Garden Kitchen Tips

How to Use Coffee Grounds in Your Garden

Hate the idea of throwing out perfectly good stuff that you could reuse for other purposes? Coffee grounds are one of those things you shouldn’t throw out – not when you can use them in your garden!

I drink coffee like there’s no tomorrow. But hey, I’m Swedish and Norwegian.

Scandinavians drink more coffee than anyone else in the world. In Sweden, the average is 8.2 kg per year. The Finns beat everyone, though, with 12 kg per year being the per capita average! Oh, and just so you can do the math, 1 kg of coffee makes between 120-140 cups. So Finland is racking up an average of 1500 cups per person per year, or 4 cups per day. That’s the average, y’all.

But that’s nothing compared to my family. Whenever we’re visiting my parents, they have both coffee machines running pretty much continuously. I think my mom can easily go through her own pot in the morning. My in-laws are serious coffee fans as well, and between the four of us in the house now {we’re staying with them while house-hunting}, we are making that coffee pot work overtime!

So what do we do with all those grounds?

Well, if you all remember from some of the other posts I’ve put up on backyard gardening {which we’ll definitely be starting as soon as we have a house, because Florida growing weather!}, I hate adding to landfills when we don’t have to, especially since there are lots of other use for kitchen and garden scraps in your backyard garden – and this includes your coffee grounds!

Here’s how you can continue to use those used beans.


Plant Food

Coffee grounds are high in nitrogen, potassium, phosphorous, and other important micronutrients that your plants can enjoy, especially your acidity loving plants like rhododendrons, azaleas, hydrangeas, radishes, blueberries, and carrots.

Sprinkle them around your acid-loving plants if they’re already established or work them into the soil before you plant.



Churn your coffee grounds into your existing mulch. They’re really helpful for reducing weed growth and helping the soil retain its moisture. And personally, I think they make your garden smell tasty.

Just don’t use them around young plants or around plants that don’t like acidic soil. Caffeine can suppress the growth of young plants.

Slow-Release Fertilizer.

Let your used grounds steep in water to turn them into a liquid plant fertilizer. Add 2 cups of used grounds to a 5 gallon bucket filled with water (Home Depot buckets are great for this) and let it steep overnight.

Spray or pour around your nitrogen loving plants.

What other ways do you all reuse your coffee grounds?

About the ChefKristin

Career Army officer with a tendency toward workaholism. On the side, self taught cook, carpenter, and gardener, working to build a beautiful life for my family. Trying to tilt my balance in the right direction.

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