Should You Use Coffee Grounds in the Garden?

Should you save your coffee grounds and add them to your garden soil? Learn how the garden expert says gardeners should use coffee grounds.

Spent coffee grounds in gardenThamKC/Getty Images
Coffee grounds being used as plant fertilizer

Can I spread coffee grounds at the bases of trees and shrubs to add nitrogen to the soil?” asks Ken Long of Middletown, Ohio.

You’ve probably heard of local cafés saving their coffee grounds for community gardens. It’s true to a point, but you still need to know what you’re doing.

Do coffee grounds make your soil richer? Coffee grounds can successfully be used in indoor and outdoor gardens, but moderation is key. Avoid applying large quantities of fresh grounds to the soil. This can temporarily tie up soil nutrients. Plus, coffee contains allelopathic chemicals that inhibit the growth of certain plants.

Learn if you can reuse potting soil in containers.

The best place for coffee grounds is the compost pile. Composting grounds as a first step eliminates both issues while allowing you to recycle your morning grounds into a wonderful soil amendment.

Next, learn what foods to feed birds from the kitchen and 6 uses for baking soda in your garden.

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Melinda Myers
Melinda Myers is a nature and gardening writer whose specialty is attracting wildlife, especially birds, to the garden. She contributes regularly to the magazine Birds & Blooms, and lectures widely on creating gardens that please both human and avian visitors.