If you go to any local coffee roaster asking about those bags that coffee beans come in, it’s likely the roaster will offer some to you. The things are like pallets. They’re everywhere, free for the taking, you just have to know where to get them. What’s more, they’re super useful for projects around the home. I like to keep a stack of coffee sacks around to use in the garden. They’re made from jute, a natural fiber, biodegrades in the presence of sunlight and water. Here are just a few ideas for using the versatile coffee sack in the garden.
1. Prevent weed growth with a natural groundcover.
You can open up a coffee sack by cutting or pulling out the string that sews them shut on either side of the bag. Lay it out length-wise along your rows, and cut holes for your seeds or transplants. This significantly reduces the amount of weeding you’ll have to do, ensuring your plants will get all the energy from the soil that they can. Coffee sacks can also be used between rows to keep things tidy and to prevent wayward weeds.
2. Use coffee sacks for container planting.
Because coffee sacks are biodegradable, you not only get a place for your plants to grow in a more controlled environment than out in open soil, you also get some compost out the deal. It’s a win-win.
3. Move soil and gardening equipment from point A to point B.
Coffee sacks are, after all, sacks, so they are great at fulfilling their main purpose: to contain multiple things for movement from place to place. If you need to carry several tools at once, or you want to move some soil, just load up the sack and carry or drag it where you need to be. Just be careful not to leave it outside where the elements can degrade the fibers, unless you’re throwing it in the compost.
4. Use the string holding the sack together to tie plants to stakes.
I like to use sticks in the garden for staking tomatoes and to provide support to plants that might otherwise topple on their own. Coffee sacks are made up of a long strip of woven jute, folded over with each side stitched together with string. On both sides of the bag I pull out the string, trying to keep it as intact as possible (although once in a while I’ll run into a crazy knot that requires scissors). I use this string for everything: hanging bacon to cure; in place of plastic ribbon when wrapping gifts; and in the garden, I use it to secure my tomato plants to their stakes and my climbing plants to their trellises. I use coffee sack string so often, in fact, that I like to keep a roll of it in a drawer in the kitchen so I can pull it out whenever I need it.
5. Ward off hungry pests with a coffee sack scarecrow.
Finally, coffee sacks are so versatile, you can even stuff a few and assemble them into a scarecrow to keep birds away from your veggies. Use sticks or dowels to keep the figure upright, that’ll keep the crows away, at least for a while.