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How to Use Coffee Grounds in Your Garden

By Yolanda Vanveen ; Updated September 21, 2017

Used coffee grounds can provide a lot of nutrition for plants when used in a garden. Put coffee grounds in a garden to get rid of slugs with tips from an experienced gardener in this free video on planting flowers and gardening.


Hi, this is Yolanda from vanveenbulbs.com. And in this segment, we're going to learn about how to use used coffee grounds in the garden. So I really believe in organic gardening and not using any chemicals or any additives or preservatives or body parts and bodily fluids in my garden. But I do make an exception for coffee grounds, and they work for a variety of reasons and a little bit goes a long ways. First of all, it's best to use coffee grounds that have already been used -- that they've already had water run through them and they've turned into coffee, and so that whatever's left is just the remnants of the coffee. And they've done all kinds of studies and they've found that used coffee is pretty neutral. It does have a lot of nutrition for the plants because it has minerals and calcium and phosphates and nitrogen all inside one little granule. But at the same time, once it's been used as coffee already, it's not going to hurt the ground as much as you think it would. And they say animals, too -- it doesn't have a lot of caffeine left in it once it's been used. So it's not that dangerous for animals. So I always try to make sure and use used coffee grounds and not fresh. But a little bit goes a long way. And they're finding, too, all types of reasons why it's good for your garden. For example, the slugs don't seem to like the coffee grounds, and I think it's more because it's like bark dust. I've found, too, just a little layer of bark dust makes all the difference, too, because it dries out on top. It dries out really easily, not like compost -- it stays wet. And slugs need a wet surface to go over, so if you've got coffee grounds or even bark dust, a little bit over your garden area, then it doesn't seem to...so the slugs don't like it. And also, it repels a lot of animals -- cats, too, don't seem to like the smell. So if you've got a cats in your garden, you can always use coffee grounds or cayenne pepper or anything that they're not going to like, and it seems to help a lot. So as I said, a little bit goes a long way. So I always sprinkle maybe just a little bit on the bulbs in the fall or in the spring, and just a little bit on the top of the beds here and there. And it seems to color them up and it seems to give your plants a little bit of nutrition. And they say our landfills are really getting filled up with all types of matter that's just garbage to us, and if we can take garbage and turn it into a good thing, that's always wonderful. And even adding a little bit of this to your compost pile, too, they found will add a lot more nutrition to it and it'll make it break down much quicker. So don't throw away those coffee grounds. Use them in your compost pile and in your garden.


About the Author


Yolanda Vanveen is a third-generation flower grower and sustainable gardener who lives in Kalama, Wash. She is the owner of VanveenBulbs.com, selling flower bulbs on the Internet, at garden shows and at farmers markets in the Pacific Northwest for more than 20 years. Vanveen holds a degree in communications and international studies from Linfield College, and is a graduate of the WSU Master Gardener Program. Vanveen represented the United States at the 2006 Indigenous Bulb Society Symposium in South Africa and has been featured on the PBS show Smart Gardening, demonstrating which way is up with flower bulbs.