Sweet Sugar Cane - for Coffee

Monday, December 14, 2015 Stephen Kelly 0 Comments

I recently planted two varieties of sugar came that were given to me by a good friend. I have yet to determine the exact varieties, but will do that as they grow larger. One is a commercial variant used to make sugar, the other is an eating variety.

I want to grow sugar cane as part of my plan for the farm. So that products that the products as much as possible will come from the farm. For example for coffee, I will capture the water for the coffee from the farm, grow the coffee on the farm, the milk will come from cows on the farm, and sugar will come from sugar came grown on the farm.

This crop of sugar cane will be a learning experience, as I learn the processes of growing and refining sugar cane. I put in 4 stalks of each of the two varieties, 3 of one type have sprouted, and two of the other type has sprouted. Giving me 5 plants. See pictures below.

5 Sugar cane plants in my front yard. 

I will not be refining sugar to crystalline sugar, I will be refining it to a liquid as it is very hard to make sugar crystals at non industrial scale. I will probably do some experiments with creating some crystals. 

The sugar cane grew really quickly for the first 7 weeks, and are now over a meter tall, but it has seemed to stall in the last two weeks, it has thickened up at the base, and I have noticed that there are now side shoots on a few of the plants (See Image below). One Sugar cane plant is a clump of about 6 to 10 stalks. I think the plant grew rapidly with the nutrients that were already in the soil, and has used all of them, so I added some fertilizer to them. We cleaned the duck hutch today and removed the straw and duck manure, mixed in some composted cow manure, and added some worm compost water, and added it around the plants and gave it a good water. 

New Stalk to the side of the main stalk.

I will be crushing the sugar manually from this first crop. As there will be such a small amount and some of the crop will also be used for replanting. I am hoping to he able to keep this 'stream' of the plant going for the foreseeable future to remind me of the friend that gave the original plants to me.

We are currently starting some early stage research about how to make a sugar crushing machine to extract the juice from the cane. The left over husk of the plants will be fed to the farm animals. At the moment we will feed the left over stalks to the ducks, but eventually we will also feed them to pigs and other farm animals. 

Unfortunately I no longer have sugar in my coffee, so I will not be able to taste much of the sugar.