Last month I wrote about the soil conditions at Adelphi acre, our “new” soil and additives to help improve the condition of the soil. One of these additives is the cheap, always around and overlooked used coffee grounds. In addition to our interest in initiating the garden as a Ground to Ground drop off location, I’d like to share some other benefits of using used grounds in the garden.
We’re still working on and finessing our compost system but we plan on accepting used coffee grounds and composting with them at AACG. Coffee grounds turn up the heat in compost piles by raising the temperature which speeds up the process of breaking down contents. They also neutralize odors and while we may love the smell of coffee in the morning, the strong smell supposedly confuses and keeps away pests like squirrels and insects.
Back to the benefits of having it your soil. Evidently, earthworms are attracted to grounds because the gritty grounds help their digestion. Worms help process scraps into nutrients that plants can absorb.
If your soil is acidic, coffee grounds can help balance it due to its slight acidity. As mentioned in my previous post, new soil can lack nitrogen which coffee grounds contain a lot of. The nitrogen is broken down and released slowly. The multipurpose nitrogen also burns the legs of ants so they will stay away!
At least 5 other nutrients necessary for plants can be in coffee grounds. These include phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium and copper. Used grounds can even help with one of the problems all this rain has been causing – fungal rot and wilting. Research has shown that the bacteria and mold found on decomposing grounds prevents other deadly fungi from forming. It also aerates and helps soil drain better, something necessary with all the moisture we’ve been gifted with.
If you drink coffee, stop pitching the grounds and compost it or add it directly to your garden and plants.
Most of the beds in the garden are turning a corner and starting to thrive. If you haven’t had any luck or not sure what’s going on, please email or ask us. Many of us have tried different additives and remedies and have a good idea of what works for our soil and conditions. We’d also like to encourage phone number swapping with a friend or neighbor who might be able to water if you can’t get to the garden or pick ripe produce for you so it doesn’t attract animals.
Thanks for reading and remember – Gardeners learn by trowel and error!