Grow Vanilla

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Tanny Lee sells vanilla vine cuttings in Malaysia. We get lots of questions about buying vanilla plants in Malaysia, here is a possible source.

We have started our vanilla nursery and we will be a vanilla nursery provider. We are representing Orchids Asia. Beside nursery we are setting up a vanilla sample plot for public to view in Kuching.

Attached pictures show vanilla and myself, 1 meter vanilla cuttings inside our quarantine shade, watering of the cuttings, putting the 1 meter cuttings upright.

Tanny Lee
tuntanny@gmail.com
phone +6 012 8834466
Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia

Vanilla orchid on a fern treeVanilla beansA reader shares this great report on two vanilla plantation visits on Hawaii‘s Big Island: the Hawaiian Vanilla Company, and Huahua Farm.

I just got back from my day trip to the Big Island. I’ll give you a recap of what I learned…

Huahua Farms

Clare was a very gracious and sharing host while we visited her farm. She has a number of vines, but recently had to destroy some plants due to a disease of some kind. The vines that remain are healthy and doing well. I believe some of the photos you have on your site show the trellises she uses to train the vines where to grow. They are under about a 50% shade cloth. At the time of our visit, there weren’t any flowers, but Clare said that they typically start to appear in January for her. She did have some nice looking pods maturing on the vine though…some of which have been on the vine almost a year. Clare thinks it’s because of the amount of vog (volcanic haze created by the volcano) that’s been generated recently. She’s also tried incorporating some of the techniques in the Vanilla Growing Manual from Venui Vanilla (speaking of which, I ordered a copy about a month ago, so hopefully it arrives soon).

Clare was also kind enough to share her curing methods with me, which are typical to the Bourbon style (i.e., blanching, sunning, sweating). The beans were coming along nicely from what I could tell. The amount she has available for sale is limited, so if anyone was thinking about ordering some, they should contact her soon. Maybe when her vines begin flowering, I’ll try and pay her a visit.

Hawaiian Vanilla Company

I attended HVC’s lunch and tour event among a small group of “tourists”. We were served a nice lunch with each element incorporating some form of vanilla. Our host for the day was Dave, one of the small number of employees on the farm. We learned about the Redenkopp family through a video and also had a quick demonstration about making extract. I was told that they produce only about 500 lbs. per year, but due to a recent outbreak of some disease, their entire plant stock had to be replaced from Costa Rican material. Their vines were in the early stages of growth and they don’t expect any beans until at least 2010. Their growing medium of choice is CHC (coconut husk chips) imported from Sri Lanka (I think). Whatever beans they are currently selling is from older stock. I believe they had another growing area apart from what we were shown.

That’s what I can recall right now…if you had specific questions just let me know.

Thanks for the detailed report. Reader reports are always welcome, just share them through the contact form.

New Zealand PlantationWhat are the ideal indoor conditions for growing vanilla?

Vanilla is a tropical plant and will only grow well within 20 degrees of the equator. However in a heated glasshouse we grow vanilla commercially in New Zealand at 37 degrees south. We maintain minimum temps of 16 c overnight and 21 c during the day, 50% shade and 80% relative humidity. It would grow well inside providing you can maintain humidity. It also needs a wet and dry season. Growing in a controlled environment makes this easy to replicate. Without a dry season the vines won’t flower. (03/08/2008) By Boggo

Boggo is probably Garth Boggis at Heilala Vanilla in New Zealand.

Tanzania vanilla growers

Henerico Daud Buberwa (Mr. Daudi) is a Tanzanian vanilla farmer, pictured here on the left. I originally bought some of Mr. Mugabuso’s (right) Tanzanian vanilla beans from Kim, a former Peace Corps worker.

Mr. Daudi sent me a post letter describing his vanilla growing and curing techniques, and compared them to those presented in Piero Bianchessi’s fantastic vanilla plantation handbook, Vanilla, Agriculture & Curing Techniques.

Mr Daudi writes:
I have read the handbook; it is very nice one. New knowledge I’ve acquired from the book includes:

  • Other countries growing vanilla
  • Vanilla world markets
  • Vanilla spices
  • Vanilla curing techniques.

Vanilla growing programs
All growing program from preparation of shamba [ed:vineyard] to pollinating of flowers are the same as we do, though there are slight differences in approach; e.g. in case of poles (supporting poles) here we use jatrophas only, mulching we use dry grass, dry banana leaves and banana stems; also here vanillas are grown in the same shamba with bananas, cassava yams, beans coffee etc.

The pictures in the book show that in other countries vanillas are grown in the forest.

Curing techniques
From the book curing techniques seems to be long and complicated circle.

At home, after harvesting ripe vanilla we take heap of 40-50 vanilla beans and wrap them in black clean cloth, then after, the heap is exposed to the sunshine for 5-6 hours everyday for two weeks consecutively, after this period the heap is opened and vanilla beans are left at clean cool place for a week to dry slowly. Already you have nice vanilla for home use or parking.

Bad Luck
The organization which buy vanilla here at home, it interests on raw vanilla for gaining more profits.

Refer to Mugyabuso’s vanilla, it was dried in the same system as the mentioned one above. Testing of vanillin content it is still a problem at home level.

I will try to take photos from my shamba and give you more details about vanilla later.

Wish you the best.
H. Daud
1st June 2008

Contact:
Henerico Daud Buberwa
c/o Meleki Emanuel Kaishozi
PO BOX 11849
Mwanza, Tanzania

Related
Tanzania planifolia vanilla
Tanzania vanilla, first look
Tanzania vanilla beans

Here’s another video from Agus Ramadas, a champion of gourmet vanilla in Indonesia.

Related
Indonesian tahitensis beans?
Fair trade vanilla alert.
Gourmet Organic Vanilla from Indonesia.
Indonesian vanilla video

Here’s a round-up of indoor vanilla information. Feel free to link to other resources in the comments.

Indoor vanilla links
Heilala Vanilla info.
Heilala Vanilla indoor vanilla plantation gallery.
Indoor vanilla in the Ukraine.

This video documents a vanilla and teak project in Costa Rica.

Check out this video from Rentak Timur in Malaysia.

Here are two new vanilla videos (1,2) from youtube user agusramadas, a vanilla pioneer in Indonesia.

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