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There may be no other crop on the planet more valuable to the average person than Coffee. On a cold morning, starting your day with a warm cup of the finest slow-roasted Coffee beans is simply priceless. On the other hand, one of the worst feelings is to find that you have run out, or don’t have the time to venture to the local Starbucks before heading to the office. However, many people are now growing Coffee in aquaponics gardens as a means to never run low on their supply of black gold.
In this article, we’d like to share with you some of the most vital information on how you can grow your Coffee in an Aquaponics system.
Why Grow Coffee in Your Aquaponics Garden?
To date, various countries produce Coffee, having Brazil on top of the list for more than a century. We also have Vietnam and Colombia as top producers. While loved by millions of people, only a few know that Coffee beans are actually the seeds of berries produced by the Coffee trees.
History has it that the effects of Coffee were first discovered in 800 AD. According to stories, the animal herders at that time observed how the goats looked like they were dancing after consuming the fruit from the Coffee plant. There was also a monk who created a beverage out of the beans and noticed how it kept him awake through the night.
One interesting fact about Coffee was that it was banned by a Meccan governor, Khair Beg thinking that coffee drinking would bring people together and start discussing his shortcomings as a leader. Catholics, in the earlier centuries, regarded Coffee as a satanic drink as it was associated with Islam. Apparently, these were debunked and it is proven that Coffee is beneficial to our health and is in no way evil. Hence, more people are actually trying to learn how to grow their own Coffee plants.
Types of Coffee
There are two main types or species of Coffee beans. These are Coffee Arabica and Coffee Robusta. Let’s examine some of the differences between the two:
When people say Coffee Arabica, this refers to the more superior type of beans which represents 70% of the world’s Coffee production. These are cultivated mostly in higher regions or higher altitudes. Some consider this type as a gourmet coffee where you get to enjoy its smooth flavor and aroma.
The history of Coffee Arabica’s name can be traced back to the 7th century where the beans traveled from Ethiopia to Yemen and lower Arabica through the Red Sea. Back in Ethiopia, the beans were crushed and mixed with fat which was consumed as it is. But upon reaching Arabia, the beverage we all learned to love was first created. Hence, the name.
Originated in West Africa, Coffee Robusta is grown at lower altitudes. This type is easier to grow compared to Coffee Arabica because it’s basically more resistant to pests and diseases. The name describes the Coffee’s characteristics of being hardy and strong. It’s commonly used in making espresso due to its extra kick.
How to Serve Coffee From Your Aquaponics Garden
The most popular way to serve Coffee is as a beverage. Also, you can add Coffee to your favorite recipes and make extraordinary dishes and desserts.
However, there are more ways to use Coffee beans. Some people are using the ground Coffee as a fertilizer, an insect repellent, a solution to remove fleas from your pets, a deodorizer, a cleaning scrub, and a skincare alternative. And it doesn’t stop here. Other folks are using it to tenderize meat, and even to reduce scratches on furniture. It goes without saying that Coffee beans are versatile and highly useful.
Health Benefits of Coffee
Some of the nutrients found in Coffee are calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, and potassium. In fact, most health experts would suggest that you add Coffee to your daily diet due to the following reasons:
- Improves your energy levels
- Promotes better mental health
- Protects your liver
- Helps in weight management
- Lowers the risk of Type 2 diabetes
- Improves your mood
- Reduces the risks of certain types of cancers
- Lower the chances of getting heart diseases
Cultivating Coffee in Your Aquaponics Garden
Growing Coffee in Aquaponics entails proper understanding and techniques. We have some of the most practical tips to help you start with your aquaponics journey.
Aquaponic System Types
Your Coffee plant will thrive best on slightly acidic soil with pH levels of 6 to 6.5. Make sure to use a quality pH meter.
The ideal growing medium for a Coffee plant is those that can drain well. Clay is a good choice, or if you want, you can even add perlite to make the grow medium even more suitable for your Coffee.
Water and Air Temperature
Coffee plants love tropical temperatures with high humidity. This should be around 64 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature becomes lower than 55 degrees Fahrenheit, you will notice that the leaves of your plant will start to drop.
Make sure that your Coffee has a good drainage system as overwatering it can be damaging.
As mentioned above, Coffee can grow really big. Thus, it is recommended that you plant it at least 3 feet away from other plants.
Do not place your Coffee plant where direct sunlight can hit it. As a rule of thumb, always find a way to shade your Coffee. It can be under a bigger tree or a human-made shade.
Goldfish is one of the best options for your aquaponics gardens. We recommend it because this type of fish can produce good amounts of excretion. This allows your Coffee plant to get ample nutrients. In addition, most types of Goldfish are considered hardy and can survive in various environments and conditions.
A coffee plant will reach its maturity after four years. From there, you should see the Coffee cherries. When it turns to red, that’s your sign that it is ready for harvesting.
There are two ways to harvest your Coffee. One is strip picking, and the other one is called hand picking. We recommend that you use hand picking so that you can carefully select the cherries, and overall more suitable for small to medium-sized aquaponics setups.
There are various pests that can harm your Coffee plant. Make sure that you are always on the lookout because the taste of your Coffee largely depends on how it is maintained. Some of the most common pests are the following:
There are natural and organic ways to fight off pests. Remember only to use chemicals as a last resort as it can be harmful to fish. Also, you might want to grow Coffee Robusta as these are not as prone to having pests.
One of the common issues that you might encounter when growing a Coffee plant is that the leaves will continuously drop. The best solution is to move your plant to a brighter area without exposing it to direct sunlight.
We have more tips for you about Coffee. Make sure you read this first before growing Coffee in aquaponics gardens:
- Beans from stores are not made for growing as these are treated and roasted
- Most parts of the coffee plant are toxic to humans and animals
- The Coffee beans are actually seeds and are called such because it looks like legumes