off, scooping the grounds out (and into the soil!) adding potting soil to the cup (leave filter in). They are perfect size to test seeds…lined up on a windowsill tray or any tray from grocer that is plastic and narrow…drainage hole is already there but you could add another or two

    • Stephanie carpenter says

      I have started doing this, too. The hole in the bottom is great for drainage. The other day, I was looking for something to prop up the parsley and cilantro after it was planted and looking very sad. I cut the bottom of the K cup off, pulled filter to the side and put around the herbs. Propped up nice so it didn’t lay in the moist dirt.

  26. lola josey says

    Presently am working with billions of seedlings..if you cover them with nylon tulle it keeps bugs off and there is no necessity to use chemicals….once you start using chemicals, conditions are set to have to use more and more so it’s easier to never start.
    My favorite short term plant marker is a 5″ cut length of venetian blind…lean towards tiles for more permanent but lacking a forrestry pen, use acrylic paint for plant names…holds up for years with no fading.

  27. says

    Hi Erica! We met at the MMM meeting in Seattle this Spring. I just googled “coffee ground uses” for my garden here in my new home in Australia, and was very happy to find your blog as #1 in the list. When we met, I told you I really wanted to garden more, but that I travel every June, July and August (which you whole heartedly supported over staying home!). Since then, I’ve decided to take a year off and am now living abroad AND gardening :) Best of both worlds, at last. I’m really looking forward to following your blog (and working on my own brand new one) and getting some good gardening tips while maintaining my Mustachianism. Thank you!

  28. Carolyn Cavender says

    I’ve also had lots of success putting coffee grounds around Rose bushes about twice monthly too. They seem to help the buds open up better and prettier too. Also I noticed that new shoots appear afterward too.

  29. Chrisitna Rozema says

    I use them as a top dressing on a Meyer lemon and a lime tree that I have. They seem to like it but I am really excited reading about all the other uses….now I have a reason to save all the grounds we produce! Thanks….

  30. shylarose says

    Has anyone tried coffee grounds to keep rabbits out of the garden? The only thing I have left is tomatoes. Rabbits haven’t bothered them!

  31. Russ Denton says

    Two cups of coffee a day gives me a half litre of grounds a fortnight; a banana every day, I chop the skin and fill a bowl a fortnight. Then I mix them together: coffee for nitrogen, bananas for potassium! I put it neat around specific plants, roses, hibiscus,lilies etc, or add some potting compost and spread the mix around for a general fertilizer . And the veg love it too! And the worms!

  32. says

    I wrote about coffee grounds a couple of years ago on my site. I was worried that they were too acidic since I read both discussion (yea and nay.) I ended up interviewing one of the scientists at Rodale Institute for the article. He concluded exactly what you said.

    I also use the coffee on my roses as well but not too much.

    I didn’t want to link the article in your comments since I didn’t know your comment policy. The Rodale scientist was fascinating and gave me some good pointers about using coffee grounds. Let me if it is okay. You are welcome to go to my site and link up your article with mine in the comments.

  33. BOB says

    We only use about 5 to 10 Tablespoons of fresh grounds per day so I place the used grounds into an old coffee can and then when it is full I place them around all of our plants and trees. Sometimes I will work them into the soil and other times I just spread them around on the top. I like to work them into the soil in the flower garden areas. I’m 72 and I learned this trick from my Mother when I was growing up.

  34. TDavis says

    My experience is that some retail stores such as Starbucks and Caribou are happy to give away their grounds. Non-chain retailers in the coffee busy may also appreciate their waste to be given to industrious gardeners.

  35. Angel Keplinger says

    I am starting my first garden this year can I use the coffee grounds in it when I start. And any other good hint would be so helpful. Thank you and bless all

  36. says

    Definitely believe that which you stated. Your favorite justification seemed to be on the internet the simplest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I definitely get irked while people think about worries that they just don’t know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and defined out the whole thing without having side-effects , people can take a signal. Will likely be back to get more. Thanks

  37. says

    Using coffee grounds as a seed meal? Wow now this is something innovative for me. I must tell that my family consumes a hell lot of coffee and I think for them this idea is surely gonna work. Thanks for sharing this wonderful piece of information, my garden will be always thankful :)

  38. says

    My wife and I collect grounds from the local coffee kiosk year around. We don’t make a special trip, but when we stop for a “fix” we depart with whatever ground they have. In the spring and summer there’s competition for the grounds, but in the winter I must be the only one collecting cause there’s always 50-60 pound waiting by the door. I stack it by our compost pile and it freezes into a block wall. Seeing how tall is a game I play. On the spring we start spreading it on our hems, asparagus, fruit trees… It’s sometimes moldy and caked, but we smash it up and use it. Haven’t noticed any problems from the mold. Like I read at the beginning of this article, it might be beneficial? !

  39. says

    So, what about mulching a potted Sweetcrisp Blueberry bush? Lately I’ve been emptying out my coffee maker on the bush. I’d simply remove the filter (w/ used grounds) and turn the filter upside down on the soil’s surface. Any thought?

  40. Rhonda says

    I was reading about the tobacco soak for aphids. I had a ton of aphids on my broccoli and brussel sprouts last year. Is someone able to tell me the recipe cause I would try it this year. Love reading all the posts!

    • Wence says

      Just break up a cigar in to a jar of water and let it soak a few days. Then dilute it 10;1 and apply with spray bottle. Make sure the cigar has no additives, like scents for example. You want tobacco only, that is processed as little as possible!

  41. Aodán Ó Lorcáin says

    Plant one clove of garlic between each rose bush ( in December ideally but anytime will deliver benefits ) and you won’t see a single aphid on them. Then harvest the garlic for use in the kitchen – warning – it’ll be stronger than anything you buy in the shops

  42. Bridget Maida says

    Besides tossing the coffee grounds in the compost bin, right about this time of year I lay a pretty sizable amount on one of my hydrangeas to produce an ombre-effect in the blooms. I confine this “science experiment” to just the one plant and get rave reviews on the lovely colors.

  43. says

    I knew you could use coffee grounds in the garden but wasn’t sure what it actually did. I’m psyched to hear it will benefit my fruit trees. I have four. Also…Seattle worms…very funny.

  44. Jannet says

    Absolutely pointless, they did absolutely nothing for my garden and I am extremely disappointed.

  45. Beverly Spurlin says

    I use coffee grounds in my potted plants to deter chipmunks. The little guys love to dig in my pots unless I put coffee grounds on top of the soil. For some reason, the grounds seem to keep them out.

  46. Tom says

    About a month after sprinkling my used coffee grounds around my strawberry patch, they have gone absolutely mad with growth and runners. I’m a believer.,

  47. says


    I am so late to reading this but have been using grounds on my tomatoes for years. What I don’t know is – how safe it is for me to use grounds on fuschias and flowers in hanging planters? How bout primroses, pansies and others?

  48. Linda DuBos says

    I just picked up grounds from Starbucks and was wondering how best to use them. Discovered your site when I did a Google search. Thank you and those that commented for some wonderful information.

  49. says

    As a follow up on the neutral acidity of coffee grinds report here is information published later.

    For a full read of the reply to the question on acidity:

    Here is a portion of the reply.

    But then we were sent some test results that showed grounds to be neutral on the pH scale! To find out what gives, I called Will Brinton, founder and Director of the Wood’s End Research Laboratory in Maine, the definitive testers of soils, composts, and raw ingredients used in large-scale composting. Will solved the mystery instantly. Woods End, it turned out, was the source of that neutral test! Ah, but some follow-up investigation later revealed that it hadn’t been coffee grounds alone, as the person submitting the material for testing had stated, but grounds mixed with raw yard waste, the classic ‘dry brown’ material that is the heart of a good compost pile.

    It turns out, as expected, that “coffee grounds alone are highly acidic,” says Will, who saved all the grounds from his Lab’s break room for a week recently just to test for us (“Eight o’ Clock” coffee, which I remember fondly from our old A & P neighborhood supermarket). They came out at 5.1, a perfect low-end pH for plants like blueberries that thrive in very acidic soil. “But that’s the most gentle result we’ve ever found,” Will quickly added, explaining that the other 31 samples of raw coffee grounds they’ve tested over the years all had a pH below 5, too acidic for even some of the so-called acid loving plants.

    “And in some ways, the grounds are even more acidic than those numbers imply”, adds Will, who explains that the coffee grounds they’ve tested have also had a very high residual acidity; so high he recommends adding a cup of agricultural lime to every ten pounds of grounds BEFORE you add them to your compost pile. (High-quality hardwood ashes could be used instead of the lime, and would add more nutrients to the mix than the lime would.)

  50. Lisa says

    I am new to all of these ideas, but I am so grateful that there are sites like this one that I can learn new and exciting ways to help my rise garden. Thank you so very much.

  51. Diana says

    I have a couple of feet of dirt between my patio and fence. I plan on digging deep holes with a post
    hole digger and dropping in a fish some bone meal and coffee grinds. Then covering it up and watering it with fish emulsion and seaweed emulsion and covering it lightly with mulch till planting time. Is there anything else I should drop in the hole?

    • Jonathan Pynchon says

      Don’t make the hole too deep unless what you plan to plant is known for deep roots… shrubs and most herbaceous plants don’t root all that deeply. Putting fertilizer three feet down won’t do much for surface stuff until the worm activity turns it over, and that takes years.

  52. Barbara says


    Now that I have completed radiation & am moving into a new home to establish new raised beds I am intrigued with the used coffee grounds idea for my new beds & compost. I will soon be back to baking, using lots of eggs—I use the shells, (crumpled in my hands), around the “slug vulnerable” plants & also in my outside large, potted, plants.

    I grew up where gardening was a way of life & love that so many are trying it. Good for all of us! I so missed gardening while not feeling well but it was beyond me. Now to learn what I can about the Knoxville,TN climate & winters.

    Way to go everybody!

  53. says

    I have been sprinkling coffee grounds (yes, also scraping them out of the K-cups) along the house foundation right on top of the mulch. I read that a line of coffee grounds will deter ants from entering your home. Seems to be working. We had quite a few ants in the kitchen before I started doing this.

  54. says

    Erica, spot on, this topic of coffee grounds. So much so, I referenced my new blog to this Awesome blog by you.
    Thank-you for sharing you’re passion with others.


  55. Amanda Jensen says

    I saw a little tips site recently to do with lemons that recommended mixing lemon peels with coffee grounds to keep dogs and cats away from gardens. Is this accurate? I don’t want to hurt anyone’s pets, but I like the idea of them not using my garden or my containers as their litter box. I don’t drink coffee and it’s the whole reason for me to pick up spare grounds in the first place. Would I be hurting animals or my plants and garden ground by adding the coffee grounds and lemon peels?

  56. paus says

    I used coffee grounds to get rid of ant hills in my garden. Only used it once and the ants haven’t come back.

  57. Laurie Forshner-Talbot says

    We live off the grid down the logging roads on the Sunshine Coast in BC Canada and have been wondering about use of the coffee grounds. Can’t have compost because of all the bears but I noticed a local coffee house offering to give their used coffee grounds to anyone that wished to use in their garden so I’ve started keeping mine, drying on a tray and then throwing on top of soil or digging in. We have quite a few slugs so that deterrent will be great too. I’m seriously thinking about getting the coffee grinds from my business and that coffee shop too as we’re hoping to really enlarge the garden aspect next year. So any of you that don’t drink enough coffee to get lots of grinds, check with your local coffee shop; helps you and helps keep the grinds out of the landfill!


  1. […] …No more coffee grounds in the garbage – no, no, no. Erica, the Seattle chef turned gardener on NWedible.com, says that coffee grounds act like any other organic mulch – band – it has other advantages as well – like suppressing  fungal disease and detering slugs,  ( Five Ways to Use Coffee Grounds in the Garden). […]

  2. […] Mulch – Coffee grounds can be used a fine organic mulch, as long as you don’t pile it on too thick, because this can encourage the wrong kind of mold. As a mulch it can help controlling weeds, provide moisture protection and guard against heavy erosion. It is worth adding a helping hand in your kitchen garden. More… […]

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