Are you a coffee drinker? We are in our house so I have a cup or so of coffee grounds every day to deal with. I throw them in my compost bin so they do get recycled. But there are so many other ways to use them. Here are a few that might give you a little inspiration to start saving your grounds.

First of all, you can add coffee grounds, paper filters and all to compost piles, worm composting bins, and simply to the garden in sheet composting style (dig them under).

Use grounds to mulch your plants. They are attractive and actually provide a mild dose of slow-release nitrogen to your plants. If they start getting a bit of mold, simply take a fork and stir them around. This goes for houseplants as well as outdoor plants.

Add a cup of coffee grounds to a quart of potting soil when repotting indoor plants. They will help retain moisture and provide a mild fertilizer. This is a great practice as you get ready to repot houseplants in the spring.

Work coffee grounds into your garden soil before seed planting to improve water-holding capacity and air space. You can simply spread them on top or use lightweight cultivation to dig them in.

Coffee grounds mixed with crushed eggshells repel snails and slugs. Simply mix dry grounds with the eggshells and sprinkle around your hostas and in the centers of the crowns.

Mix tiny carrot and radish seeds with dry coffee grounds for better spacing. You can also use sand, but coffee grounds will also help retain moisture to help the seedlings break through the soil crust.

Spread coffee grounds and orange peels in flower beds to keep cats from using the garden as a litter box. I’m trying this in one of my pots indoors that my cat has taken a fancy to.

Make a big coffee “tea” bag for a gentle, fast-acting liquid fertilizer. Mix about a half-pound can of grounds in a five-gallon bucket of water and let it let it sit for 24 hours. The grounds will settle and you can pour the liquid off. Or, put a cupful in a coffee filter, staple it shut and drop it in a pitcher of water to steep.  Water houseplants and outdoor plants.

In the kitchen, place a bowl with coffee grounds in the freezer to remove unwanted odors. And, rub coffee grounds on your hands to get rid of smells from chopping or cutting up pungent foods such as fish or garlic. You can also use coffee grounds to absorb odors in closets by filling old nylons and hanging them. Besides a bit of explaining to guests, it really works!

Kate Jerome