Tag Archives: Denver Botanic Gardens

Coffee: What’s the buzz?

Coast to coast, many Americans—myself included–cannot imagine a day without coffee. But coffee is a vulnerable crop that is, so to speak, in hot water. Coffee cultivation faces many challenges, including climate change. As demand for coffee increases, yields decrease due to increased drought, pests and damaging storms. In addition, coffee lacks genetic diversity. And coffee is linked to many social justice issues, as well. 

In the United States, coffee is produced in Hawaii, Puerto Rico and more recently in California. However, the U.S. Congress allocated funds to expand the USDA’s research and development in 2019, the USDA Coffee and Cacao Crop Germplasm Committee was formed. 

The chair of that committee is Sarada Krishnan, Ph.D., also directs horticulture and global initiatives at Denver Botanic Gardens. “Coffee is an international crop, and it surely is a crop whose sustainability every country needs to address. The entire coffee value chain needs to address sustainability, including consumers,” said Krishnan, who owns coffee farms in Jamaica

One of the foremost authorities on coffee, Krishnan also is working on a coffee research project in Puerto Rico, affected by both hurricanes and earthquakes. Dr. Sarada Krishnan was contracted by World Coffee Research to serve as the lead scientist in a research project to study the feasibility of using solar panels to generate energy for coffee farms while also providing shade for the coffee plants.  

I’ve wanted to interview Dr. Krishnan for years and finally caught up with her. This feature on her and her passion for coffee was published April 11,2021, in The Denver Gazette, and you can read it at this link.

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End of summer propagation projects: save seeds, take cuttings

seeds

Seed saving and propagation stretches any gardening budget.

As August winds down, many gardens are revved up. Now is an ideal time to collect some seeds for next season and take some cuttings to propagate over winter. Saving seeds and propagating plants will stretch your garden budget and give you a green-thumb fix during the dead of winter.
The Denver Post published my article about propagating plants, and the piece includes lots of tips from the woman known as “the Propagation Queen” at Denver Botanic Gardens. You may read the article here.
Easy seeds to save include hollyhocks, cosmos, marigolds, and many other annuals and bi-annuals. You might want to take cuttings from zonal geraniums, angel wing begonias, succulents, or herbs such as sage and rosemary. All you need is a sunny window or some grow lights, and you’ll have an indoor garden.
The best part is when spring comes and you have plants ready to go outdoors without purchasing them.

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