Kona Coffee farm maintenance is always ongoing. This year it was time to replace the covering on the coffee drying decks. Due to the UV rays of our beautiful Hawaiian sunshine, the poly covering will last about five years and then it starts breaking down. This was year six and it was time to tackle this project. First the old poly comes off and goes to the recycle center, next comes the challenge of pulling the large, continuous sheet up and over the bows of the cover frame. We accomplished this by tying strings to the sheet on one side of the deck and gently pulling the sheet up over the top. This is quite the job for two people but we did not get in a hurry and finished the job without damaging the covering, or each other. With my great patience and my loving wife’s excellent directions, we managed, somehow.
Our deck is used to dry the pulped and washed coffee during the picking season. The open ends allow for cross ventilation to carry away moisture as the sun heats the coffee parchment. The poly cover protects the drying parchment from rain showers as well as producing the green house effect during sunny times.
Our pruned Kona Coffee trees have come back to life! Spring rains promoted healthy new growth to the bare pruned stumps. Next will be the big job of selecting just a few of these healthy shoots on which will grow the next two year’s Kona Coffee crop. Production starts on the second year wood and has its maximum production on the third year. After the third year’s crop is picked, this process of pruning will start over. With this method of pruning we cut every third row each year. This method promotes evenly grown verticals which will hopefully produce an abundant crop of premium Kona Coffee cherries.
The pruning cleanup in the orchard is a simple matter of chipping the brush and putting the mulch back on the orchard to help maintain moisture in the soil. We use a PTO powered chipper and blow the mulch into the farm truck, haul it to a rocky area and spread it out.
Now we wait for nature to take its course and bring our stumps back to life.
This February we started our spring pruning. It looks a bit radical but the chainsaw gets the job done. We prune every third row by cutting it down to a stump. This allows the new verticals to grow in evenly because they do not compete for sunlight.
We are excited to launch our new website and blog. We will share our experiences as Kona coffee farmers and our life on Hawaii Island.
Check out our new website at MnMKonaCoffee.com