TIPS ON ESTABLISHING A COFFEE GARDEN
There are two types of coffee – Robusta and Arabica. Robusta grows in low altitude areas and Arabica in high altitude areas. Below are tips on how to ensure you establish a coffee garden.
- Spacing: The spacing between Robusta plants is 10 feet by 10 feet and between Arabica ones is 8 feet by 8 feet.
- Dig right size holes – 2 feet long x 2 feet wide x 2 feet deep.
- While digging holes: heap the top soil on one side and bottom soil on another side.
- Add manure to the dug-out soil and return it into the holes.
- Mark the center of the holes and leave them for 2 – 3 months before planting.
- Obtain coffee plantlets from Certified Coffee Nurseries.
- During the planting season, plant very early in the morning or late in the evening.
- Remove the polythene pot cover before planting the seedling/cutting.
- Provide temporary shade to the newly planted coffee plantlets and water in case of water stress. Water conservation channels/bands are important in coffee.
- When the coffee plantlets have attained a height of about 11/2 foot or 6 – 9 months after planting, they should be trained (bent in an east to west direction i.e. sunrise to sunset direction) to initiate multiple branches from which the lowest and most healthy 2 are selected and maintained together with the original plantlet. This ensures higher yield and profitability per tree.
- The coffee garden should always be mulched and “weed free”
- Beans and bananas are good intercrops for coffee.
- Continuous de-suckering of the coffee plants should be practiced in order to prevent development of a micro climate that encourages pests such as Black Coffee Twig Borer (BCTB).
- At maturity, harvest only the red-ripe cherry and dry it immediately on tarpaulins, raised platforms or cemented floor to preserve its good quality.
For further guidance, please contact:
- Your nearest Extension Worker
- Uganda Coffee Development Authority’s Regional Office