As one of the most popular beverages in Canada, coffee is an abundant source of organic material for many urban gardens. It is high in nitrogen, readily available (ask nicely at your local coffee shop), and has a variety of uses. Here are some of our favourites:

1. As Mulch
Spread up to 1″ of coffee grounds around the base of your plants as a mulch. This will help to keep moisture in the soil, add organic material, and suppress weeds from growing at the base of your plants.

2. As a Compost Amendment
When coffee grounds are mixed with shredded leaves in the composter, the end results are great for plants. Coffee beans are high in nitrogen and help to balance the high carbon content of fall leaves. This helps speed up the overall composting process

3. As a Natural Slug Deterrent 
Coffee grounds are acidic and abrasive, just what slugs and snails detest. Keep your veggies happy and slug free with a barrier of coffee grounds around your garden.

4. Side Dressing for Plants
Similar to the mulch idea, you can use coffee as a side dressing for your heavy feeding plants in the middle of the summer. Because the grounds decompose quickly, you’ll find a lot of places where you can use coffee grounds – sometimes so many places you can’t keep enough of the grounds available for your garden

5. Coffee “Tea” for Plants
Think of this like a quick and dirty compost tea for your plants. Using a compost tea brewer, aquarium air pump/air stone, or bucket, make your own coffee brew extract as either a foliar spray or application directly onto your plants.

Cover Image by Glenn Fleishman, used under its Creative Commons license.

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