Coffee- Planting activities
Coffee is propagated by seeds. Around 1000 plants can be accommodated in an acre.
Seeds are raised in primary nursery and then transplanted to polybag filled with soil, compost, and sand in 6:2:1 ratio (Basket nursery) at button stage. The ideal time of planting spreads from June – December.
Uprooting and in situ burning should be done to remove the ground level bushy growth. Selective retention of evergreen trees providing filtered shade at a spacing of 9 -12 m is desirable.
Pits of size 45 cm x 45 cm x 45 cm are to be opened during the months of April -May and exposed to sun for about a fortnight to kill soil pests like cockchafers (root grubs), nematodes etc.
Later, they should be filled with top fertile soil and well -decomposed farmyard manure or compost (1-2 kg/ pit).
Disease free and vigorous seedlings are selected for planting. Seedlings with stunted and twisted roots are discarded.
Rooted plants (aged 16-18 months) with and without ball are planted during June and bag plants are generally planted during September-October.
The arabica varieties are planted at around 2x2m spacing and robusta are planted at around 3 x3 m spacing.
A hole is made at the center of the pit after leveling the soil. The seedling is placed in the hole with its taproot and lateral roots spread out in proper position. The hole is then filled with soil.
In case of ball and bag seedlings, the bottom portion of the bag is cut and the tip of the root is nipped. The seedling is gently removed from the bag with its soil and root system intact and planted in the hole. Pack the soil around the seedling 3 cm high above ground to prevent water stagnation.
After planting, the coffee seedlings should be provided with staking and mulching to protect against wind damage and to conserve soil moisture for the ensuing dry period.
The soil erosion attains serious dimension on steep slopes without proper shade coverage. In such fields, contour planting and terracing should be practiced.
It is advisable to plant temporary shade trees like dadap at 4.5-6 m apart spacing initially, for providing optimum shade to young coffee plants. One dadap for every two coffee plants is recommended.