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Growing Coffee Plant

Coffee is produced on an evergreen tree.

The tree needs to be between 4-7 years old to flower and produce fruit.

Coffee trees can live for over 60 years and without pruning can reach a height of up to 40 feet.

Due to the size of the plant, most commercial producers prune the tree to a height of 4-5 feet, as this height the plant can be easily managed and the fruit collected.

To grow your own coffee fresh berries are needed. These must be less that 2 months old for them to germinate.

The fresh berries must be cleaned to remove the pulp and then the stones are soaked in water for a few weeks until they start to plump up.

At this time they are ready for planting. Coffee trees like open free draining soil so a mix of multipurpose compost and perlite is ideal for the seeds.

The seeds can be pushed into the pots of compost to just below soil level. Water the seeds with room temperature water from above, let the pot drain but don't stand on a saucer as too much water will rot the roots.

Once the seeds have germinated, which can take up to 6 months. They can be potted into small pots containing one seedling.

The seedling can then be watered twice a week,

Keep the plants out of full sun at a temperature of 65-70F or higher.

Once the plant has a few good leaves they can be potted on into a larger pot.

It is also a good idea to put the potted plant outside in the shade over summer as long as the temperature never drops below 65 degree F.

During summer it is beneficial to feed the plant every 2 weeks with a general liquid fertilizer, this is on top of the twice weekly watering to keep the compost moist but not wet.

Reducing the feeding to once a month from about November to February.

Pruning can be done when the plant gets to the required height.

This can be done by nipping out the top growth; this also has the effect of making the plant bushier.

Once the plant has flowered the berries or cherries are produced. These are normally mature in winter and look like cherries.

Each fruit has a sweet pulp surrounding two beans.

The berries are only harvested when red and ripe.

The plant produces flowers all season, so only harvest the red ones as there will be a variety of ripe fruit and also flowers and maturing fruit on the tree at the same time.

Once enough beans have been harvested you can then proceed to roast your own coffee.

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