Summer's Ups and Downs

Jason and I have been growing coffee for at least 2 years now. We have been able to grow seedlings that arrived from Florida with varying success. We have grown coffee from seed with varying success. I would have hoped that I had the answer key for what makes coffee grow quicker compared to slower. What kind of soil is best. What type of pot works best. Yet, I find that even our summer has been met with mixed results and renewed struggles from plants that looked great during the winter.

I have ideas, but I do not have answers. We thought that there was something we could add to our soil to help our plants grow. In fact, we found a YouTuber who grows a variety of plants that expressed some of his own struggles growing a coffee plant. His recommendation: get volcanic soil or create the closest thing to volcanic soil that we can achieve.

So we sought out some volcanic rock to mix into our dirt.

As you imagine, putting rock into the soil is not what the guy meant. We needed to pulverize the rock into a fine dust and then mix it into the soil. So we set out to smash the rock, in the only way we knew how. With brute, primitive force. After our barbaric method of smashing the rocks into dust (which, by the way, was the one warning the bag did tell us of—don’t inhale the dust). We mixed it into some seedlings we recently received.

The result: no real perceptible difference in the way it has grown compared to how our other plants faired. Now, this does not mean that we are not doing the right thing. We may have needed to get more dust mixed in than what we had. At the same time, we are suspicious that we may not have added any new nutrients at all. We did, after all, purchase “decorative volcanic rock”. It was what the YouTuber recommended, but we have yet to enjoy its results.

We will continue to experiment with soil, water, fertilizer, sunlight, temperature, and humidity. This summer we have learned that coffee growing is slow and complicated. It is truly one of the most complex plants to grow.