'I use waste item as fertiliser for my strawberries - it boosts growth and keeps pests away'

Picture of a big lush strawberry
-Credit:(Image: Getty)

Strawberries are a beloved garden crop, credited for their relative ease of growth once given the proper fertiliser. Frustration often stems from non-productive strawberries, frequently attributed to providing insufficient nutrients and not testing soil pH levels.

Nicole Metzger, owner of Metzger Acres and an experienced farmer, said that arranging the proper soil conditions for strawberries can be "finicky", but can be simply managed with the incorporation of the correct organic elements. According to Nicole: "Strawberry plants prefer slightly acidic soil, ranging around 5.3 pH to 6.5 pH. The pH of your soil can be tricky to get right in a vegetable garden because different plants prefer different acidity levels."

She highlighted the benefit of crafting homemade fertiliser from coffee grounds, as its slight acidity and nitrogen content naturally enhance soil structures and provide nutrients to strawberries, reports the Express. Coffee grounds supply essential nitrogen for strawberries. This component significantly contributes to plant growth, supports fruit production, and induces more crop growth.

READ MORE Tempers flare as drivers use wrong lanes at 'improved' junction

Nicole considers it one of the "best fertilisers" for strawberries when used "properly". She shared: "Coffee grounds do not contain harmful chemicals that some commercial fertilisers contain. Chemical fertilisers can be too potent if applied incorrectly, resulting in damaged plants, or plants receiving too much of the wrong nutrients.

"Another benefit of using coffee grounds as fertiliser for your strawberries is that coffee is a natural pest control. Several insects and rodents dislike the smell and taste of the coffee grounds and will steer clear of your plants! Mosquitoes, rats and mice, ants, snails, wasps, and others cannot stand the smell of coffee grounds."

Furthermore, coffee grounds can aid in improving soil drainage, which lessens the possibility of the soil becoming waterlogged and subsequently reduces the risk of your strawberries acquiring diseases like root rot.

How to use coffee grounds as a fertiliser for strawberries

To whip up a homemade fertiliser for strawberries, you only need to blend half a cup of coffee with a gallon of water and allow the solution to sit in a container for 24 to 48 hours. Stir it occasionally. Nicole said: "This will allow the nutrients to disperse throughout the water, creating an all-natural liquid fertiliser."

Then just dispense the solution around the soil of your strawberry plants. Nicole reminded: "Letting the grounds soak in the water for a day or two will create a wonderful, nutrient-rich liquid fertilizer for your strawberry patch!"

You can also sprinkle the coffee grounds directly onto the soil of your strawberries and then give your plants a deep watering. Nicole stated: "Once watered in, the nutrients will soak into the soil and fertilise the strawberry plants. This works well because strawberry plants have shallow roots and the coffee grounds can easily reach the root systems to be absorbed by the plants."

The downsides of coffee grounds for strawberries

It should be noted that you only need a small amount of coffee grounds to give your strawberries a nitrogen boost, and too much can harm them. Nicole explained: "As with anything, too much of a good thing can become a bad thing. The high acidity and nitrogen content of coffee grounds can be beneficial if your garden soil is lacking in these things.

"However, if your soil is already extremely nutrient dense, adding too much nitrogen can actually stunt the growth of the fruiting part of the plant."

Before feeding strawberries, or any plant, a homemade fertiliser make sure to keep a close eye on the plant, test your soil and only feed the plant a small amount of the fertiliser to test it out at first. If your strawberry plant has been overfed, signs to watch out for are excessive leaf growth and weak spindly stems unable to support the weight of the fruit growing on it.

It should also be noted that coffee grounds can be toxic to pets, and not try out this method if you have cats or dogs running around your garden. Nicole advised: "If you have curious dogs and cats around your strawberry patch, it might be best to avoid using coffee grounds. A moderate amount of caffeine can be toxic to small dogs and cats, causing serious health implications."