Think Outside The Pod

Coffee Pod + Seed = BAM!

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I think the image says it all...

Sometimes the simplest hacks are the ones that'll save the world... the ones *anyone* can do, and don't even have to go searching for parts.

So, get going! Throw a seed in a coffee pod, report your findings!

Please join this project, or start your own!

(Thanks @Sean Hodgins for the inspiration from:


I'll let this link speak for itself:


(d'oh! I guess I wasn't the first to come up with this... Goog1e: "coffee pod seedling")

  • no seedlings...

    esot.eric05/22/2016 at 08:04 1 comment

    It's been quite some time, and no seedlings sprouted.

    I tried Magnolia seeds (from ancient trees that might've been past their fruitfulness) and Pomegranate seeds.

    The garlic, on the other hand, did quite well

    Read more »

  • Garlic!

    esot.eric04/05/2016 at 11:06 0 comments

    No kidding... I ran out of coffee-pods, but threw some garlic cloves which were already growing (once long ago) into some grounds from a regular-old coffee-pot. A few days later they had roots!

    Now I've learned quite a bit... These garlic cloves were, as far as I was concerned, past their prime... They had the green-sprouts, but were also quite dried-up and I figured they were near dead. Shows what I know!

    Now, here's a cool thing... those coffee pods have a little indentation where the water enters... So you don't even have to go digging to throw in a garlic clove or a seed...

    So when I acquired new (used) pods, I dug through the remaining garlic for the best-bets and they looked pretty beat-up

    And a few days later...

    The original ones in regular-ol coffee-pot grounds got an upgrade since I'd uprooted 'em checking for roots... Now they've got more room to grow. The soil is 100% coffee-grounds, the growth is amazing.

  • Reality sets in... mold and environment

    esot.eric03/27/2016 at 21:28 0 comments

    Well, it's questionable, anyhow...

    So, if you've ever left a used coffee-filter + grounds in the pot for a week or so, you've probably seen the mold.

    I wasn't not expecting this with this experiment. However, I wasn't particularly planning on the spores. So keep those things contained:

    Heh, I thought those photos were better...

    Bagged on the left we have magnolia seeds... Half of them were still in their fruit (dried), the other half were actually I think duds. I'm no seed expert, these are just experiments. Interestingly, the fruit-bearing seed 'pods' are molding an orangeish-color, which matches the color of the fruit. The others (in both 'camps') are molding more of a white->green.

    Interesting-observation \#2: Before I bagged 'em, the mold was *white* (and blew all over the room whenever breathed on), but after bagging, the mold turned green. Hmm.

    Bagged on the right we have pomegranate seeds. These were dried, but the fruit was only removed as best I could between my finger and thumb... I didn't scrub 'em or anything (again, mold-expected).

    Side-note: The seedlings sprouted-and-passed at the bottom of the photo are Maple saplings that sprung-up in sidewalk-cracks... I'll throw some notes at the bottom of this log.

    So, on mold...

    Here's my rationale: There's a reason these things come surrounded in fruit. Fruit, or bird-shit, regardless of its end-result, there's going to be molding and all sorts of other biological-factors some might rather not have in their homes. I'm not particularly disgusted by it, but I also don't want to encourage those spores to spread everywhere making me sneeze, thus the bagging.

    On environment...

    I have no idea what "spring" is like for pomegranate-seeds. Nor, really, for magnolias. We're just throwing 'em in seeds on the window-sill and seeing what happens. Maybe nothing, maybe mold, maybe the mold will eventually "digest" the fruit/coffee-grounds into something more-suitable for the seeds... who knows. This is about experimentation to the extent of... "would be cool."

    Oh, I've also tried sticking some mushrooms into a pod... (again, I've really no idea what environment they need, nor really the patience to search-fu it up and create such a habitat...)

    The mushrooms were dried-on-the-counter by the time I realized I could stick 'em in one of these pods. (Thanks for the suggestion, in the project-comments). So, again, no idea whether they'd revive, or even survive if they'd've been immediately transferred from their original medium to this.

    It seems they're not too happy, they were white, now they're black. But they did seem to rehydrate:

    Maple Seedlings:

    Here's a row of Maple seedlings/saplings(?)... The three pots closest to us.

    So here's the deal... these guys were growing in sidewalk-cracks this spring... They'd either get weed-wacked or trampled, or even if human-influence wasn't involved, they'd've eventually choked by the cement.

    So, here they are. The batch on the left was the first go (this year). The soil (which is kinda the point of talking about 'em here... being that the "soil" of the coffee-pod experiments is... highly unnatural...)

    The soil of the left pot is a mixture of whatever I had remaining of some store-bought potting-soil mixed with some store-bought peat-moss. There wasn't enough to fill the pot, so I filled the rest with dirt from the flower-bed.

    Now here's the thing... This *exact* mixture (minus dirt from the flower-bed) was mixed/used *last year* with a couple Maple saplings. All but one died early-on, but one sprouted two really nice leaves then died (or did it just pause for the fall/winter? Who knows, we'll see...). Can't quite explain it. Maybe it's not very nutritious with all that peat-moss(?). Or the acidity or something? OTOH, there's some sort of other woody-stalked something or other that sprouted-up on its own... not growing very quickly, but definitely alive.

    OK, back to this year's batch (in the photo). On the left, that exact mixture (what remained of it from last year) was...

    Read more »

View all 3 project logs

  • 1
    Step 1

    Locate/acquire used coffee-pod

  • 2
    Step 2

    Remove Lid

  • 3
    Step 3

    Insert Seed.

View all 5 instructions

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MECHANICUS wrote 03/22/2016 at 12:38 point

Great IDEA! Coffee grounds are often used to grow mushrooms too as they are a great source of nitrogen, maybe get some shrooms that can eat polypropylene. Then eat those shrooms and see what happens;)

  Are you sure? yes | no

esot.eric wrote 03/22/2016 at 14:26 point

LOL, I was actually wondering whether mushrooms was a possibility... Just got a couple ugly ones I couldn't bare to put in my mouth.

  Are you sure? yes | no

rubypanther wrote 11/18/2016 at 20:23 point

Button mushrooms need rich compost to grow, coffee grounds aren't going to do it. However, many mushrooms that naturally grow on dead wood can grow in coffee grounds. One of my mushroom field guides talks about it. So starting from common store varieties, you'd want "oyster mushrooms."

If it is working, there will be root-like strands growing in the grounds. That is the actual mushroom body. The part you eat is just a reproductive organ that grows seasonally, like a fruit.

Most likely it would grow good at room temperature, and then fruit into mushrooms when cooled off. Refrigerator is probably too cold, but overnight in the fridge for a week would probably get them fruiting.

You can also use sawdust or cardboard. If you have a paper shredded, you could mix paper with coffee grounds and probably grow a lot!

  Are you sure? yes | no

esot.eric wrote 11/18/2016 at 23:14 point

@rubypanther Great info, thanks! If you try it, report-back!

  Are you sure? yes | no

jake_k wrote 03/16/2016 at 02:10 point

I have a philodendron that was potted in a cup or so of used coffee grounds and a half cup or so of the original soil it came with. Seems to be doing fine so far. I'd like to perform some kind of analysis on the coffee grounds to see exactly what acidity/nutrients they have in them.

  Are you sure? yes | no

esot.eric wrote 03/16/2016 at 22:52 point

Would be interesting to hear the results. Would think coffee beans to be quite acidic. As far as nutrients, hah! We need an analysis!

  Are you sure? yes | no

jake_k wrote 03/16/2016 at 22:55 point

After about a week, it hasn't died. That's a data point!

Another note: canivorous plants prefer very acidic, low mineral, low nutrient soil. Maybe they'd like it.

  Are you sure? yes | no

esot.eric wrote 03/17/2016 at 03:55 point

@Jacob Killelea, *excellent* call re: carnivorous plants! Always wondered why they keeled-over whenever I repotted 'em. Also, excellent data-point :)

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jake_k wrote 03/17/2016 at 04:00 point

@esot.eric, yep, most carnivores are potted in a mix of sphagnum moss and silica sand. Virtually no nutrients or floating minerals. In addition, they can't be potted in typical ceramics unless they are glazed completely. Local tap water might have enough minerals in it to kill them. They need rather high maitence for a plant...

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esot.eric wrote 03/17/2016 at 06:47 point

Heh, true-dat on the high-maintenance... sheesh!

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Richard Hogben wrote 03/15/2016 at 16:18 point

Cool, so this actually works? Do you add anything to the grounds in the pod? (besides a seed)

  Are you sure? yes | no

esot.eric wrote 03/15/2016 at 16:49 point

I haven't tried it yet, but the "gardenweb" link suggests that some plants don't seem to mind at all, just using coffee grounds alone... I think Tomatoes were listed as the least-picky. 

So, I need beta-testers to report their findings about various different seedlings ;)

  Are you sure? yes | no

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