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  • Birds, violets and butterfly eggs April 21, 2014
    Spring has finally arrived here in northern Kentucky.  An exploration of my brother’s yard this Easter weekend revealed all kinds of goodies!  The lovely violets are in full bloom.  We picked, washed and froze some of the flowers in ice-cube trays to use later in glasses of lemonade for a pretty splash of color.  These […] We love hearing from you! Please cl […]
    Judy Burris
  • Springtime is Chicken Run Time April 20, 2014
      Springtime in the sage brush habitat of the North American and Canada’s prairies come alive, after a long winter sleep, to some very serious business. Lekking! Grouse gather on their ancestral lekking grounds to dance the ritual of the eternal spring.  The desire to dance is strong and necessary to the survival of all […] We love hearing from you! Please c […]
    Liz Deluna Gordon
  • Birds Who Tease: Purple Martins April 18, 2014
    Bluebird babies fledged this week from their nest high up in the Purple Martin house. Next day, the Purple Martins (Progne subis) arrived. I guess it was a sublet and the lease was up for the bluebirds. Purple Martins are a picky bunch. They zoom round and round and round some more. They peer into […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to see all th […]
    Loret T. Setters
  • Fireflies in the Garden April 17, 2014
      Fireflies in the Garden, a Poem by Robert Frost Here come real stars to fill the upper skies, And here on earth come emulating flies, That though they never equal stars in size, (And they were never really stars at heart) Achieve at times a very star-like start. Only, of course, they can’t sustain […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to see all […]
    Kathy Vilim
  • Loblolly Pine Wildlife Value April 16, 2014
    Loblolly Pine (Pinus taeda) is a native tree of the southeastern United States. Often growing in wet woodlands, Loblolly Pine provides great habitat and value for wildlife. The native range of Pinus taeda covers eastern Texas to northern Florida, and all of the southern coastal states up to Delaware. Pinus taeda Botanical Description Pinus taeda: This tree [ […]
    Carole Sevilla Brown
  • For The Love of a Tree April 12, 2014
      Keep a green tree in your heart and perhaps a singing bird will come.  ~Chinese proverb       You may remember last year I wrote about the plight of our ash trees.   It was just about this time, in early spring, that we were saying goodbye to 4 of our mature ash trees […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to see all the beautiful photos and let u […]
    Donna Donabella
  • Squirrelly Squirrels in the Garden April 11, 2014
    Squirrels are a normal occurrence in a great many beautiful wildlife gardens.  Up until this year, suprisingly my yard was not one of them. Perhaps not so surprisingly after all.  When I purchased my plot back in 2006, it was pretty much clear cut sans a smattering of long leaf pine trees.  Squirrel have a […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to s […]
    Loret T. Setters
  • Go Forth and … Purchase April 10, 2014
    Spring is a wonderful time to buy plants and the stores are full of them. Even the grocery store had everything from annuals to potted fruit trees to tempt shoppers the other day. Native plant lovers are no less immune to the call of a plant sale than anyone else and luckily spring native plant […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to see all the b […]
    Ellen Honeycutt
  • Birding Festivals Through The Year April 9, 2014
    If you want to learn more about the birds in your wildlife garden, one of the best things you can do is to attend birding festivals near you to learn more about birds in their natural habitats. One of the big things on my bucket list is to travel around the country going from birding […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to see all the beautiful ph […]
    Carole Sevilla Brown

#GardenChat

Garden Grounds

If this is coffee, please bring me some tea;

but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee.

~Abraham Lincoln

Many gardeners wake to greet each day with a hot cup of coffee. If you are among those numbers, good news! You can enjoy your coffee twice by tucking away the grounds for use in the garden or your indoor plant containers. If you’re not a coffee drinker, a trip to the local coffee shop can yield free grounds that would otherwise be tossed out. A trip with hubby to the coffee shop yesterday for free “garden grounds” resulted in a large bag full.

Dried coffee grounds serve several purposes in the garden. Used as a mulch they:

  • Limit slug and snail damage on prone plants such as hosta and lilies.
  • Deter cats from digging in garden beds.
  • Are a source of slow-release nitrogen which results in larger, healthier growth in vegetables and plants. Tomatoes especially appreciate the extra boost from a mulch of used grounds.

Remember, spread the mulch no deeper than 1″ and refrain from adding more until the first have completely decomposed.

Other uses for the dried grounds:

  • Coffee grounds can also be worked into beds and pots before planting as a nutrient rich soil conditioner. Use one cup per garden bed and one tablespoon per average size pot.
  • Dried grounds can be added to acidify soil around acid-loving trees, shrubs and plants like evergreens, azalea, hydrangea, blueberry, lupine, butterfly weed, etc.
  • Dried grounds mixed with carrot and radish seeds results in higher yields and less damage from pests.
  • Use in vermi-composting.
  • Dilute 1/2 pound of grounds in a 5-gallon pail of water for a gentle and fast-acting liquid fertilizer.
  • The ideal use for grounds is in the compost pile.

It’s important to note that coffee grounds are a “green” (nitrogen-rich) additive to your garden soil and compost. To maintain a healthy soil balance, additions of “brown” (carbon) material such as dried leaves or straw is also necessary. The general rule of thumb for healthy composting/soil building is one part “green” to three parts “brown”. Thus, adding one pound of coffee grounds to the compost pile or soil should be balanced by adding three pounds of dried leaves, straw etc. (See here for more.) As with any soil amendment, moderation and observation yields the best results. Happy gardening!

4 comments to Garden Grounds

  • Happiness is a coffee smelling garden… yum…

    Thanks for the reminder about compost additions… I think I’m entirely too ‘green’ in mine…

  • Lisa Gustavson

    The carbon additions to the compost pile are always lacking for us as well. We have plenty of materials when we remember to use them!

  • My grandmother always used to toss out old coffee grinds into the bushes off her back porch and i must say her rhododendrons looked great.

  • Lisa Gustavson

    I’m tempted to try growing rhododendrons again knowing that. I just can’t keep them alive…Maybe one more try! :-) Thank you!

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