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Growing coffee in cold climates without a greenhouse

Adrien Lapointe
steward

Joined: Feb 23, 2012
Posts: 2436
Location: Kingston, Canada (USDA zone 5a)
    
  73
I am reading reading Mark Shepard's book, Restoration Agriculture, right now and he suggests that growing tropical plants in the North is possible using a mass breeding technique (Luther Burbank style).

As anybody aware of people doing that right now in North America?


Permaculture Kingston
Miles Flansburg
steward

Joined: Feb 03, 2011
Posts: 2244
Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
    
  57
I had to look him up Adrien.

http://www.genetics.org/content/158/4/1391.full

Sounds like if one studies enough and tries enough things one might make it work ?
R Scott


Joined: Apr 13, 2012
Posts: 2345
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
    
  28
IWe do mass selection as part of our seedsaving, but never knew to call it that.

I am on a quest for caffeine, as soon as my food forest gets established. But I haven't started coffee yet. A friend has, but he has a pretty special microclimate already--15 miles away but a COMPLETELY different growing world.


"You must be the change you want to see in the world." "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." --Mahatma Gandhi
"Preach the Gospel always, and if necessary, use words." --Francis of Assisi. "Family farms work when the whole family works the farm." -- Adam Klaus
Ben Walter


Joined: Mar 19, 2011
Posts: 92
Location: Deland, FL
    
    1
If the coffee doesn't work for you, check out yaupon holly (Ilex Vomitoria). It's very high in caffeine!
Alder Burns
pollinator

Joined: Feb 25, 2012
Posts: 912
Location: northern California
    
  28
Ordinary black tea (Camellia sinensis) might be less of a stretch....there are varieties hardy at least to zone 7B, whereas coffee is frost-tender I think. Tea tolerates part shade and being a shrub would be a good understory plant in a food forest type system. Remember it is native in a monsoon climate and will want reliable summer moisture (but without waterlogging) to produce well.


Alder Burns (adiantum)
Adrien Lapointe
steward

Joined: Feb 23, 2012
Posts: 2436
Location: Kingston, Canada (USDA zone 5a)
    
  73
Actually, a very well known Montréal gardening writer has reported having success with Camellia sinensis surviving winter in his garden on the south shore of Montréal.
Amedean Messan
pollinator

Joined: Nov 11, 2010
Posts: 811
Location: Burlington, NC - Woodland, Clay - Zone 7
    
  26
Alder Burns wrote:Ordinary black tea (Camellia sinensis) might be less of a stretch....there are varieties hardy at least to zone 7B, whereas coffee is frost-tender I think. Tea tolerates part shade and being a shrub would be a good understory plant in a food forest type system. Remember it is native in a monsoon climate and will want reliable summer moisture (but without waterlogging) to produce well.


This is true and I have one growing by the side of my house. So far it has stood up to this winter decent here in NC and we will see how well it will grow this spring.


Those who hammer their swords into plows will plow for those who don't!
osker brown


Joined: Jun 28, 2011
Posts: 146
Location: Southern Appalachia
There's a guy right down the road from me growing tea, this is in zone 6b. His plan is to use it as an understory for chinese chestnut.

peace


Glorious Forest Farm
David Goodman
volunteer

Joined: Dec 14, 2011
Posts: 345
Location: Zone 9a/8b
    
  14
Wow - awesome.

Yaupon holly is a good source (actually - the only source) for native caffeine, though it may not grow as far north as you are. I've done a plant profile on it at my own website because I too am a caffeine junkie. It's a good tea - I make it moderately often. I don't know if coffee possesses anything in its genes for cold-hardiness. That's a big stretch, but I always love experiments.

In TN, I know of a man who was growing lemon trees - no lie - in his backyard. He'd been throwing seeds in the ground for years. They don't even thrive in zone 8, normally... and this was 6a/7b. They were living and growing to multiple feet at the time I was there, but no fruit yet. Awesome.


Permaculture, bio-accumulators, rare plants, tool reviews and lots and lots of gardening inspiration - a new post every day: http://www.floridasurvivalgardening.com
Amedean Messan
pollinator

Joined: Nov 11, 2010
Posts: 811
Location: Burlington, NC - Woodland, Clay - Zone 7
    
  26
David Goodman wrote:Wow - awesome.

In TN, I know of a man who was growing lemon trees - no lie - in his backyard. He'd been throwing seeds in the ground for years. They don't even thrive in zone 8, normally... and this was 6a/7b. They were living and growing to multiple feet at the time I was there, but no fruit yet. Awesome.


David, I am very, very......very very interested in this guy you are speaking of.
David Goodman
volunteer

Joined: Dec 14, 2011
Posts: 345
Location: Zone 9a/8b
    
  14
I wish I knew how to find him.

Here's the whole story. One day, a gentleman from a local Methodist church was going door-to-door in my neighborhood in Smyrna, TN, sharing the Gospel and inviting people to his church. I was out back working on my garden, and since I was a fellow Christian, I ended up chatting with the fellow for a while, talking about his church, etc. We got talking gardening (because I always end up talking about that), and I mentioned that I missed growing tropical species.

He said, "Oh man... you know what? I know a guy here that grows lemons in his backyard."

Me: "No way! HOW?"

"He's just been planting seeds for years and letting them live or die. In fact, he'd probably give you one. Also - you want some bee balm? I've got some of that."

Me: "Sure!"

The man left, then some hours later came back with a 2' lemon tree seedling and some bee balm. I planted the tree against my back wall and hoped for the best.

Unfortunately, I later lost most of that backyard to the Nashville flood... totally had my gardens, mulch, years worth of built-up soil, etc., ripped away by a raging torrent of water from an overflowing drainage channel. After that, totally demoralized, I listed the house and left for Florida. It's been four years - I imagine the new owners mowed over the little seedling, provided it hadn't died. And I don't know the man's name - it was the only time I ever saw him - and I have no idea who was growing the trees.

Looking back on it, I kick myself. Stupid. If the story of the trees' cold tolerance was true, it's a loss to everyone. I wasn't nearly as smart on these things back then.

I so utterly wish I could tell you more.

Amedean Messan
pollinator

Joined: Nov 11, 2010
Posts: 811
Location: Burlington, NC - Woodland, Clay - Zone 7
    
  26
His method of seeding is consistent with developing cold hardy strains so he might have hit the genetic lottery. Well, if you have not severed any connections and have some passing time, please do some investigating and share the intel. Thanks.
David Goodman
volunteer

Joined: Dec 14, 2011
Posts: 345
Location: Zone 9a/8b
    
  14
Though I don't think I'll be able to find the mysterious lemon grower again, I can tell you what I'm doing here in North Florida.

For a few years now I've been growing papaya trees, then saving seeds from those that survive the frosts and go to fruit. I'm also planting a lot of citrus seeds and seeing what happens. We're at the top of the range for quite a few varieties. Over time, I might find something good.

I also have a coffee plant in my greenhouse that's about to bloom. That'll give me plenty of coffee beans to try.

I'll bet there are marginal coffee plantations in South America that see some frost and survive. Those farmers would be the ones to talk with. Field trip!
Bobby Clark Jr


Joined: Jan 01, 2013
Posts: 7
Location: Lamar County Mississippi
Many years ago I was remodeling a house in Athens Tenn. and they had lemons growing their yard that had been bearing for a long time, good lemonade! I took some seedlings home to the top of Cagle mtn. in Sequatchie county but never got fruit. The Myeres Improved Lemon is supposed to be frost hardy and I have one here in Miss. but in the greenhouse so far. I plan to try coffee here also, both inside and out.
Dyson Frost


Joined: Jan 08, 2012
Posts: 4
Interesting topic. Middle NC south of VA border area so what about planting citrus, coffee, tea etc. and then covering with a hoop house in cold times? Strip the plastic rest of the year etc. Would heat be necessary? If so what about a modified rocket thermal mass system? thanks for any advice...
Adrien Lapointe
steward

Joined: Feb 23, 2012
Posts: 2436
Location: Kingston, Canada (USDA zone 5a)
    
  73
Well the greenhouse method is pretty efficient, but I am more interested in the idea of growing the plants completely outside.
Dyson Frost


Joined: Jan 08, 2012
Posts: 4
Yes I know that is the main thread heading however a part greenhouse method may work for some.

Do share any varieties you find. Finding your own cold-hardy version through trial and error will take time. Yaupon holly you say?
Neal Foley


Joined: May 22, 2014
Posts: 49
Location: union Maine
    
    5
Just stumbled on this topic while researching growing coffee outdoors in Maine......

I also found this info which might be of use to us all, from http://www.coffeeresearch.org/agriculture/climate.htm:
For growing Arabica coffee beans, there are two optimal growing climates:
The subtropical regions, at high altitudes of 16-24° (Illy, 21). Rainy and dry seasons must be well defined, and altitude must be between 1800-3600 feet. These conditions result in one coffee growing season and one maturation season, usually in the coldest part of autumn. Mexico, Jamaica, the S. Paulo and Minas Gerais regions in Brazil, and Zimbabwe are examples of areas with these climate conditions (Illy, 21).


There is also this tidbit from http://www.coffeeresearch.org/agriculture/climate.htm:
Climate for Growing Arabica Coffee Beans

Arabica coffee is grown in relatively cool climates in the region between the Tropic of Cancer and Capricorn. The optimum temperature is between 15-24ºC (59-75ºF) year round. Photosynthesis is slowed above these temperatures and frost damage can occur when temperatures hover around 0ºC. Ideally, 1500-2500 mm of rain will fall over a nine month period with a three month dry season coinciding with the harvest (Mitchell, 44). Areas with less rainfall can use irrigation to compensate. A period of moisture stress (rain after a dry spell) helps cause a homogenous flowering and therefore premotes a clearly defined harvesting season. Coffee producing countries with more than one wet and dry season will have more than one harvesting season.

There is a direct relationship between extremes of day and nighttime temperatures and coffee quality. Experimental evidence has indicated that a large gap between day and nighttime temperatures is beneficial to the flavor of fruits. Since a coffee cherry is a fruit and the seed is in contact with the fruit, these benefits will be passed onto the seed and therefore into the cup.


Since coffee grows in high elevations and mountains there must be some correlation to being able to grow it at less altitude, but in a similar temperate situation. Seems like a sun trap huglekulture situation creating a microclimate with plenty of stones could be ideal for this. It would probably be a waste of time and money to just chuck a bunch of coffee seeds out and see which grow.....BUT....if you were to start some coffees in a greenhouse or indoors and gradually expose them to the cold, hardening them off sort of, to see which varieties, etc can stand the weather and then save the seed and plant it in a slightly more exposed situation, but still babied....with the idea of getting a 3rd or 4th generation which would grow outdoors in a microclimate then that would be worth the effort.

Perhaps someone is already doing this....but all I can find are people who are growing indoors on very micro-scales with hundreds of potted coffee plants to get a few beans each....whereas I want a huglecaffine bed which will raise the 100lbs or so and more that we drink a year......I already roast green coffee beans....now I just need to get the beans closer to home....


http://kitchengardens.net
http://agrari.us
http://claddaghfarms.com
Joe Bloggs


Joined: Aug 20, 2014
Posts: 1
Why is my coffee plant so droopy? its fruit is ripe, but look at it. Why is it so sick. I was waiting for the fruit to ripen to re-pot it. But now I'm scared to touch it in case all the leaves fall off.
Help!



[Thumbnail for 20140820_172702.jpg]

Angelika Maier


Joined: Jan 16, 2013
Posts: 495
Location: cool climate
    
    2
Your coffee plant looks as if there is either a deficiency or it had wet feet.
I find this very interesting and if seeds are cheap or free like citrus that is a good idea.
With coffee you might be able to get unroasted coffee in some ethnic shops, weather they sprout is a different question as all tropic seeds have a very short shelf life.
 
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