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Coffee in the Garden: Reduce Waste for Homegrown Taste

As a coffee roasting company that supports animal rescue efforts, Hugo feels that reducing our waste is one of the best ways to support the long-term health of all animals. Reducing the amount of trash we create will help us reduce our consumption as we reuse and recycle materials. Additionally, we decrease the amount of trash we create, which means less land is turned into landfills, which destroys habitats and pollutes the environment.

It may seem like coffee can’t be reused or recycled. It’s not as if we can undrink our morning coffee and reuse it tomorrow, or at least if we can, we probably shouldn’t. While the coffee we drink isn’t useful for much besides drinking, coffee grounds, on the other hand, are black gold around the home. They are most useful in home gardening, where they can be used to fertilize the garden in all sorts of ways.

Fertilize Your Soil

The easiest way to use coffee grounds is to directly add them to your lawn, vegetable patch, or flower bed. Grounds should be scattered across the soil, then worked in by hand if the soil permits it, as in a flower bed or vegetable patch. This tip is particularly useful if you live in an area with highly alkaline soil. As coffee grounds are slightly acidic, they can lower the alkalinity of your soil. In turn, acid-loving plants like vegetables, fruits, and many flowers will thrive more readily. This tip can also be used with indoor plants, though for houseplant use, you might want to check out our next tip.

Compost at Home

This process is a little more involved than sprinkling your leftover grounds out in the yard, but the results are more than worth it. While commercially made compost mixes can be purchased from garden or home improvement stores, each family in America is sitting on nearly a mountain of compost that hasn’t been made. Coffee grounds, along with other food waste, lawn clippings, and other organic materials, can be used to make compost right in the backyard. What a great way to reduce waste, fertilize the soil, and beef up your gardening for free!

Composting will require a little space but can be done in bins, under tarps, or on bare earth. Combining your compostable ingredients, then keeping them covered in a bin, under a sheet, or some other implement allows the materials to begin decomposition. After a period as short as six weeks to a full year, these materials should break down into a brown, earthy material that is ready to incorporate into the garden. Compost can be added to houseplants, lawns, and gardens to supplement the topsoil and replenish nutrients. Once your compost pile is made, you can continue to add to it, rotating it, and pulling soil from it regularly.

Coffee grounds are a great addition to the compost pile because they add carbon, as well as a source of acidity to the mix, in addition to a variety of micronutrients. Lastly, worms love coffee grounds, so you can count on your coffee remnants attracting plenty of little helpers who can accelerate the composting process.

Pest Control

Our first tips involved how coffee can be added to the garden, but this tip focuses on how to keep from losing your garden. Those of us with vegetable patches know that pests like beetles, slugs, and snails are a constant threat to our fresh fruits and vegetables. Coffee grounds are one option for pest control that doesn’t involve toxic pesticides.

Rather than killing slugs and snails, coffee grounds simply redirect them elsewhere. The world may belong to all creatures, but our gardens belong to us! Laying coffee grounds in a line that surrounds the garden creates a rough-textured barrier that repels slugs and snails. Additionally, we believe the strongly fragrant barrier distracts or repels other pests, such as mosquitoes, fruit flies, and beetles.

This tip requires a good number of coffee grounds, so it isn’t a bad idea to save your grounds in a container throughout the winter, then use them in the spring when your garden is at its most delicate. Waiting until you need pest control will leave you begging neighbors and loved ones for their coffee grounds rather than simply using your own.

Get Creative

There are surely other uses for coffee grounds around the yard, but the key is to get creative. Thinking proactively about how to reuse materials is the best tip to lower the amount of waste we create. Hugo does our part by creating low-waste products, such as our wholly biodegradable, single-serving brew bags. This teabag-style coffee is a perfect addition to the table, and after brewing, the bag is a perfect addition to the compost pile. We think the friendlier we are to the environment, the better lives all animals will live. We hope you agree.