Mary, Quite Contrary - Meet Joe (or, Spent Coffee for Healthy Gardens)

Posted by Justin Smay on

For the Professional Chef and Amateur Foodie alike, one of the best things about watching the weather warm up is planning menus around fresh veggies. In fact, many fresh-conscious restaurants are actually growing a bit of their own produce, truly embodying the “farm-to-table” mentality.

You’ve probably heard rumors about the benefits of using spent coffee grounds around your flowers and vegetables. It’s absolutely true- however, there is often a bit of speculation and guesswork around the rationale. Here are a few facts that should help make the most of that soggy coffee.

Spent coffee actually has a relatively neutral acidity, as most of the acids in roasted coffee are extracted when you make a cup of coffee. Coffee is high in nitrogen, feeding the heat necessary to breakdown the seeds and other undesirables found in compost bins. Other chemicals, Phosphorus and Potassium, can also be found in spent ground, and will release slowly into the ground.

Take-Aways: While mixing spent coffee into the soil around your garden may help over time, the best benefit is found when adding them to your compost bin, in order to aid in breakdown, and to add to the mix of essential minerals that will slowly release from the java.

By the way, the filters are fine in the mix, too. They’ll compost in no time at all.

If you find yourself looking for more spent coffee than you can create on your own (without serious heart-palpitations), stop by your local cafe or restaurant- most will be more than happy to set aside their spent coffee for you.

Happy Gardening!


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