Do you like coffee? Do you compost? If you aren’t composting with coffee grounds you’re missing out. Coffee grounds are a must-have for us at home. Composting with coffee grounds is a great way to speed up your composting at home while adding nitrogen to our compost piles. Yes, you can use coffee grounds in the soil directly, but, composting them first is always our preferred way to use coffee grounds in the garden. Let’s dive into the details of how to compost with coffee grounds.
Table of Contents
Coffee grounds in compost: green or brown?
When composting at home the material we put in is usually either labelled as green ( nitrogen-rich) or brown (carbon-rich). If this terminology is new to you, please have a look at this article where we go through the basics of composting at home. Coffee grounds are almost entirely made up of nitrogen, placing them firmly in the “green” category.
Coffee grounds in the compost pile
As with any green material, adding coffee grounds to your compost pile will help speed up the composting process by increasing the temperature of the pile. This is especially useful if your pile isn’t generating enough heat in the winter months or you’ve added too much brown material to your pile.
One benefit of adding coffee grounds to your compost heap is that you add nitrogen without adding water. Most nitrogen-rich materials eg food waste also have a lot of water. If your compost pile is too moist but doesn’t have enough nitrogen coffee grounds are the perfect solution to get your compost pile back in balance.
How much coffee grounds to put in compost?
The great thing about using coffee grounds in compost is that a little goes a long way. I can’t imagine a situation where coffee grounds should make up more than 10% of your compost pile. Ideally, you want a 30:1 Carbon to Nitrogen ratio in your compost pile. My best advice would be to add a little at a time and make corrections as you go along.
Coffee grounds in compost tumblers
Compost tumblers are my preferred vessel for composting at home. It keeps everything neat and contained. For aerobic composting, it is recommended that your composting vessel be at least a cubic meter in volume. This is so that the material gets to a temperature that is high enough to kill off weed seeds and pathogens (roughly between 120 to 160 degrees F for 3 to 4 days). For most home gardeners getting their composting systems to this volume all at once can be difficult. Utilizing coffee grounds is a good way to “cheat” the system to get to the temperatures you need to even if you don’t have the waste volume to get you there.
Coffee grounds are also known to deter some pests like roaches. If for some reason they get in there adding coffee grounds is one thing you can try to chase them out.
Adding coffee grounds to garden soil
At this point, you may be wondering, ” if coffee grounds are made up mostly of nitrogen and plants need nitrogen, couldn’t I just add it directly to my soil?” My answer to that would be, it depends. In some circumstances you can directly add it to your soil. I’ve outlined the pros, cons and how to add coffee grounds to soil in this article.
Coffee grounds and banana peels for plants
In general, you can use coffee grounds as a nitrogen supplement for your plants. They are especially beneficial to acid-loving plants like tomatoes, blueberries and azaleas. You can also mix them with banana peels to create a “compost tea” which is great for foliar feeding your plants.
While coffee grounds are high in Nitrogen, which all plants need to produce healthy leaves, banana peels are high in potassium. Plants use potassium to transport water through the pant. It is also necessary for the production of fruit and flowers. Utilizing Potassium with your coffee grounds can help plants build strong stems and increase the size of their fruits.
Composting with coffee grounds is a great way to speed up your composting at home. Coffee grounds can be added to your compost pile or compost tumbler. While you could add coffee grounds to your garden soil, using them in your compost pile generally produces better results.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. Affiliate links are often used to promote certain products and services. These products and services are only promoted because we believe them to be of high quality and that they are beneficial products/services to our readers. If you purchase these products/services through any affiliate links, Ah-Grow! will earn a commission paid for by the vendor. This is at no additional cost to you.