The Coffee Grounders

Collecting Used Coffee Grounds (UCG)

Gardeners that Collect Used Coffee Grounds

It is great to see what is happening in the gardens of those dedicated individuals that collect coffee grounds for compost and fertilizer.

Amalie is one of the Ground to Ground volunteers in Melbourne, and I had a chance to ask her about gardening with the use of coffee grounds.

What got you into gardening?

I’m studying to be a nutritionist at the moment and the benefits of fresh food are too good to ignore. Some of the studies we have done as part of my degree have really highlighted that ‘fresh’ produce from the supermarket isn’t always as fresh as we think, even when you go to the markets sometimes it’s been sitting around and you can’t ensure that it hasn’t been treated with chemicals.

I initially started with a small collection of herbs to avoid the cost at the supermarket and this has grown to the point where I’m confident that I can go out into the garden in the evenings and get enough vegetables for dinner.
Because we are renting at the moment it limits what I can grow. Most of my plants are in pots and I also have a few big apple crates where I have created ‘no dig’ layered gardens. I’d really like to have 6 plots so that I can rotate produce and I’d also like to grow fruit trees in the future.

Currently I’m growing: Sweet corn, zucchini’s, capsicum, limes, raspberries, strawberries, eggplants, broccoli, spring onions, tomatoes (heirloom and low acid varieties), cabbage, peas, beans, lettuce, chilli’s, blueberries, rhubarb, carrots, mint, basil, parsley, rosemary, chives, oregano, thyme.

Corn growing in used coffee grounds

How long have you been collecting coffee grounds for, and how much do you think you have used?

I have been collecting used coffee grounds since about November 2010. I haven’t used a huge amount, probably 30 Kilos (at one stage I hauled a 10kg bag home). But even this has been enough to see the results in the garden! No more ants- they had been eating out the root systems from many of my plants and when I added coffee grounds to the garden they stopped immediately. I have also found plants have shot up and are full of colour.

Peppers in a used coffee grounds compost

How did you find out about it?

I found out about it through our internal website at work where Shane asked if anyone would be interested in collecting coffee grounds through work. When I realized the benefits I couldn’t wait.

What results have you found by using coffee grounds for your plants or compost?

I have found that pests like ants, snails and slugs stay away as well as my cat! The cat seems to think my garden is her personal litter box and kept digging up plants as well. Since putting the used coffee grounds on the garden I haven’t found anything disturbed.

growing eggplant plants thrive with coffee grounds compost

What advice would you give to someone that is just starting to use coffee grounds?

Keep it up! Its such a cheap and easy way to nourish your garden without putting in anything with chemicals. You don’t need a lot for each plant. I’m always amazed at how far it goes. I start by putting a little around the base of each plant and then dig it in a little. I then put some on the surface to deter the cat and the slugs.

What kind of reaction do you get from people when you tell them you collect used coffee grounds?

I was actually really surprised at how many people already knew the benefits. Those that didn’t already know where really surprised at how easy it is.

tomatoes growing in a coffee compost

What message would you give to people that are considering making use of this resource?

Do it! You will only thank yourself in the long run! Not only does it do good things for your garden but it smells great too!

zucchini in a used coffee compost

Let’s end the tour with this view of strawberries in coffee compost. Thanks Amalie!!

strawberries growing in used coffee compst

What fruits and vegetables are you growing in the garden right now?
+Shane Genziuk

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10 thoughts on “Collecting Used Coffee Grounds (UCG)

  1. Pingback: Coffee Grounds are Worm Crack! | Coffee Grounds to Ground

  2. Just one more thing I wanted to ask because it came up at work yesterday. Are there any workplace health and safety issues if people want to collect used coffee grounds?

  3. Pingback: The History of Used Coffee Grounds for Gardening | Coffee Grounds to Ground

  4. Can I just ask how you are applying the coffee grounds to the strawberrys – are you adding them directly or after they have broken down into compost?

    • Thanks for the question Maxwell. When it comes to strawberries and coffee grounds you can safety do a combination. Apply a couple of handful of used coffee grounds out about 3 inches from the strawberry plants, and scratch them into soil a little. At the same time, you can apply a healthy serve of compost that should of course have had some coffee grounds added at the start.

    • Sorry Beks, the coffee flavour is not picked up in the plants in anyway that I have been able to notice, although the thought of coffee flavoured strawberries is a good one! If you want to learn all about the benefits of used coffee grounds, check out the Ground to Ground Primer , which will take you through it all.
      Thanks for writing in.

  5. It is so good that you are doing stories of the gardeners that are collecting used coffee grounds. If only I got the weeds out of my garden maybe you could get me on the site! Was always into the coffee grounds composting at the office and would bring it back to the garden for plants, mostly potatoes and pumpkin.
    Keep up the good work!!

    • Howdy James – happy to do a story about your coffee gardening adventures any time you are ready. And keep in mind some of the other plants you can use the grounds on also – like peppers and strawberries also :)

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