Coffee Grounds For Your Garden

Coffee grounds are a common cheap and easy form of organic material to add to your compost pile or garden. Here are a few tips for how, and why, to use them in your garden.

Coffee and pH

Despite what you might have heard, coffee grounds in your garden will have little to no effect of your soil pH and will not harm plants even when applied directly as top dressing in generous amounts.  The acid that is in the coffee you drink is there because it is water soluble, meaning that is has been removed from the coffee grounds by the water that was used to brew your coffee.  The spent grounds themselves will have a near neutral pH of 6.5 to 6.8.

Nutrients in Coffee

That being said, there is quite a bit in coffee grounds what will have an effect on the soil in your garden.  Coffee grounds have an average NPK of 2.1, 0.3, 0.3.  And the Phosphorus and Potassium are plant available right away, while the Nitrogen will not be available until broken down by micro-organisms and worms that will be attracted to the garden by the grounds.  There is also Magnesium, Copper, Calcium, Manganese, Iron, and Zinc in coffee grounds.  All of which provide food for your plants and for soil life that contributes to the health of your garden. For those that still can’t get over the fear of applying coffee grounds directly to your garden soil there is always the compost pile.


Coffee grounds will heat up a compost pile quickly which can help keep the necessary organisms alive as we head into the fall and winter months.  And worms love coffee grounds.  Like chickens, worms have gizzards and have no teeth to break down their food.  The coarse texture of the grounds and their small size are great for this.


But perhaps the best thing about coffee grounds is that they are available in most places, and in bulk, for free.  Coffee shops are just going to throw them away, and often times they have separate trash cans that only contain coffee grounds and coffee filters (which are also great in the garden or compost pile).  So even if you don’t drink coffee yourself, stop by a coffee shop today and get your garden a boost.

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7 thoughts on “Coffee Grounds For Your Garden

  1. Really found your coffee ground information timely & educational. I always worried about the acid making the soil too acid for some of my plants. Nice to get the real scoop. Looking to reading more from you folks.

    Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hi Ya’ll,
      I always save & use my coffee grounds for the garden or special plants & love what it does for them, been doing it for years & some of them are putting out huger than ever stems than the year before, of course I drink only Organic bean coffee, if that makes any difference I don’t know.


  2. I only use K-pods, but every few days, I spend considerable time scraping the grounds out of them, I have done this from the first pod I used. before that, I just dumped all my grounds on a corner of the garden area and everything that got near that corner grew like crazy. Now where I live, there is no topsoil at all, it was all graded off and we have clay, clay and more clay unless it rains, then we have mud. I dumped my grounds over the porch rail for some time , along with peeling and such. Before long, I had tomatoes growing there and strawberry plants and a few peppers even came up. Can’t beat coffee grounds for improving any soil, or virtually no soil in some situations.

    1. Donna, I agree with you- I have used coffee grounds to help regrow grass in the brown patches I had in my yard years like a charm… (so do fish guts- my ex would bury the remains and you always knew where they were buried as the grass was so green and thick there). With my keurig – I use paper filters in my reusable k-cup for both the small cup and carafe, beats scraping grounds just pops right out and I throw in my coffee bucket.. Sometimes i will use the store k-cups when I need some plant starter pots. The k-cup already has a drainage hole at the bottom so you can water them from the bottom of the tray like you would your house plants that have the drip tray underneath.

      1. I hadn’t thought to use grounds and fish guts on brown patches. I use grounds and scraps in my composter.Thanks, I’ll try that. We’ve had such drought in northern Washington state this year that most of our grass is completely brown. I certainly have enough coffee grounds to see how if works.
        Wishing you healthy fall and winter gardens.

  3. Thank you for this article! I have been adding used coffee grounds and egg shells for a long time. I grind them both in a blender with water and pour onto garden. I have received a lot of doubts from family regarding the acid so your article was most appreciated!

  4. I let my reusable k-cups dry. I scrape the coffee grounds into a small compost bin in my kitchen every day before I start making supper. Then I rinse the k-cups, lids and holders catching the water with the coffee grounds in a bowl. I use the water to keep my flowers and small decorative trees happy at the end of the day. They seem to like it and I feel good not wasting any grounds down the drain especially since I use only organic coffee.

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