Among my favorite ingredients for making compost is coffee grounds. Here, I’ll show you how to use coffee grounds in your compost and how you can source coffee grounds for free.
Compost is my not-so-secret ingredient to having great soil and a productive garden. My “recipe” for making compost includes manure and used bedding from my chicken coop, fruit and vegetable scraps from my kitchen, leaves and other debris from my yard — and coffee grounds from the local cafe.
Coffee grounds are a fantastic addition to a compost pile because they are rich in nitrogen and they complement carbon-rich inputs, like leaves, to accelerate the activity of the bacteria and fungi that break down organic material. With the right mixture of nitrogen sources, carbon sources, water and air, microbes will flourish.
After you have brewed your morning coffee, the used grounds — and the paper filter — can go into your compost bin. (You can also collect grounds in a kitchen counter compost container until you are ready to take them to your outdoor bin.) Turn the compost pile once every week or so to mix up all the ingredients and to introduce air to the organic materials and microbes.
If you’re not a coffee drinker, or you’re just looking to make a lot of compost, you can ask coffee shops for their used grounds. Small businesses will typically be happy to have someone remove their grounds. Even corporate chain cafes will give away grounds if you ask. Starbucks calls their program “Grounds for Your Garden,” and it’s been in place for 25 years.
You’ll be doing coffee shops a favor by taking away waste that they otherwise would have to pay to dispose of, and you’ll also keep those valuable grounds out of a landfill.
For comprehensive instructions on making compost, you can get my free resource, The Complete Guide to Home Composting. It will tell you everything you need to know to create quality compost that you can add to your garden confidently.
Do you use coffee grounds in your compost? Let us know in the comments below.
Links & Resources
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joegardener Online Gardening Academy™: Three popular courses on gardening fundamentals; managing pests, diseases & weeds; and seed starting!
joegardener Online Gardening Academy Master Seed Starting: Everything you need to know to start your own plants from seed — indoors and out.
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