Saturday, March 25, 2017

Almond in blossom

Photo of almond flowers on bare branches
Almond blossom
My little almond tree began flowering earlier this month;  I love its pretty pink blossoms.  The variety is Robijn, grafted onto a dwarf/semi-dwarf rootstock.  I've had it several years and have had a harvest off it for the past two years.

Almonds come from a hotter, drier climate than cool rainy Britain, but luckily my Robijn doesn't seem to mind too much.  Because it flowers so early in the spring, however, it needs help with pollination;  the majority of bees aren't out yet--too cold still.  I've seen one or two bees this past week--and a few flies which can also pollinate--but to ensure I get a meaningful harvest, I've been hand-pollinating.

Two years ago I hand-pollinated and got 25 almonds as my very first harvest.  Last year I didn't:  it was raining;  I didn't want to go out there!  But as a result, I only got four almonds total.  This year it's rained, but luckily it's also been sunny;  I've been out most days with a feather, pollinating all the flowers I can reach.  The tree is probably about eight or nine feet tall now, so I can't reach all of them--and I'll probably prune it down this summer back within reach.  But I hope for a good hundred or so almonds this year.  I may have to invest in a sturdy nutcracker.

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