Thursday, July 29, 2010

Java for the Garden

Are you a coffee drinker? Are you a gardener? Perfect! There's a way you can "justify" all that coffee you have been drinking: the grounds are a real treat for your outdoor and indoor acid-loving plants. Among these plants, shrubs and trees that are acid lovers are all conifers, azaleas, hydrangeas, rhododendrons, ferns and most vegetables and fruits.

One way to use the grounds is to just sprinkle some around each plant--gently rake into the soil with your fingers or a small trowel. Another way is to mix the coffee grounds in with any top soil you are using to top dress a bed or into the soil you are preparing for planting.

I don't drink brewed coffee at home but I have a deal with the parent of someone I once tutored, who owns a restaurant. I bring them a bunch of cans/resealable bags and they dump the grinds from the coffee they brew into the cans for me. I give my garden this "coffee fest" in the spring, midsummer right about now and in the early fall. It's recycling with lots of advantages for the garden. And if the wind blows just right after I've given my garden its coffee dressing, the smell is so unbelievable.

I save a spoon or two for my indoor plants and gently scratch the grounds into the surface soil. And sometimes, in the fall and wintertime for my indoor plants, I'll mix in a few spoons of instant coffee into my watering pot and water with this brew. They seem to love it. Recycling isn't just about plastic and paper--coffee grounds count too.


Leahle said...

Does it make a difference if the grounds are caffeine or no caffeine or if it was flavored coffee?

Chanie said...

You've reminded me that my father, a"h, used to add coffee grounds to our vegetable garden and rose bushes. And he drank Sanka! That man had an amazing green thumb. Good memories.

ProfK said...

In my experience it makes no difference whether the grounds are from flavored coffee or from decaf or caffeineated coffee. It's the "coffee" part the plants love.

Someone else asked me if the coffee doesn't change the flavor of the fruits or vegetables. There is no change to the flavor. You aren't going to get coffee-flavored tomatoes or zucchini.