How to Grow Organic Coffee

If you live in a warm climate or perhaps if you own a greenhouse you could grow your own organic coffee. Coffee is a tropical evergreen shrub. It grows naturally between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. In the Americas this region reaches from the middle of Mexico down to the Northern edge of Argentina. This area includes Southern Mexico, Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Northen Chile, Bolivia, most of Brazil, Northern Paraguay, French Guayana, Surinam, Guyana and Venezuela. The only region in the USA where you can grow organic coffee out of doors is Hawaii. So how to grow organic coffee may require that you move to a Southern climate. Having said that how do you grow organic coffee?

Planting Coffee from Seed

You can purchase organic green coffee beans and start from there. Make sure that your green coffee is as fresh as possible. If you live in an area where they grow coffee you can simply pick the cherries off the plant and remove the fruit. Dry a bit but not a lot. If you don’t live where they grow coffee you can buy green coffee from a coffee roaster but make sure to specify a recently arrived batch. If you want really fresh Colombian beans contact us for specifics of pricing and shipping and we will arrange to have very freshly picked green coffee beans sent directly to you.

Sprouting Coffee Seeds

Soak the green coffee beans in water for 24 hours and then plant in damp sand or wet vermiculite. When the seed has germinated you can plant it. Put the seed flat side down in loam soil. You will want high humus content and can add bone meal, dried blood or rotted manure. Cover the seeds but do not tamp down the soil. Water daily just enough to keep the soil most.

Waiting for the Coffee

It takes two or three years for your coffee tree to flower and produce coffee cherries. As the plant grows you will need to water it less but thoroughly to encourage deeper roots. If you would like to speed up the process consider buying coffee trees that are about a year old. One source of year old coffee trees will give you Kona coffee beans, Arabica coffee from the Kona region of the Big Island of Hawaii. Blair Estate from Kauai, Hawaii provides coffee plants and says how to plant them.

If you are planting more than one coffee tree you should space them in the following fashion. Plant your rows running north to south leaving 6 feet in between trees and 12 feet in between rows. This is important if you intend to maximize your crop as it will allow the maximum amount of sunlight to hit your trees. It will also allow for easier maintenance for mowing and weed control. You should carefully lay out your rows with string and mark beforehand where your holes will be dug. It is important to note that planting in this style and in open fields will require frequent watering. Shade grown coffee will obviously require less watering and is easier to maintain but it will produce less coffee per tree. If you are planting in the row method and with a large number of trees (more than 200) you should consider irrigation. Cost per acre to set up a drip irrigation system is about $2000. There are approximately 623 trees that can be planted per acre using the 6×12 spacing method. In most cases where only a few trees are planted-watering and fertilization are an easy task.

If you get your coffee plants from a supplier you save a year or more. Follow their instructions for planting and care.

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