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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Let’s end the tour with this view of strawberries in coffee compost. Thanks Amalie!!
What fruits and vegetables are you growing in the garden right now?
- Flowers of Summer (groundtoground.org)
- Gardening with Coffee Grounds – Video (groundtoground.org)
- Potatoes and Coffee Grounds (groundtoground.org)