Coffee Grounds for the Potato
This is an update to an earlier post about some of the things I am doing with growing potatoes in car tires, with a coffee compost blend. In the month and half since then, there has been considerable growth of the potato plants.
Under the grass clippings is a mixture of coffee compost and leafmold. Using coffee grounds with potatoes seems to be working very well.
This second stack is going even better. The leaves and stems are in great condition, which was not the case last year. To date, I have not feed the plants anything besides what was already in the compost.
Another potato plant in coffee compost, this time in a polystyrene container. You can see some potatoes growing on the right, only a few inches below the surface. This container might well be full of spuds in a few months! In this one there is mostly fresh soil and vermicast, which seems ideally suited to growing potato.
The quality of this soil is providing me with healthy and productive plants, sure to provide the kind of fruits and vegetables that you just can’t buy in a shop. I might even haul a bag of the spuds to the coffee house that gave me all that ground coffee.
How to Grow Potato
I’ve been asked a few times how do I grow potatoes, and the whole thing is easy for home gardeners at any level. You could start with the potatoes that you buy from the supermarket, leave them out in non-direct sunlight until they start producing shoots in the potato eyes. A week after that starts, get them four inches into the ground with the shoots facing up, water the soil, and leave it be.
There is no shortage of references of how to grow potatoes, and I recommend you do some research before getting into more intensive potato growing.
What Others Are Reading
- The Ground to Ground Primer – Coffee Grounds for the Garden (groundtoground.org)
- Coffee Grounds for Compost and Fertilizer (groundtoground.org)
- Collecting Coffee Grounds in the Office (groundtoground.org)
Although no ones mentioned it, you do have to completely dry grounds before using, and I would like to know if I can add coffee grounds to grow sweet potatoes? I know I can with white and red, but what about sweet potatoes?
Have you ever grown potatoes in 100% used coffee grounds?
Hi there Jon. I normally start them off in a good soil and then layer upwards with coffee grounds and compost. the ratio would be about 70% coffee grounds to compost. Will be trying pure coffee grounds next season but I’m not sure it is going to work out – there would be problems with mold and a lack of body to hold the thing together – but will give it a try.
Thanks for your reply. I have been collecting used coffee grounds from my local coffee shops. Have you grown anything else in coffee grounds? I am trying to build up my garden.
Hi Jon, mix it with soil or compost and it can help grow anything you like. Used coffee grounds are not a complete plant food by themselves, so mix 50/50 and away you go.
Thanks for your reply. I have been vermicomposting, have an outdoor compost, and have realized the importance of coffee grounds more recently. It really adds up, stopping by my local shops everyday to take their grounds. They are happy to share and it is not going into the landfills. What types of plants have you found to like coffee grounds the most? Since grounds are mostly nitrogen, tomato plants and some others seem to thrive. What have you found based on your garden?
Best regards and happy growing!
You will find that just about any plant will benefit in some way from coffee grounds, and yes agree that tomatoes do very well with grounds added.
At the moment I’ve got some Jerusalem Artichoke going great with grounds, and herbs like parsley, oregano, marjoram, and mint enjoy them also.
Around fruit trees is effective at conditioning the soil and retaining moisture.
I think you will enjoy reading an earlier post of mine on on a relating topic – https://groundtoground.org/2011/07/03/coffee-grounds-in-compost/
Hope you enjoy it Jon and please get back to me with any questions or comments you like.
Thank you for your responses and all of your hardwork. This is a great thing that you are doing and really are making a difference. I read through the link that you mentioned and that was very helpful. I really like your ph testing. Have you ever tested the ph of peat moss? I know that it is acidic as well and was not sure how it compared to coffee grounds? Replacing the peat moss used to grow blueberries with used coffee grounds might be a nice way to limit the amount of peat harvested. My goal is to be able to keep one ton of grounds out landfills over the course of a year. I think it is a very doable goal and hope that others would join in as well.
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Thanks for the advice on growing potatoes in coffee grounds. Have tried the tires for growing potatoes but used normal soil and some compost for it and not coffee grounds.
Might give it a go and send you some photos of how it all goes. Cheers – Andri
No worries Andriana. Those coffee grounds go great in tires, along with some grass clippings and just regular soil.