• Kara Richardson

Coffee Grounds as a Seed Starter and More Garden Tips


Even used coffee grounds deserve a new life!

This is NOT scientific at all, but you all know I'm up for reusing things when I can. And I'm determined to find something to do with all my spent coffee grounds. I've tried watering my plants with coffee ground water and almost burnt them up. I've tried using them in a DIY Coffee Scrub Mask and although I saw success with my skin tone, I can't use all my coffee grounds on that. I was determined not to give up, so you can imagine my happiness when I came across a blog talking about starting seeds in used coffee grounds. My little gardening heart nearly skipped a beat! Since I'm still potting my fall seeds, I figured that now would be a good time to test the mix. Here's how I did it:


#1: I took a 1 cup measuring scoop and for every cup of used coffee grounds I put in, I put in an equal amount of potting mix. I always use potting mix to start my seeds, even though I eventually plant my seedlings in raised bed garden soil. For delicate seeds, potting mix is light enough where the seeds don't have to do too much work to break through the soil.

#2 I pre-mix my coffee ground/potting mix combo in a clean container and use as needed.


#3 This has nothing to do with my coffee ground/potting mix combo, but I have started using whatever container I can come across to start my seeds in (that's a blog post all by itself). It's amazing how many things still come in plastic containers that can be reused instead of recycled. I make drainage holes in my plastic containers by drilling several holes in the bottom using my largest drill bit.

Any plastic container can be turned into a planter if you add drainage holes.

#4 I'm building a greenhouse, but until it's finished, I still have to create a greenhouse effect around my germinating seeds. I do this by watering the seeded soil and placing the top half of a 2 liter bottle on top of it (plastic top removed). I also don't start my seeds inside because I just don't have the space. So I find the coolest, most indirectly lit area of my yard, set up a shelf and get my seeds to going.

The top half of a soda bottle placed over planted seed containers is a simple hack for a greenhouse effect.

I've already started a group of medicinal herbs using my coffee ground/potting mix combo and they sprouted within a week. I also have a group of seeds I've started for fall that I've planted in the mix, including my cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli. They literally sprouted the next day. Only time, and continued growth, will tell exactly how effective this technique is. And there's no guarantee that each seed will grow the same way in the coffee grounds. But if you're willing to try it out to save more things from going into our trash, then go for it. I've you're trying it out, or have tried it before, let me know your experiences in the comments below. And happy gardening!

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