Using Coffee Grounds in the Garden

If you own property when crises suddenly happen that leaves one impoverished, there is remaining the responsibility to maintain, as in "when all you have is lemons...make lemonade," we do with what we know, learn, find, are given, have and can do.


Each time I am required to drive even a short distance, I stop by every single place that sells coffee/tea, because that means "free grounds" that would otherwise go to the landfill and be wasted. Most owners/managers are friendly and willing to give them, but a few can't comprehend the importance and seem to be calculating the idea of "selling the grounds" one day. So, while they are free, take advantage of the opportunity, folks.

During the heat wave we recently all experienced, a record over the last 70 yrs., we all but lost our grass, as well while under water restrictions, which remain until our city water supply is replaced by rain. After tending to other essentials and basic needs, we were able to discover a free "fertilizer" which works, and quickly if done correctly.

Wearing gloves, hand spread the free gathered used coffee/tea grounds all over the grass, especially the "dead" places, like you might when fertilizing with chemicals, but as evenly as possible and slightly heavier than with chemicals.


I chose to do this just before an expected rain, because nothing good happens until the grounds are watered in, and because it is another free resource. One application needed watering in on my allotted day to water because weather reports are often unreliable.

The grounds are considered by gardeners for the compost as being "green" material, containing Nitrogen, a much needed nutrient for all green things. It provides great recycling use of a by-product of our coffee drinking and satisfies the grass because it perked up and is responding after only three days!

I plan to watch for any road/swim pool/fence construction and ask for any left over top soil for the huge cracks left by dryness, AND for low places. Should I be able to find an abundance of soil, I will add a top dressing over the coffee grounds.

There is even a use for the heavier used filter paper, other than in the compost: I stuffed them into the cracks around my foundation. The residual grounds seem to repel pests as well, and since most used grounds have a significant number of used filters to dig out, it helps to close the gaps.


If the coffee/tea is still in lumps as it was originally processed or packaged, the lumps need to be mashed before tossing onto the grass.

I have not over used the free grounds, so I believe the secret is to find the proper balance for whatever you apply it to. For my front yard of approximately 40'x90' feet, it takes about 15 gallons of grounds. I have St. Augustine grass where there is live grass.

It takes about 1 hour of making rounds to the places (restaurants, drive-throughs, bakeries, grills, even larger service stations) that sell coffee within two miles of my home, to gather that. I go two-three times/week, so far, and will continue until bad weather while en route to grocery, discount bread store, post office, bill paying, gas stations, neighborhood recycling center, $.50 movie evening, church, charity, curbside-bulk pickup, storing them in an outside receptacle at home until Spring, if any are left over. This way, I am not wasting gasoline.


I apply a little more around the drip line of our evergreen trees/shrubs, NONE around Fall leaf-losers. (I will do that for them in the Spring. )

I worked in a handful of grounds in a 20" pot of a salvaged Scheffera and two days later the leaves were not only perked WAY up but in four days there were new leaves and very glossy, whereas the old leaves were sparse, leggy stemmed, and dull leafed, a likely reason the previous owner tossed it curbside!

I am making a schedule with merchants who sell breakfast, for eggshells, to save them for me, too, although they require a special day for pick-up, and I cannot know for sure that I will have the gas on those days. It's harder to schedule, but if I can figure it out, it is worth it, also for both grass, garden and many container plants. Less impoverished friends/neighbors have proven to be more helpful, admiring how I keep trying to find ways, with God's grace and help to live within my "frugal" means.


God bless our frugal living and Thriftyfun.

By Lynda from TX


Using Coffee Grounds in the Garden

I'm doing a science project on how coffee grounds will make a plant grow better or if a leading brand name such as MiracleGrow will work better. I was also wondering if I should use an example of grass or a rose and which would make better results. So if you just make an even layer of used coffee grounds around the plant and use some soil to cover it up, will I have results? Or do I need water? I hope this works!

Editor's Note: Here's a good link about using coffee grounds from Starbucks: (12/14/2006)

By kim

Using Coffee Grounds in the Garden

Finally someone like me. Thank you for all your tips. My husband thinks I'm crazy for asking people for the leftover eggshells and coffee grounds or anything else I might find usable. Thanks again for renewing my faith in mankind to save our planet. (02/20/2008)


By Tina

Using Coffee Grounds in the Garden

I don't drink coffee, but the people at my workplace do. They were happy to save the grounds for my garden! That way you can help your workplace be "green," as well as your plants. (03/11/2008)

By Denise

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