Gardeners' Question Time

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Gardeners' Question Time

Postby ant » Thu Mar 10, 2005 8:32 am

A few years ago (3 or maybe 4, I think), my girlfriend bought me a packet of coffee seeds. I planted them and one of them, from ten or so, germinated. About three years later, this fine Arabica houseplant stands at something like 1.5m tall and is in a pot about 30cm diameter. Actually, I don't know if it qualifies as "fine", I've nothing to compare it against! We did get up close and personal with some coffee bushes when visiting the Eden Project in Cornwall last year and my plant also exhibits some of the brown-edged and yellowing leaves that theirs had.

I was wondering if anyone else had experience of successfully growing a coffee plant/bush/tree as a houseplant and if you might have any hints or suggestions to offer?

I'm not too worried about getting a huge crop of beans from it (though it'd be really quite nice to say I'd grown, dried, roasted, ground and brewed a cup entirely myself! :) )... but I was wondering if there's much realistic chance of ever seeing any beans from it...?

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Postby Steve » Thu Mar 10, 2005 8:50 am

It's not likley you'll ever get enough beans to harvest, and it takes around 4 years for the first crop to come through, so if you are going to then nows the time. I have one thats around 1 year old and is coming on fine.

Have you noticed how much water they get through and the conversations we have are for hours. But at least they dont answer back :)

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Postby Ian » Thu Mar 10, 2005 9:21 am

I think 1.5m is pretty good going for a houseplant - you must be doing something right. I've heard that you need to continuously repot them as they grow or else they can die but don't know if this is a fact. Do you feed yours with anything?

Also, I think it takes some varieties up to seven years to fruit.(?) Someone has actually had a crop and brewed up from their home grown plant, I read about it some time ago - I'll trawl my memory bank and see if I can come up with the link.

I'm going to try again this spring and sow some more coffee when I do my banana seeds.

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Postby ant » Thu Mar 10, 2005 9:22 am

Steve wrote:It's not likley you'll ever get enough beans to harvest

If I get one I'll roast the little blighter... :lol:

Steve wrote:Have you noticed how much water they get through

Mmm, mine tends to drink about 1/3-1/2 litre a day (it's in a generally warm room with a number of computers).

Steve wrote:and the conversations we have are for hours. But at least they dont answer back :)

Heh, I'm glad it's not just me... :)

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Postby ant » Thu Mar 10, 2005 9:27 am

Ian wrote:I think 1.5m is pretty good going for a houseplant - you must be doing something right. I've heard that you need to continuously repot them as they grow or else they can die but don't know if this is a fact. Do you feed yours with anything?

To be honest, it does look like this one could do with a repotting very soon... roots are showing above the surface of the soil. As for feeding it, I think I fed it with some tomato plant food once but it's not a regular thing -- and maybe a dash of MiracleGro once. (There was a fascinating ring of some kind of bright yellow mushroom/fungus growing in the pot a year or so ago which didn't seem to do it any harm!)

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Postby Raf » Thu Mar 10, 2005 11:04 am

I hear coffee pucks are good plant food too! Tried it on my balcony plants and they didn't even die. But maybe your coffee plant will have none of that cannibalism?
This week I am eagerly anticipating the first god shots from my La Spaziale machine....

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Postby Steve » Thu Mar 10, 2005 11:41 am

I know that coffee pucks are great slug repelants but I guess you dont get to many of these in the computer room ;)
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Postby Joey » Thu Mar 10, 2005 12:01 pm

Hey, we could make an extra chapter on the forum like "other use for coffee"...
Marcy uses her coffee to get odors out of the fridge, I have a good spice mix for a steak or burger rub, in a parfum boutique in Dubai they give you coffeebeans to smell when your nose can't judge the perfums any more (for neutralisation), and I am sure there are other things you can do with coffee or caffeine. I read about a lady who paints with espresso....
And about the plants, I found out that we have a gardner here in Vienna who has coffee trees in all sizes, even blooming ones. They are not cheap though, depending on the size.
As I have managed to ship plants all over the globe years ago, I might be able to do so again if someone is interested. I am planning to buy one for my shop, myself.... (if I can afford it)

I'll go and search the adress again...

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Postby zix » Thu Mar 10, 2005 5:20 pm

Speaking of other uses for coffee, is there anyone here that has tried using the coffee puck as a fire log yet?
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Postby Beanie » Thu Mar 10, 2005 5:51 pm

Zix, Mr. Java Log, http://www.robustion.ca/ uses spent coffee grounds in a fire log. Have yet to throw some into the fire, though. Can't wait for you to try it though :twisted:

Joey... you forgot the "beauty" regimen :lol: Mix spent grounds with olive oil or butter/margarine and use it as a foot scrub. It smells nice and really does the job ;-)
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Postby zix » Thu Mar 10, 2005 6:23 pm

Ye Marcy, I was thinking of Java log when writing that message, and hoping that someone would rise to the occasion and order one or two :)
Java log... it's a crazy enough product idea that it might actually work! But my experience of used coffee grounds is that they get mouldy quickly, unless one can get them dry fast. And I am not sure a portafilter coffee puck would burn all by itself, without adding some stuff to it.
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Postby Joey » Thu Mar 10, 2005 11:54 pm

Oh, and I have heard that draining the goffee grounds into the drainage of the sink is actually a good thing, as the sharp edged grounds rip off some nasty dirt of the pipes..... but that's just what I have heard.
Spraying my roses with coffee didn't give the lice a heart attack as promised. Instead I almost got one the next day when I saw the brown stains on the roses....

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Postby zix » Fri Mar 11, 2005 8:13 am

:D :mrgreen:
Sadly, the only thing I know that kills lice, apart from pinching them to death, is a soap solution. Used coffee would be more environmentally correct, for sure...
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Postby Beanie » Sat Mar 12, 2005 2:29 am

Hmmm... I remember something about growing lavender with roses to keep the lice away... AND it looks good together too :) Never done it though... don't like roses much
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Postby Joey » Sat Mar 12, 2005 2:41 am

You are right, I did that. Looks good. But the Lavender stays small, and the roses get very high. So high the lice couldn't smell the lavender anymore - they didn't really care >sigh<
In the meantime I am working with helpful insects who kill the bad ones. I can buy them here in a institute who breed them....
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