Growing Coffee. Part 3

Growing Coffee. Part 3

Become a real Barista!
Growing Coffee. Part 3

Growing coffee from seed.

This set of pictures was taken in mid October, the smallest plants only a few days since they germinated, and the larger plants were planted around mid April, and are about 15 weeks older than the smaller ones.growing_coffee_16

A newly sprouted coffee seed: the leaves are still completely hidden inside the seed pod: it is, in total 4 inches long.

growing_coffee_7growing_coffee_6A few days later, and the leaves start to burst out of the seed case, which is still attached to the leaves

If you are growing coffee from seed, at home, do NOT attempt to assist the plant, by removing the seed pod, the new leaves are VERY delicate, and very easily damaged.






A few days later, and the seed case is totally discarded, and the leaves start to spread out, and separate.

Occasionally ( picture to the right ) the seed case gets "stuck", on the stem, below the leaves.

growing_coffee_19The second pair of leaves start to develop ( along with a few spots of fungal "rust"! ) Note that the first 2 leaves are shaped differently to the rest of the leaves that will develop; they lack the pointed shape, and are much closer to being round in shape.

growing_coffee_10A few more weeks, and the first leaves are getting bigger, and the next pair of leaves, are forming between them

growing_coffee_21The lowest ( the first that formed ) leaves, are getting by-passed, and will soon drop off, as the shoot grows, and more leaves are formed; the roots are splitting into 2 branches, which happens to about 20% of the seedlings, the majority of them form just a single longer, root, which is preferred, as it makes the bush more rigid in the ground, and better able to resist strong winds.

Opinions vary as to which is the better way to deal with these "twin" rooting plants: just leave them as they are, or to cut the smaller/weaker root off the plant.

growing_coffee_5The above 6 seedlings, showing the rate of growth: the smallest three are between 3 and 4 months old: the largest one is about 6 months old ( date of planting the seeds, not the first showing of germination ): when it is a bit more than treble this size, with between 2 and 4 full sets of leaves, it will be ready to plant out: as winter is now approaching, it should be ready around Easter, when it is a year old, and roughly 10 to 12 inches in height.

Note the single different looking plant ( third from the right ) this is a Geisha, the other 5 are Blue Mountain: this difference will soon become unnoticeable, until the plant has developed several leaves, when the difference in leaf shape, will become more obvious.

We have to wait for the rains, before we can start the planting out: several good showers, to thoroughly wet the ground, which can vary between April and early June. The second time of year for the planting out, is between October and December ( after the hurricanes, and before the dry season really starts ). In a wet spring, we can plant them out for an extended period, up to around the end of February, but this is rare, as without a good few weeks of rain after planting out, they slowly dry out, and die.

I am hoping to be able to keep these particular six seedlings apart from the others, and photograph them several times, as they grow, so you can watch their development.

End of March, the oldest ones approaching 1 year since planting: and they have grown considerably:-

growing_coffee_8The biggest one is now almost 10 inches high, and this is the growth over our "winter" period ( the coolest and wettest time of the year: they have been kept in partial shade, and not over-watered ). From planting, to 10 inches high, about 12 months ( includes the germination time ).

Following the taking of this picture, they were all re-potted into larger containers. The reason for there being an extra one, is that there was seed in the soil, which germinated a while after they were planted!

Each time we replant or re-pot the plants, it takes a few weeks for the plant to adapt, and recover, from the process: which causes a slight delay in the normal growth rate.

Just 2 months later:-

growing_coffee_2Early June, just over 2 months, and the largest one, has grown another 6 inches, now approaching 18 inches high: and the first branches are forming, a pair of branches growing out, below the top pair of mature leaves. The first leaves that formed from the seed pod, have now dropped off.

The branches grow out from the main stem, just above the base of the leaf; the leaves and the branches alternate around the main stem ( that is: one pair appear opposite each other, the next pair above them, and at a right angle to the ones above and below: quite easy to see in the picture below, with the lower pairs of leaves showing it most clearly ).

growing_coffee_1The second biggest seedling, whilst not quite as tall, has also developed the pair of branches, in the same leaf node, as the other, bigger, seedling.

Due to the incredibly speed with which all the weeds grow in this wonderful climate, we prefer to wait a while before planting the seedlings out: keeping them it pots, until they are at least 12 to 15 inches tall, and can be clearly seen in amongst the weeds, and not chopped out, along with the weeds, when the plantation is cleared, something which is done on a regular 6 to 8 week cycle. Another advantage of planting 2 foot high, "bush suckers".

To be continued...

Best wishes to all, my readers.

Robin Plough, friend of

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See also:
A New Year on the Plantation
A Visit to Paradise
A year in the life..What makes JBM, the 'legend' of coffee?
Assessing your coffee (part 1)
Assessing your coffee (part 2)
Assessing your coffee (part 3)
Economics of JBM. Part 1
Economics of JBM. Part 2
Everything you wanted to know about the Coffee Board
Growing a coffee plant at home
Growing Coffee. Part 1
Growing Coffee. Part 2
Growing Coffee. Part 4
Growing Coffee. Part 5
Growing: Part 1
Growing: Part 2
Jamaican food (part 1)
Jamaican food (part 2)
Jamaican food (part 3)
Jamaican newsletter
Living in Paradise: Part I
Living in Paradise: Part II
Living in Paradise: Part III
Processing our coffee (part 1)
Processing our coffee (part 2)
Random thoughts on the end of the world
Random thoughts on the end of the world (II)
Special Report: Coffee Leaf Rust Fungus Part 1
Special Report: Coffee Leaf Rust Fungus Part 2
SPECIAL: Coffee borer beetle in Hawaii
Trivia and other ramblings: part 1
Trivia and other ramblings: part 2
Tropical Storm Nichole
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