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How To Grow Coffee In Your Balcony: Bengaluru Lady Shares Expert Tips

How To Grow Coffee In Your Balcony: Bengaluru Lady Shares Expert Tips

Indira Ashok Shah, a Bengaluru terrace gardener, shares tips on how to grow and care for a coffee plant at home.

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For my parents, the day begins only after that first sip of filter coffee makes its way into their bodies. I’ve heard people refer to filter coffee as the elixir that gives them the energy to take on the day.

For all the coffee fanatics out there -what if there was a way to grow your own coffee plant, perhaps in your terrace or even balcony. You need not be living in Coorg, or Chikmagalur for this – you can grow them anywhere, says Indira Ashok Shah, an avid terrace gardener based in Bengaluru has successfully been nurturing a coffee plant on her terrace and in this article, she shall show you how you can do the same.

Indira’s coffee plant is almost ten feet tall from the ground and is lush with coffee berries. She also mentions that it has been with her for almost six years now. “I get about one kilogram of coffee powder annually thanks to my plant,” she says.

Things You Will Need To Grow Coffee Plant

Coffee plant in Indira’s terrace.
  • A 20-litre bucket (Indira has used a regular paint bucket)
  • Compost
  • Cocopeat
  • Soil
  • Stones
  • A well shaded area

Step 1

  • You will need to make three holes in the bucket you are using. This is for drainage and is extremely important that you do this. Once you make the holes place a small slab or piece of stone over the holes.
  • Do not cover the hole completely; it is important that when there is excess water in the bucket, it is able to drain out comfortably.
  • Fill the bucket with two parts of soil, two parts of cocopeat, and two parts of compost.

Click here to read up on how to make your own compost at home.

Step 2

The coffee cherries after being harvested
  • Find a semi-shaded place to keep your coffee plant.
  • Do make note that coffee plant does not need direct harsh sunlight so find a good place for it to grow well.
  • It can also be kept indoors as long as they get some amount of sunlight each day.

Step 3

  • The coffee plant likes moisture and therefore you must ensure that the soil is always slightly moist and does not get dry.
  • The test to check whether the soil is adequately damp is to insert a stick in the soil. If it goes into the soil easily, then the soil moisture content is good.
  • While the soil must be moist there must not be any stagnant water on the surface.
  • Cocopeat is added to the soil to help it retain moisture.

How To Propagate Coffee Bean

  • Allow the coffee bean to ripen well. Once it is dried up, sow the bean into the same pot that you have made.
  • Once sown, ensure that the plant is kept under indirect sunlight.
  • Air Layering is another method that is used to propagate
  • Click here to watch the video about following the air layering technique.

Things To Know

Coffee growing in a bucket.

1. Once every 10 or 15 days, do add more compost
2. Do not add any chemical fertiliser, pesticide, or anything additional to the plant
3. If you have a pest attack, just use a neem spray or make a mixture of Ginger-Garlic-Green Chilli (GGG)
4. To make the GGG mixture, take equal quantities of all three, make a paste, strain it and use that solution on plants, which have been attacked by pests.
5. Once the berries start turning brown, you can harvest them.
6. This can then be taken to a local coffee blender.
7. To add richness to the coffee, Indira adds chicory to the coffee powder and says her blends are usually 80 per cent coffee and 20 per cent chicory.
8. You can grow coffee across India, and Indira says that all one needs to keep in mind is to provide it with a shaded area to grow.
9. There is no particular season in which one needs to start growing coffee, just make sure that it is placed in a shaded area.
10. Coffee beans may be available at your local nursery and if you are unable to find it you can reach out to Indira as well.
11. If you get a graft and grow it, the plant will take about two years to grow and fruit.
12. Whereas if you start from scratch and sow the seeds then a minimum of five to six years is needed. So patience is the key.
13. Ensure that you water the plant every day and if the soil surface feels dry then twice a day as well.
14. You could also consider making your own cocopeat, which is nothing but the dried husk of the coconut churned in a mixie to get a good powder-like consistency. This, when sprinkled on the plant surface, helps to retain moisture for longer.

How And When To Harvest Coffee Berries

  • Wait for the berries to ripen and turn brown.
  • Pluck the ripened berries and remove the skin off the seed/bean.
  • Immerse all the seeds/beans into water and let it be until the skin and pulp completely leaves the seed/beans.
  • Sun dry the seeds/beans well to remove all water and moisture.
  • Once done, you can take the seeds/beans and get the coffee ground or do it at home.

You can click on the video below for a better understanding of how to grow coffee and care for the plant.

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“Please grow it by yourself and just refrain from using chemical fertilisers. Collect all your wet waste and make your own compost,” she says in conclusion.

If you want to reach out to Indira and get coffee seeds from her to grow your coffee then you can reach out to her via this Whatsapp group or through her Facebook group.

(Edited by Vinayak Hegde)

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