How Coffee Grounds Can Improve Your Compost Pile

It’s easy to assume that your coffee grounds have no further use once they’ve been deployed to brew your morning cup of joe. But rather than throwing them in the trash (or throwing coffee grounds in the trash, which you should never do), there are plenty of ways to reuse them without actually consuming them. Making compost is already a sustainable way to return your scraps to the soil, pumping out the nutrient-packed dirt from your discarded food. When you add your coffee grounds to the mix, you not only avoid wasting them, but you also improve the quality of your compost.

Not all food scraps make for quality material for your pile. For example, you should never add meat to your compost. But pre-brewed java can add nitrogen to your composting efforts, which encourages everything to decompose. In fact, it’s often a good idea to add nitrogen fertilizer to your pile to help everything break down properly. And while coffee alone won’t do the job, it can give a little boost. Additionally, the caffeine in coffee grounds can repel garden pests like slugs and snails when mixed with water.

Read more: 31 Coffee Brands, Ranked From Worst to Best

Use coffee grounds sparingly in your compost

Compost in an outdoor bin – Halfpoint/Shutterstock

While adding coffee grounds to your compost pile has many benefits (and keeps you from wasting your extra java), there are a few important things to keep in mind here. If you drink coffee daily, avoid throwing all your leftover grounds into the ground. Any good pile requires a balance of “browns” – things high in carbon or carbohydrates – and “greens”, which are packed with protein and nitrogen (like our coffee grounds). If you overload your compost with too much nitrogen, it risks heating too quickly, so aim for a 4:1 ratio of brown to green components.

At the same time, don’t rely on your coffee as the sole nitrogen-infusing ingredient, as some microorganisms in your soil will use it. Instead, try incorporating things like leftover fruits and vegetables, eggshells, or nitrogen fertilizer. But if you want to pour your soil sparingly into your compost, do not hesitate to add it to the piles in your garden as well as to indoor composters. All you have to do is sprinkle them on top and then mix them together. And if you still have some java to spare (we’re looking at you, daily drinkers), we’ve rounded up nine other uses for your leftover coffee grounds, so you’ll never have to worry about wasting them.

Read the original article on the tasting table.

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