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Thread: Coffee hydroponics

  1. #1
    Senior Member sidewayss's Avatar
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    Coffee hydroponics

    Cafelat Coffee Tamper and Accessories
    Been scouring the forum and im not sure if its been discussed before.

    Im aware that coffee can be grown in parts of the eastern states.
    Obviously here we have a mediterranean climate which is unsuitable for coffee growing, but i wonder if grown inside a green house and using coco as the growing medium, would that be entirely possible?
    If the requirements of moisture levels, temperature and lighting can be manipulated in the way that mimics the ideal conditions that coffee plants require, what are the chances?

    This kind of venture on a backyard scale is for bragging rights. If trees results in harvestable beans, then its a bonus.

    Another challenge that faces me or anyone contemplating this kind of project would be how to source.... plants or seed?
    Western Australia has strict requirements when it comes to plant material coming into the state.
    I flicked through a few catalogues for mail order plants from over east, and found a lot of them are excluded from WA.

    Ive grown tomatoes and strawberries hydroponically, but growing greenhouse coffee may be a serious challenge perhaps not even worth contemplating, unless someone can prove me wrong...... ;)

    Gary at G

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    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Coffee hydroponics

    Garry I think youll struggle when the plants reach 2 metres high.
    Whats going to stop them falling over long before that?

    Im growing in Sydney and this years crop is looking like heaps compared to the first one last year.

    Main worry is avoiding frost and then sheltering from wind.
    When they were smaller I surrounded them with shade cloth on all sides and above overnight in winter.
    From about year 2 on I removed the top cover and now theyre at 2 metres tall the side wind breaks are long gone.

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    Re: Coffee hydroponics

    I dont see why coffee plants canít be trained like grape vines on trellises? Call me a n00b, but cant green beans germinate?

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    Senior Member Koffee_Kosmo's Avatar
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    Re: Coffee hydroponics

    Quote Originally Posted by 7F5C4146405E5457594050350 link=1300259247/2#2 date=1300263710
    I dont see why coffee plants canít be trained like grape vines on trellises?* Call me a n00b, but cant green beans germinate?
    Coffee trees can be trained to a certain extent however I havent heard of anyone trying a trellis method as they probably dont grow like a vine

    KK

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    Senior Member trentski's Avatar
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    Re: Coffee hydroponics

    Quote Originally Posted by 62464F4F4C4C7662465A4446290 link=1300259247/3#3 date=1300266427

    Coffee trees can be trained to a certain extent however I havent heard of anyone trying a trellis method as they probably dont grow like a vine

    KK*
    Should be able to espalier them like any other tree,not sure how that would affect production though

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    Senior Member sidewayss's Avatar
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    Re: Coffee hydroponics

    Well, i was thinking more of a marque style set-up with canvas wall surround supported by iron poles for wind protection. Has to be wind proof as i want the plants to grow on their own unassisted. Misted strong plastic roofing for diffused light to get through as well as for wind barrier.

    Either large wooden wine barrels or plastic pots with coco as the growing medium and drip feeding system for watering.

    I was down at the local hydroponic centre in Canning Vale and saw bananas, oranges, cumquat and mango tree at 3 metres tall thriving.

    The biggest problem i see is temperature. Perth temps can get down to past 0 deg on a "dry" winter.
    And the only proper way round this is a glass house rather than greenhouse style.
    And then theres cost.
    Having a air conditioning unit to regulate temperature is costly initially to buy and to run thereafter.

    It is a project i am contemplating further down the track pending available finances and careful planning. So at the moment its dreamland for me.* ;)

    Gary at G

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    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Coffee hydroponics

    Quote Originally Posted by 736964657761797373000 link=1300259247/5#5 date=1300292983
    The biggest problem i see is temperature. Perth temps can get down to past 0 deg on a "dry" winter.
    Perth is further north than Sydney; why so cold at times?
    I only get a few odd days of frosty mornings in winter.

  8. #8
    Senior Member sidewayss's Avatar
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    Re: Coffee hydroponics

    Good question TG,

    Perth apart from big differences between its seasons, meaning summers are searing dry and hot with hardly any rain, and winter nights are cold though daytime temps are mild ( mid to high teens). When it rains in winter here, the variation between max and minimum temps is not great, but when a high pressure system takes over, we get warm daytime temps but quite cold nights with very little moisture to retain heat.

    I dont know much about Grafton, but perhaps you can compare your past experiences there to your current position in Sydney. Or you could study the weather in Broken Hill. Being inland, theres a wider variation.

    How does this relate to coffee growing?
    There in Byron Bay, tablelands of Qeensland etc., youve got wet warm, moist but not searing summers and mild winters where minimum temps are not so low. Therefore the requirements to grow are met.

    Over here in the west, i don;t think theres any way of growing coffee in the conventional way unless someone can control wind shelter, growing medium, moisture levels, lighting and temperature. This is where hydroponics come in... at a price.

    Not interested in growing robusta, but trying to research into the best arabica varietals that is the hardiest.

    Gary at G

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    Re: Coffee hydroponics

    Coffee trees require a fair amount of nutrients, yet grows over many years, I highly doubt it would work due to the risk you would run with algae growth in the water. UV treating the water might make it viable..but realistically, for the amount of growing time required and energy youd need to run the hydroponic setup cleanly and effectively, I dont think this would be worthwhile. I think youd be better to invest in a greenhouse than a proper hydroponic setup.

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    CoffeeSnobs Owner Andy's Avatar
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    Re: Coffee hydroponics

    Quote Originally Posted by 280C050506063C280C100E0C630 link=1300259247/3#3 date=1300266427
    I havent heard of anyone trying a trellis method
    Kona Joe does...
    http://www.konajoe.com/patented_trellis_coffee.html

    I tried to buy some green beans from him a couple of years ago but he is selling more brown then he can grow so isnt interested in selling green ones.

    Oh... and it has a USA Patent too
    ::)

    *Coffee trellis is a patented creation of Kona Joe Coffee.
    US Patent 6,449,898 B1

  11. #11
    Senior Member sidewayss's Avatar
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    Re: Coffee hydroponics

    Thanks for the interesting article Andy.

    In a greenhouse environment theres very minimum wind movement because of the walls as well as the roofing, therefore plants should be able to support themselves as long as the roots are secured in the growing medium.

    Algae can be controlled by careful preventative maintenance of the system.

    Won;t just be growing coffee, available space can also be used to grow fruits and veggies too.

    Hydroponics are expensive to set up initially but after that, running costs are not too high.

    Certainly, all Im doing is growing a couple of plants in a controlled environment not to make money, but as a hobby.

    I guess whats left after learning to brew and roast coffee, is to grow those things. ;)

    Gary at G

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    Senior Member flynnaus's Avatar
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    Re: Coffee hydroponics

    Quote Originally Posted by 6E414B562F0 link=1300259247/9#9 date=1300369870
    Oh... and it has a USA Patent too
    I dont know how they can get away with patenting a horticultural method that has been used for centuries: espalier

    Do it, let him sue and then he has to prove you stole his idea???

  13. #13
    Senior Member Koffee_Kosmo's Avatar
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    Re: Coffee hydroponics

    Ahh espalier
    Thats the method I was thinking of when I said
    Quote Originally Posted by 50747D7D7E7E4450746876741B0 link=1300259247/3#3 date=1300266427
    Coffee trees can be trained to a certain extent
    KK

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    Senior Member flynnaus's Avatar
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    Re: Coffee hydroponics

    Quote Originally Posted by 67434A4A49497367435F41432C0 link=1300259247/12#12 date=1300408621
    Ahh espalier
    Thats the method I was thinking of when I said Coffee trees can be trained to a certain extent
    Well we knew you werent thinking of a whip and chair or obedience classes ;)

  15. #15
    Senior Member sidewayss's Avatar
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    Re: Coffee hydroponics

    I was wondering about that too.

    I thought getting a patent is viable if say you designed a Behmor, a label for a chocolate factory or a device that is at the frontier. Surely it does not apply if a technique of training a plant is used, unless i did not read that article thoroughly at 2am half asleep :-X

    For the time being, im going to get a couple of coffee plants from a nursery in the swan valley, and grow them in pots in a sheltered area, while the planning stages of the greenhouse is underway.

    Keep you all informed.

    Gary at G

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    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: Coffee hydroponics

    I think what you do in your own home for your own use is your own business, especially for something like this..... >:(

    Why am I NOT surprised that a patent has been applied for in that part of the world; youve just got to shake your head at the stupidity and then get on with it..... ::)

    Mal.

  17. #17
    Senior Member sidewayss's Avatar
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    Re: Coffee hydroponics

    I have re-read the link that Andy sent us just to be sure.

    Im with you on that one too Mal* :-?

    Method and apparatus using wire, wood and metal. Patented. Hmmm.

    Gary at G

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    CoffeeSnobs Owner Andy's Avatar
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    Re: Coffee hydroponics

    Quote Originally Posted by 173A3E323F530 link=1300259247/15#15 date=1300434540
    youve just got to shake your head at the stupidity and then get on with it
    Wise words Mal.

    The granted patent was the reason that I remembered this guy so if nothing else it was a good marketing ploy.
    ::)

    Happy coffee growing Gary however you train them.

  19. #19
    Senior Member sidewayss's Avatar
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    Re: Coffee hydroponics

    Ta Andy.

    Thanks to all for your concern and advise.

    Gary at G

  20. #20
    Senior Member flynnaus's Avatar
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    Re: Coffee hydroponics

    Quote Originally Posted by 547B716C150 link=1300259247/17#17 date=1300455758
    The granted patent was the reason that I remembered this guy so if nothing else it was a good marketing ploy.
    It would want to be - his patent would have cost a fair bit.
    So was his coffee any good?

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