Do Cucumbers Like Coffee Grounds in the Soil? [ANSWERED]
Using coffee grounds in your garden isn’t new, but recently there has been a resurgence of interest in the topic. Particularly surrounding using coffee grounds in your veggie patch. In this article we’re going to focus on the cucumbers and coffee grounds. So let’s find out – do cucumbers like coffee grounds?
Cucumbers like to grow in well drained soil that is slightly acidic, loamy (has ample aeration) and is rich in organic matter and nutrients. Coffee grounds can help to boost your garden’s soil that cucumbers thrive in. Coffee grounds will enrich your compost with more organic matter, increase the loaminess of your soil and help to produce a more acidic environment.
Welcome to today’s feature article at the Garden Bench Top, where we are going to examine the relationship between cucumbers and coffee grounds. We’ll explore the many ways coffee grounds can benefit your cucumber crops, how to use coffee grounds and other interesting facts about this unusual relationship.
If you’re ready, grab a coffee (and save the coffee grounds), because we’re about to get our hands dirty.
Cucumbers: Ideal Soil Growing Conditions
We touched on a few of the advantages used coffee grounds can have on garden soil.
In this section, we’ll expand on those concepts, by discussing the ideal growing conditions that cucumbers thrive under. After each point, we’ll discuss how coffee grounds enhance the soil’s properties, allowing you to make an informed decision.
Cucumbers Thrive in Acidic Soil
If you are looking to grow a bumper crop of cucumbers this season, you will need to maintain a slightly acidic environment for them to grow in. To be more specific, cucumbers thrive in soils that have pH levels between 6.0 and 6.5.
For those that missed science class 101, a pH level of 7.0 is considered neutral. Anything with pH levels measuring less than 7.0 is considered acidic, while any levels that are between 7.0 and 14.0 are alkaline.
The reason cucumbers like slightly acidic soil is that the acidity helps to dissolve the nutrients in the soil. This makes it easier for the roots of the cucumber plant to absorb the nutrients efficiently.
How Does Adding Coffee Grounds Help?
If you were to measure the pH levels of fresh coffee grounds, you would find that they have a slightly acidic pH level that ranges between 6.5 and 6.8. Therefore, simply mixing fresh grounds into your garden soil will help to produce a more acidic soil environment. But where would the fun be in that – you wouldn’t be able to enjoy a cup of coffee!
However, used coffee grounds (like grounds used in an espresso coffee machine) lose their acidity and have a pH level that is closer to neutral. But that isn’t to say that they still cannot be used to help your cucumber’s soil. Check out the next section for how to put used coffee grounds to work in your garden.
Cucumbers Love Loam Soil
If there is one thing you want to get right in your cucumber’s soil, it is that it has a loam consistency that drains well.
Loam soil refers to the consistency of soil. The general properties of a good loam soil are that it has very good drainage properties, with plenty of porous materials that allow air to flow through the soil. The most common components of loam soil are sand, silt and clay. Note that you will also need to add organic matter or organic waste (compost) to your soil to feed your cucumber plants.
When we set up our vegetable garden to grow cucumbers, we like to build up several mounds of garden soil and plant two cucumber plants per mound. This ensures the soil has been recently worked and aerated, with sufficient drainage.
If your soil is too dense or hard, you will find your cucumber plants won’t be as prolific, and will struggle to thrive as you would expect.
How Does Adding Coffee Grounds Help?
By virtue of the fact that you are mixing coffee grounds into the soil, it means you are manually turning the soil, which helps to increase aeration of the soil and helps to produce a loam soil.
Adding coffee grounds to the soil also helps to boost the organic material of the soil, providing the roots with the necessary nutrients it requires to produce a bumper crop of fruits.
However, our preferred method of adding coffee grounds to the soil uses a different technique, which we’ll discuss in the next section.
Growing a healthy, vibrant and productive cucumber plant requires certain nutrients to be present in the soil. Cucumbers require nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus as the base ingredients to grow strong.
Therefore, it is important to include an organic fertilizer for cucumbers to supplement your loam soil. Without these ingredients, your cucumber’s growth will be stunted with minimal flower production, and even less fruit.
How Does Adding Coffee Grounds Help?
Fortunately, coffee grounds are high in all three of the essential nutrients cucumbers need for optimal growth. Used coffee grounds also have magnesium and other beneficial nutrients that can assist in developing your cucumber plant’s growth.
We do, however, recommend adding the coffee grounds into your compost rather than directly into your cucumber’s soil.
The composting process (and heat from this process) helps to breakdown the coffee grounds quickly and efficiently, compared to used coffee grounds added directly into your garden soil. And the quicker coffee grounds can be broken down, the quicker the essential nutrients can be absorbed by your cucumber plants.
Not only is composting used coffee grounds more efficient. Mixing homemade compost into your garden soil gives a much more varied and balanced nutrient boost to your soil – versus simply adding coffee grounds into the soil.
Do Cucumbers Like Coffee Grounds – Other Benefits
Aside from the improvements we looked at above, there are other benefits that can be obtained from adding coffee grounds into your soil. Here are a few of our favorites.
Have you noticed your cucumber plants looking a bit shorter with a few leaves missing, and wondered what is eating my cucumber plants?
It could be that some snails or slugs have been conducting night raids on your cucumber plants, making it that much harder for them to grow and thrive.
Strangely, snails and slugs are not big fans of coffee grounds. Whether it is the smell, the texture or maybe they are on a strict no-caffeine diet. Whatever the reason, if you sprinkle used coffee grounds on the topsoil around your cucumber plants, it will keep those pesky slugs and snails away.
Another Form of Mulch
Some gardeners like to use sterilized coffee grounds as an additional layer of organic mulch around their cucumbers.
If you think about it, it is a brilliant idea. Not only does it keep the slimy pests away, it helps to retain the moisture in your soil, and delivers important nutrients to the soil as it slowly breaks down over time.
Attracts the Beneficial Fauna
Anywhere where there is degrading organic content, a horde of beneficial insects and animals follow. And as much as some of them give us the heebie jeebies, they are ultimately great (and necessary) for the soil.
Worms, millipedes, pill bugs, and many many more insects work hard all day and night to break down the organic matter in the soil. It is a necessary part of nature, that keeps the circle of life turning in our gardens.
Worms, in particular, are our favorite. They tunnel their way through the soil to help decompose the rotten matter in our soil (ie., coffee grounds). After eating the matter, they poo out worm castings which are rich in nutrients.
Not only that, as they move around, they create air tunnels which help to aerate the soil – supplying the roots of your cucumber plants with oxygen.
Final Thoughts on Do Cucumbers Like Coffee Grounds
Yes, coffee grounds will ultimately benefit the growth of your cucumbers.
We like to add coffee grounds to our compost and distribute the decomposed coffee grounds into our cucumber plants soil along with all the other beneficial organic matter.
However, there are some other benefits of adding it directly to your garden plants topsoil, like pest deterrence, moisture retention and even attracting beneficial creatures to your cucumber plants.