It’s 2018 now and haven’t noticed any new updates on artificial cacao cultivation. I.E. Greenhouse or indoor. I’ve decided to put my bean to bar plans on hold since there’s some fear mongering in the media about chocolate shortage by 2050. In order to protect any livelihood in this industry I’ve decided it’s best to build a greenhouse and have my own hobby sized cacao garden (its going to take a few years).
I’ve bought some resource books and have looked up on youtube instagram and googled through every free resource I can find. The thing is I’ve only come across a very small handful of greenhouses that have sucessfully kept these trees alive as it is a fairly newer concept. I realize that it is the most difficult and finnickey tree out of any. But have there been any success in getting pods under artificial conditions in recent years?
As a follow up question: When I get my climate controlled greenhouse up and running, should I keep them in pots? I understand they have taproots as tall as the trunk of the tree, but in my northern living condition wouldn’t the ground be too cold to plant into the ground and shock the tree into death or dormitory?
Cacao midges live in Hawaii as well so if any other United Statesians are interested in building a cacao greenhouse as well, they can be shipped through the usps as long as there is no food or water going with them. Now the only way I can see this working is if you choose to ship overnight. Although this is pricey it has the greatest chance of success in getting live cacao midges. If you live far away from your local regional post building it is even more adviseable to drive to the city and pick them up to get them as fast as possible. So how do you find someone to get the midges and ship them to you? maybe craigslist? or use taskrabbit perhaps there’s a state park that you might contact to get help. It’ll be about two years before I get to this stage but I thought it would be useful for anyone out there with trees that need pollinating.
@boombonniewhale – Exciting news and please keep us posted on your progress!
I have never heard that bats are natural pollinators of cacao. I had to look it up. I wonder if bats who are not accustomed to cacao would know what to do.
To the best of my knowledge, there may be only one species of bee that pollinates cacao – melipona, is a small, stingless, bee native to Mexico.
The primary pollinator for cacao is a midge, a small fly. This is because of the size and structure of the cacao flower.
*sleep in their greenhouses and wake up in the early morning to hand pollinate. I know someone who can bring a box of bees over for a few days (a family relative). If bees do not work maybe there is a way to borrow bats, which also are known to pollinate the flowers in the tropical regions.
You are correct, and although I know that the articles are completely fear mongering, there is no harm in having an “arc” in case in the next hundred years or so some disease could widespread kill the population of trees :]
@DiscoverChoc Thankyou for your reply! I actually have found two greenhouses in the usa that have cacao trees which produce pods, one in a biodome in missouri and theres a sapling seller in conneticut who sells many tropical plants and has pictures of himself with pod producing trees. It is my plan in the near to far future to visit both of these before I get my own greenhouse and after I start in grow tents. I’m really excited about this project I’m undertaking and am confident that I can grow them with success after all the reading I have done on the topic :D. As for pollination, some people sleep i
@boombonniewhale – With one exception, the only places I know where cacao is grown indoors is in botanical gardens (e.g., Kew Gardens in the UK), research institutes (e.g., Penn State), or one or two trees by home hobbyists.
There is a garden in Holland where they are growing trees. This year they produced about 50 pods. One of the major issues is pollination. One of the reasons you are having problems finding research is that it’s not a topic anyone has been paying much attention to.
It’s also important to read the research that’s quoted in the articles about chocolate going extinct in 2050. That’s not what the research is saying – it is how it’s being reported, which is a different thing.
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