5 surprising uses for coffee grounds in the garden

Put your daily pot of coffee to good use in the garden. It might provide us with a boost of energy first thing, but coffee grounds can work wonders outside on our plants, flowers and compost heap.

With spring in full swing, Coffee Direct have revealed how to give your garden a fresh boost by using nothing but coffee grounds. When used correctly, coffee can be a great addition to your outside space, especially when it comes to warding off pesky bugs and making mulch.

Not sure how to use it outside? Take a look at some of the surprising things you can do below…

1. Make slow-release fertiliser

Coffee grounds make a great fertiliser as they contain several key nutrients required for plant growth. Carrots, azaleas and roses all benefit from the grounds, so simply sprinkle some directly onto your soil and lightly rake it in.

Lewis Spencer, coffee expert at Coffee Direct, advises: ‘Coffee grounds add organic material to the soil, helping water retention, aeration and drainage. Leftover diluted coffee can create a liquid plant fertiliser too. Simply mix two cups of brewed coffee grounds with five gallons of water in a bucket overnight.’

2. Feed the worms

Worms love coffee grounds. Since they have no teeth, coffee provides a gritty substance in their guts which helps them to grind down foods. If you practice vermicomposting, consider adding a cup of coffee grounds per week, as well as the paper filters, too. The wriggly creatures might love the stuff, but be careful to only add a small amount each day to stop them from getting unwell.

3. Deter slugs and snails

Coffee is an excellent home remedy for naturally keeping slugs, snails and ants at bay. To do this, simply spread the grounds around vulnerable plants to create a barrier. While it won’t harm the creatures, its rough surface will stop them from heading towards your favourite blooms.

4. Add it to your compost

Coffee grounds are an excellent nitrogen source for composting, so be sure to add them on your heap. Moisture is an essential part of the composting process, which can come from leftover black coffee.

‘Good compost contains a mixture of “brown” and “green” ingredients. Brown materials such as dried leaves, sawdust and newspaper bring carbon to the mix,’ says Lewis. ‘Green materials such as tea leaves and grass clippings offer nitrogen and protein. (The rule of thumb is to have a 4:1 ratio of brown to green compost material). Coffee grounds, paper filter included, fall into the green category which means they are rich in nitrogen at approximately 1.45 per cent.’

5. Mulch

Mulch, which is generally used to retain moisture in the soil, can help to keep your garden looking neat and tidy – simply mix the coffee grounds with leaf mould to create the mulch. According to Coffee Direct, the combination will reduce the risk of clumps forming which can become a barrier to water and suppress the growth of your plants.

Lewis advises: ‘As plants could be sensitive to the caffeine in the grounds, avoid creating a thick layer. Using a mix of particle sizes will promote good structure.’