coffee cherries






Growing Coffee Beans

Coffee Plant Propagation

For propagation of arabica coffee, ripe red cherries are collected, pulped, and the mucilage is removed by fermentation.  The freshly picked coffee seeds (typically referred to as beans) can either be planted immediately or dried for later use.  Coffee drying takes place on wire mesh trays in the shade.  Correctly storing coffee beans is essential for a longer seed life. Dried coffee seeds can be used up to a year or more if properly stored.

Coffee Bean Germination Process

There are two basic methods for the germination of seeds. In one method, coffee seeds are pregerminated by spreading on a sand bed and covering with moist burlap bag sacks or straw.  The seeds are watched closely and removed as soon as radicals emerge.  An alternative method of germinating coffee beans is to mix the seeds with moist vermiculite or expanded polystyrene and keep in the polythene bag (Mitchell, 46).  Coffee seedlings are grown in nursery beds or polybags and are planted in the coffee fields when they reach 20-40 cm.

Growing Coffee Seeds in Nursery Beds

Once pregerminated, the coffee seedlings are planted in nursery beds containing soil consisting of well rotted cattle manure (10-20 liters per meter) and phosphate fertilizer (100 g per meter) (Mitchell, 47).  Nursery beds should be built to be 1 meter wide and 50 cm deep and seedlings are spaced between 12-15 cm apart (for 20 cm tall plants) or 20 cm apart (for 30-40 cm tall plants) (Mitchell, 47).  The nursery beds are shaded 50 % for the first couple months.  Shading is reduced slowly and completely removed the last two months before planting coffee seedlings.

For more information about growing coffee seeds in nursery beds, visit the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.

Growing Coffee Seeds in Polybags

Polybags, made of black diothene (200-gauge), are commonly used and filled with a mixture of topsoil, well rotted cattle manure, course sand, gravel, coffee pulp, and coffee husks (Mitchell, 48).  A ratio of three parts top soil to one part course sand and one part cattle manure is often used.  A top dressing of nitrogen is applied by applying 20 g urea in 5.0 L of water per meter of bed (Mitchell, 48).

For more information about growing coffee seeds in nursery beds, visit the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.

Related Articles

Growing Coffee at Home

Coffee Plant

Environmental Conditions for Growing Coffee

Harvesting Coffee

Processing Coffee

Coffee Drying








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