Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Coffee buzz...for a green planet!

In the spirit of earth week, I have been looking at ways I can turn my daily waste into purposeful product! While drinking my coffee the other day, contemplating my impact on the demise of the worlds environment, I thought about what is something I throw away everyday? The answer right there in my hand...coffee! There must be over a pound of by-product weekly due to my addiction. Oh man how I go through the stuff!

Without fail, everyday I start out with a coffee, a double-shot made by my live-in barista...thanks honey! I love gardening but my other passion is a good cup of coffee. Plus without coffee, I have been known to be quite the grump. One of my favorite coffee cup quotes... "For human, just add coffee!" Well I guess I can now say, "for beautiful healthy plants, just add coffee grinds!"

After a lot of internet surfing and even more coffee drinking, I finally found some great information...

Firstly this green concept has been around for years, ok so better late than never, right! A number of the big coffee houses (Starbucks, Seattles Best, Tullys) all offer bags of free grinds, just there for the taking!
If I add up all the coffee grinds over the last 10yrs that I have lived here in Seattle "the land of coffee" I would have to estimate at a pound a week (sometimes more), I have contributed over 520 lbs of coffee to the landfills! yikes! Nitrating landfills rather than my own garden....time to change!
Secondly, important info...During the brewing process, most of the acidity is removed, leaving used grounds with an average pH of 6.9 and a carbon-nitrogen ratio of 20-to-1. They also contain magnesium, calcium, potassium, and other trace minerals. What a bunch of yummy garden goodness!

 Here is the bag I picked up from Starbucks yesterday...did I mention FREE!! If someone was handing out free bags of garden fertilizer at the store, you'd think it was your lucky day!

Coffee by-products can be used in the garden and farm as follows:
  • Sprinkle used grounds around plants before rain or watering, for a slow-release nitrogen.
  • Add to compost piles to increase nitrogen balance. Coffee filters and tea bags break down rapidly during composting.
  • Dilute with water for a gentle, fast-acting liquid fertilizer.  Use about a half-pound can of wet grounds in a five-gallon bucket of water; let sit outdoors to achieve ambient temperature.
  • Mix into soil for houseplants or new vegetable beds.
  • Encircle the base of the plant with a coffee and eggshell barrier to repel pests.
  • If you are into vermi-posting, feed a little bit to your worms 
So the next time you make that pot of drip or order an espresso, think of all that by-product goodness that you could be sharing with your garden and making the earth that little more greener! Free fertilizer doesn't come much better than this!!
I am just so giddy with excitement over this, I don't even know which category to put it in? is it sassy salvaging? Penny Pinching? Going Organic...ahhh I love it!!

http://groundtoground.org/  really everything you need to know is here...brilliant site!


  1. Hi Julie, I found your blog thru Catherine / Gardener in Progress. I started composting some of my coffee grinds last year, but only adding it once a week to the compost pile as I didn't want to overwhelm it. I didn't realize I could be adding it to my garden beds directly...I need to do this! I wonder if it would help keep those pesky slugs way from my tender shoots? Great Post, cheers, Jenni

  2. Great idea! Currently, we put our grounds into the yard waste, but soon (I hope) we'll be making our own compost and be putting it back into our own garden. I didn't know I could put it directly into the dirt, though. Very cool!

  3. Reading your post while drinking my cup of coffee. I'm addicted too! I have been using my coffee grounds and tea bags for years around my plants, especially roses or in the compost pile. I like to think that is why they bloom so well for me! Great information you researched!

  4. Here's another thing to do with coffee grounds, grow mushrooms in it! http://www.instructables.com/id/Gourmet-mushrooms-in-an-old-coffee-cup/

  5. We are also addicted to our morning dose of coffee. We've been adding the grounds to our compost heap for several years. And if you rinse off the stained filters and let them dry they are great for crafting. I also put used filters in the bottom of pots to hold the dirt in while allowing drainage.
    'hugs from afar'

  6. You have researched this so well. I put the coffee grounds around azalea and hydrangea plants...and in my compost pile. What a great Earth Day gift you have given to everyone!

  7. I put my grounds in the compost pile, but I may start just adding it to the soil directly. My plants need all the help they can get!

  8. Fabulous post, especially for those that don't grind their own, and need a source of coffee grounds! We consume an absurd amount of coffee here, but am happy to say we've been adding ours to the compost for the past few years. Now when I drink a cup or three, I have the satisfaction of knowing I'm improving our garden soils too ;)

  9. Jenni@ Thank you so much for stopping by, I am so glad you did, gave me a chance to find your blog...love it!
    Jill@ Girl, your veg beds are looking amazing, cant wait to see what yummy goodness you grow!
    Karin@ I'll have to throw some around my roses, enjoy your coffee ;)
    Greggo@ Agree!!!

  10. Mud - I had not even thought of that, do you know if the shrooms have a hint of coffee flavor. Caffeinated mushrooms...hehehe!
    Cher - love the idea for craftiness. Would love to see what you have done, sounds great! Also, great use for the bottom of pots. Have stored that to memory for future use =)
    SB'fly - You inspired this post with your advocacy for earth day..so THANK YOU!! Can't wait to use on my Hy's.
    Holley - I hear ya, I'm going to be digging it right in and am looking forward to trying the "tea" too!
    Curbstone - thanks for your kind words, I loved researching this and find it all so fascinating! Looking forward to my addiction helping my garden too =)

  11. You had an entertaining and informative post with some really good info. I never drank coffee, but have used the grounds in my compost. My husband lives by coffee so I get a lot of good soil goodness from his coffee pot. I agree with Sage Butterfly,a great ED gift.

  12. Great sharing and happy to know you love coffee too. I'm quite sure my plants are having an overdose. They have not complained so far.

  13. I love my coffee and use every bit in the garden. I try, if I have any cool coffee left in the pot to also pour that on the soil. We have such alkalai soil that any bit of acid helps. Thanks for picking my post on Pretty Compost Pile. Thanks for sharing this post.

  14. Thanks for all the continued comments, I really am enjoying every ones comments so much!
    GWGT - Thank you for your encouraging words and what a great hubby, drinking coffee so you have the grounds ;)
    One - lol! Maybe they are addicted as much as we are!
    Gloria - Great tip on the cool coffee! I am so glad you came for a visit =)

  15. I had thrown them around plants and in the composter but I certainly learned a few more ideas...thx since I have to have my coffee too...

  16. Donna - What would we do without our coffee!! Thanks for stopping by =)

  17. Julia, I'm so glad you found uses for your used coffee grounds. I thought I would share another idea for used coffee filters with you. I came across this post yesterday. It's on www.onecharmingparty.com Look at the April 18th post. Take a look at it before Easter.

  18. I'm glad I stopped by! I've been wanting to put the grounds around my plants and was thinking it would add some acidity to the soil for my hydrangea and Japanese Maples. Now I realize I'll still need to add more amendments because the acidity is lost through brewing! Who knew?! Thanks - happy Easter!

  19. I have been adding to my garden for the last 2 years- its great- i love FREE additives to my soil!! PS your grounds to the land fill are fine- good for any soil/ground- its the other garbage that is a problem- food refuse is/becomes compost wherever you put it :-)
    PS I drink 3 large cups of coffee everyday- i have become addicted :-(


Thanks for stopping by and reading my latest post! I love sharing my gardening adventures and reading your wonderful comments. Happy digging...Cheers Julia!!

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