Coffee grounds

Asked November 17, 2016, 12:43 AM EST

Do coffee grounds make good fertilizer? I can get lots of free grounds from a local coffee shop.

King County Washington compost soil and fertility issues

1 Response

Thanks for contacting Ask an Expert; let’s talk about coffee grounds. This waste product of our active coffee culture can make a substantial contribution to a compost pile or as a soil amendment, but it does not have significant nutrient value.

Various sources estimate the amount of nitrogen in coffee grounds between 1% and 2%, though not all will be immediately available. It would be classified as a source of slowly-available nitrogen. There are small amounts of other nutrients.

For guidance on using coffee grounds in the garden, the Lane County (Eugene) Master Gardeners have developed a handy brochure. Find it here. A more extensive article by Washington State University is here.