On some basic level, planting a seed or a tiny plant and watching it grow is deeply satisfying. Even if it takes a couple tries (hey, who hasn't killed a houseplant in their day?), there's a little jolt of joy when you realize you've helped a small green thing to flourish. And whether you've got sprawling bundle of acreage, a postage-stamp sized city backyard, or nothing but a sunny windowsill to call your own, you too can harness that cosmic life force through gardening.
When it comes to growing fruits, veggies, and herbs, most of us city folk are practitioners of container gardening, as much of the soil in our backyards isn't really safe to eat food from (see here for a handy container gardening guide). One problem with container gardening, though, is that because the soil is separate from the larger ecosystem, it can become stagnant and depleted of nutrients. Enter a true gardening hero: compost, the nutrient-packed result of decomposed food scraps and other natural materials. A regular application of compost to a garden bed or container can make synthetic fertilizer unnecessary; hooray for organic gardening!
Coffee grounds, wouldn't you know, are an exceptional addition to a compost pile. They break down easily, and are high in nitrogen, which many plants love. Even better: you don't need to have an at-home compost pile to enjoy the gardening benefits of coffee grounds. We asked the kind folks at Greensgrow West to explain what you can do with coffee grounds and why they're so great for gardens. Greensgrow gardening expert Lee Ann says:
Coffee grounds, because they are ground up so finely, are exactly the right size to start decomposing in a compost bin or even directly into your soil when you are transplanting plants. Tomatoes, in particular, love the PH of coffee grounds and it is often recommended that coffee grounds be thrown into the planting hole (along with cracked eggshells, a fish head or tail, and even a teaspoon of Epsom Salts). This lovely variety of ingredients provides needed nutrients to the tomatoes as they grow their root system and begin to put out flowers that will eventually become the fruit of the plant.
- Use them as a slug barrier
- Mix with mulch to keep cats, squirrels, and rabbits away
- Work into the soil around onions, lettuce, corn and other nitrogen loving plants
- Adding the grounds to water and using that to water the garden
As you can imagine, our shops produce so many coffee grounds each day, and we want to share the wealth!
So starting on Friday, June 12th HubBub will be offering free coffee grounds from 3-5PM every Friday at our Spruce Street and Radnor locations. Bring your own container and receive a free drink token (!), or we're happy to provide you with a waterproof coffee bag.* Just ask the barista about the grounds and they'll scoop you out as much as you'd like!
Good luck with those gardens, everyone, and we hope to see you on a Friday afternoon soon!
* while supplies last
Espresso grounds photo by Steven Depolo
Garden photo by Roman Petruniak
Coffee grounds photo by Christopher Paquette