Gardening with Coffee Grounds: A Natural Alternative to Chemicals
If you've ever read the label on a bag of soil, you'll know that most brands contain additives to make them more acidic. These additives are there to help plants grow; they make it easier for plants to access the nutrients in the soil by lowering their pH level. This reading is known as soil acidity or pH. You might think that because coffee is acidic, it’s not great for growing plants, but the exact opposite is true. Not only are coffee grounds acidic, but their high concentration of nitrogen makes them an excellent natural fertilizer for your garden. In this article, I’ll explain why.
What is pH?
pH refers to the level of acidity in soil. It is measured on a scale from 0 (extremely acidic) to 14 (extremely alkaline). Neutral soil has a pH of 7. Most plants grow best in a soil that has a pH of 6-7 (slightly acidic). At this level, plants get the right amount of nutrients. If the soil is too acidic or too alkaline, it can prevent plants from accessing the nutrients they need.
What does soil pH have to do with plants?
The soil you choose has a huge impact on your plants’ growth. When you place plants in poor soil, they are more likely to grow less. Plants thrive when they have access to all the nutrients they need, and soil pH levels affect this. When you use a soil that is naturally acidic, it makes it easier for plants to access the nutrients they need to grow. It’s also important to note that pH levels are not permanent: your soil’s pH can change over time, depending on what you add to it.
How does the acidity in coffee grounds benefit plants?
Coffee grounds have a pH level of 5.8 – which is slightly acidic, meaning they help to lower the pH of soil. This makes it easier for plants to access the nutrients they need to grow. Coffee grounds are also rich in nitrogen, which helps to boost growth: studies show that adding nitrogen to soil can help plants grow up to 30% faster. Soil pH can be a real problem for plants. If the soil is too acidic, it can prevent plants from accessing the nutrients they need.
2 Simple ways to use coffee grounds in your garden
- Grow vegetables - Growing vegetables in soil enriched with coffee grounds can give them a boost. Plus, the nitrogen in coffee grounds can help to prevent diseases like blight from growing in your soil.
- Add to your compost - If you’re growing plants in a backyard or a garden, you’ll most likely be doing regular composting. Add coffee grounds to your compost pile and you’ll speed up the process. Because they are high in nitrogen, coffee grounds can help to create heat in the compost.
3 Surprising benefits of using coffee grounds in your garden
- Increased yields: Growing plants in soil enriched with coffee grounds can increase your yields.
- Better root development: When plants have easy access to nutrients, they can grow more leaves and fewer roots. When roots are healthy and strong, they’re more efficient at taking up water and nutrients from the soil.
- Reduced risk of diseases: The acids in coffee grounds help to prevent diseases from growing in your soil. Plus, they are great at naturally helping to balance your garden’s pH level.
3 Tips for successful gardening with coffee grounds
- Don’t overdo it: When it comes to adding coffee grounds to your soil, you don’t want to overdo it. Too much coffee in your soil can make it too acidic and make it difficult for plants to grow. The general rule is to add one cup of coffee grounds per square foot of soil.
- Choose the right type of coffee to use: Stay away from espresso blends because they have too much caffeine and will burn your plants. The best types of coffee to use are mild coffees like Colombian or Brazilian. Darker roasts are also good.
- Avoid adding coffee grounds when plants are flowering: When plants flower, the pH in the soil changes. To avoid burning your plants, wait to add coffee grounds to your soil until the flowering period is over.
Final Words: A Natural Alternative to Chemicals
The pH of soil is often overlooked, but it is important for plant growth. Coffee grounds are an excellent natural fertilizer for your garden. They add nitrogen to the soil and help plants to grow quicker and more efficiently. You can simply add them to your garden soil or use them to make your own compost - they are a great natural fertilizer to add to your compost pile!