Here's Why You Should Start Mulching With Coffee Grounds

Garden maintenance can feel like full-time work, especially this time of year. Depending on your climate, rainfall, and levels of sun, your flower beds may need frequent attention to get rid of weeds or extra watering to keep your plants looking healthy. However, the right tips and tricks can help your garden look its best, while cutting down on the time you need to spend maintaining it. One way to go about enhancing your garden is to use store-bought weed killers or fertilizers. These products can become costly, especially if you're using them on a regular basis. Plus, if your garden beds are home to edible plants like vegetables or herbs, you may not want to use harsh chemicals or weed killers. 

So why not take a more natural approach? You can keep your plants watered and healthy using leftovers of something you probably already have at home: Coffee grounds. Using coffee in your garden is a great way to recycle grounds after you've brewed them. Most people toss used coffee grounds into the trash, anyway, so if you choose to instead add them to your garden, you can cut down on waste while giving your plants extra nutrients. And to be clear, while coffee grounds can't be used as a mulch replacement, they're a great mulch additive.  

Coffee grounds: The healthy garden ingredient that's getting wasted in your trash

Many coffee drinkers may be surprised to learn that you can use coffee grounds as a fertilizer in your garden. The grounds are organic matter that is rich in potassium, magnesium and nitrogen, so they mix well with soil or mulch and deliver a strong dose of nutrients to your plants. With that in mind, adding them as a companion mulch to your garden (again, not replacing regular mulch) is a great, easy way to help your garden along. Indeed, the University of Arizona notes that using coffee grounds as mulch prevents common fungal decay, and it also improves soil structure thanks to it being a nutrient source for earthworms. 

By using coffee grounds as a companion mulch, you can get the benefits of both coffee grounds and the traditional gardening mulch that combats weeds. Researchers from the University of Wyoming recommend spreading an even, half-inch layer of coffee grounds on your flower beds before covering the space with mulch or wood chips. This will help keep moisture in your garden beds while reducing weeds. It's important to use no more than a half-inch layer to avoid compacting the soil in a way that prevents water from getting to your plants' roots. You can also put used coffee grounds into a compost bin or compost pile to create enriched soil that brings the same benefits to your garden. All in all, as long as you add coffee grounds to your mulch correctly, they are a great addition and a nice use of something you'd otherwise be tossing.