How do almonds grow – this is a question that many enthusiasts ponder. How do almonds grow – this is a question that many enthusiasts ponder. Being a favorite nut, some enthusiasts are curious to know information on it. In the US, almonds are one of the most popular and loved nuts. Consumption per head increases every year both inside and outside the US.
In spite of the above facts, only the state of California produces almonds commercially. The gross production was more than 2.15 billion pounds in 2016. The commercial value of this astonishing production is about 5.2 Billion US Dollars
From Spain, Franciscan friars brought almonds to the American continent during the 18th century. The Almond tree is neither too big, nor too small. It is moderate in size. It is native to the Mediterranean region. In the Levant region, you can still find the ancestral species growing profoundly.
How do Almonds Grow: Cross-Pollination
Since the almond trees cannot self-pollinate, they need at least two closely planted trees for pollination. The large farming houses grow many varieties of trees near each other for facilitating pollination. They paint each variety with a different color for easy identification.
Generally, the pollinator bees transfer pollen from one flower to another among the trees. During the blooming season, the large farming houses in the US, transport millions of these pollinator bees from other US states to increase the pollination.
Typically, the pollinator bees emerge during warm, bright, and sunny days from their hives. During long US winters, they will spend most of their time inside the hives. So, they would be hungry and weak. The transportation to warm areas like California, for pollination, replenishes energy in them.
By transporting the bees, the large farming houses help them to replenish with energy, while the company itself benefits commercially.
How do Almonds Grow – Harvest
During the blooming season, small African cultivators hire manual laborers to harvest the yield. This tiresome manual process is very slow and may take up to a month or so to complete the harvest.
But in the US, Large farming houses use technology to pluck Almonds. They use a machine called a tree shaker. In just 10 seconds under, this massive machine can shake out all fruits from a tree. In fact, it can shake hundreds of trees in a single day – a pure technical advantage enjoyed by US growers!
Storage and Processing
Most small African cultivators sell their products to large factories. Nowadays, these factories employ their laborers to harvest the cultivator’s trees. Then, the factories themselves transport the yield to their storage facilities.
After that, the factories segregate the almonds varieties and process them at different dedicated locations (sections). Thus, they produce different end products of almonds and sell them in commercial markets.
Being harvested by trained laborers, this method is somewhat quicker compared to the older methods.
Large farming houses have their own farmlands and state of art storage facilities. Some local cultivators also sell their nuts to these houses. These storage houses effectively segregate the products based on quality and transmit them to different sections for processing.
Among them, one section uses a specific grade of the yield to produce nut butter. This is a best-selling popular health product. Through its loving consumers, Nut butter has gained a large share in the commercial food market.
In addition, it also caters as a base for Almond milk, which is another best-selling health product. Some US factories specialize in producing almond milk. They sell it in special packs that help to improve the shelf life of the product, without losing taste.
Some other valuable commercial end products include blanched sliver almonds (used in baking), roasted and salted almonds. In fact, the special packings that retain the crispness and freshness for longer durations play an important role in the commercial success of these products. Technologically advance factories have special sections for these state of the art – international standard packings
Ultimately, these large houses gain profit by selling these products in both local and international markets. Right from the beginning, this lucrative business is proven to be successful with large beneficial margins.
Consumption of Almonds
The Almond flowers themselves have their own market share. You can cook them in gravies or use them as a garnish to decorate cuisines. Many types of home dishes, especially sweets are flavored using almonds.
In the food industry, some modern branded companies use almonds to produce ice creams, confectioneries, cereals, and other baked foods. Many restaurants use these nuts in their popular foods like granola bars. You can also find the usage of almonds in major international dishes particularly in the high-end ones.
For green almonds, cultivators harvest the nuts in the early stages of blossom. In some restaurants, you can find a separate category of foods prepared using green almonds and their byproducts. In fact, there is a unique fan base for the special delicate taste of these dishes.
Typically, the Consumption of these fruits is growing every year internationally, including in the USA. However, the supply does not seem to catch up with demand except in a few areas throughout the world.
In the international market, the United States is the largest producer and supplier of this crop. It has been retaining more than 80 percent of the world market share for several years. The USA almond exports surpassed 1.4 billion pounds in 2016/17. Germany, China, Spain, and India are major importers of US almonds.
Shelled almonds constitute about 70% of US Exports. Processed or Unshelled almond varieties constitute about 30%. European Union is the second-largest producer of these fruits. However, its world market share is very less compared to that of the USA.
How do Almonds Grow – Cultivation
The Almond trees grow well in areas that enjoy long summers, hot dry weather. Simply speaking, these trees grow well in USDA Zones 7 – 9. However, these trees require at least 300 hours of cold weather (about 7 degrees Celsius) to break the bud’s dormancy. They also require about 500 – 600 millimeters of rain annually to thrive healthily. But they hate wet soils and frosts. These altering requirements make growing almond trees a little bit of a tough, tricky, or risky job, as you name it!
Typically, the best way to grow an almond tree is by planting buds/seedlings
Select a space that receives full sunlight.
1) Wet the soil by pouring at least 2-3 buckets of water.
2) Work the soil with compost or other organic manure to about an inch.
3) If possible, provide rootstock treatment. This increases the resistance of plants against common diseases.
4) Plant the seedlings on the worked surface. Maintain the watering cycle especially when the plants are young.
5.) But do not over-water so as to make the soil soggy.
Growing Almonds by planting seeds is a bit tricky and needs a lot of care. For harvesting, you may have to wait for 5 – 12 years until the trees start producing fruits. However, healthy matured trees can continuously produce fruits for about 25 years during the blooming seasons (early August to late September). Matured almond trees can produce around 55 pounds (25 Kgs) of yield per harvest.
To maximize harvest, it is recommended to prune the trees at regular intervals. You can prune about 20 percent of the canopy in a matured tree. It replenishes fresh energy in them and helps to grow healthier. In this way, you can harvest more yield. This may also help increase the lifespan of the tree.
Poisonous Wild Almonds
In most other plant species, there will be fewer differences between domestic and wild plants. However, in almonds, the difference is huge!
The Wild fruits are extremely poisonous. Upon cracking, they release hydrogen cyanide. Therefore, they can kill humans almost instantly! Avoid them in any situation.
Interestingly, Almonds have both health and commercial benefits. You can consume them raw or add them to flavor your dishes. Their unique taste and flavor are guaranteed to excite your guests at the food table. Just make sure to keep away from the wild varieties. This concludes the topic – How do almonds grow!