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Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by kemrefarms, May 27, 2005.
anybody out there ever try to grow coffee plants from seed?
I've tried - and failed. Despite the info below!
Seeds must be obtained from a ripe berry (each of which carried 2 beans). The cherry will change colour from green to red about 30-35 weeks after flowering, and will then darken to almost black. Green berries will not ripen once picked. Remove the outside mucilage, and then dry the seed, or plant without drying. Seeds take about 5-6 weeks to germinate, and need light, with an ideal temperature of 24C. Germination usually occurs in 42-56 days, but can be erratic. Soak for at least 2 hours in warm water, then remove the parchment shell before planting. Coffee seed will not remain fertile for long periods of time. Sow very shallow in compost and place in the dark, keeping compost moist but not wet. Check occasionally to see if roots have formed, even though no shoots have appeared. Plant any seeds which have formed roots. Cuttings of green wood planted into soil will also take root. Tender shoots require more shade. When the seedlings are about 9-18 months old, when they reach a height of 45-60cm, transplant into the garden. A banana plant makes a good companion, because it offers the coffee plant some protection from the sun. Berries do not appear until the plant is about 4 years old. The tree is most productive until it is about 10 years old, though it may live for 60 years, and produce for up to 30 years. For ease of collecting the berries, trees are usually kept pruned to a convenient height â pruning also improves the yield. Ideal temperature for coffee plants is between 18-22C, and rainfall should be plentiful. The coffee plant likes high humidity of about 90%. It likes filtered to moderate sunlight, but should have full sun for a short time each day. Soil should be shaded as much as possible. It must have excellent drainage. Coffee is not particular about soil and will grow in a pot in any good potting mix with a pH close to neutral. Soil should be kept moist, but not soggy. Preferably coffee plant soil is heavy to work and not too loose and sandy. It should be very well aerated. Mulching around the roots will assist growth and help keep the soil moist. Plants should be protected from wind. Plants will produce fruit without fertilising, but for best results, fertilise every 2 weeks in spring and summer, then monthly in autumn and winter. The plant will not tolerate frost, and, one night below 0C is enough to cause extensive defoliation with little hope of later plant recovery. Temperature affects the colour of the coffee leaf, the hotter the lighter the colour green. The longer periods of deep green, the healthier the coffee plant. The Arabica plant will grow in hotter areas but is not well suited for higher temperature. The Robusta plant is typically located in hotter and more humid areas at lower altitude. When the plant gets so large that some branches have become damaged, it is a good idea to cut it back, right down to where only two branches near the bottom are left on it. The plant is susceptible to a number of pests and diseases, including Coffee Rust (a fungal disease), Coffee Borer, Nematodes, and many others. Each tree will produce between 500g-5kg berries per year, depending on growing conditions.
To Prepare Coffee Beans for Use: Beans must be âcuredâ before they can be roasted. The berries can be dried in the sun, and the fruit separated from the bean. Drying can take about 3 weeks, after which time the parchment surrounding the beans is removed. Or they can be soaked in water, the pulp removed, and then the beans soaked and fermented until the protective coat of parchment is exposed. The beans are then washed to remove this parchment until they are clean. They are then dried. The latter method gives the best flavoured coffee. To roast the beans, place them in an ovenproof colander in a preheated 120C oven for about 7 minutes. Increase oven temperature to 230C. After about 10 minutes the beans should begin to crackle. (Time depends on the size and quantity of the beans.) Stir and check every 2 minutes until they are a shade lighter than the colour you desire. Cool and store in airtight containers. Grind before using.
Harvesting: Berries are harvested when ripe, about 8-9 months after the plant flowers. Ripe berries are shiny, red and firm to the touch. The closer to the Equator the plants are grown, the more frequently the berries can be harvested.
There's a site called Sweet Maria's which sells green coffee beans. The owner travels all over the world to get green cpfee beans and he really knows his stuff.
If you doodle around the site long enough, it has an area about growing your own coffee. And according to them, it's not only extremely difficult to grow, but it's almost impossible to get fertile coffee beans in the US.
coffee seeds can be bought here: http://seedrack.com/02.html