Thursday, February 28, 2013

 My iPhone caught this bee coming in for a landing on a blossom.  Statistically, for every pound of almonds produced, there are 3 photographs taken of bees and almond blossoms.
Can you find the bee?
These are the same two rows I took a picture of on 2/26.  Late pink bud/early bloom.  There was some concern in the farm literature that we would have a "flash" bloom.  I think the bloom is progressing normally.

Row on left is Wood Colony, looking at their South facing side

Row on right is Wood Colony, looking at their North facing side
North versus South

The row on the left side of this photograph is the Wood Colony variety.  In this orchard the rows run East/West, the picture is looking East, so we are seeing the South side of the Wood Colony trees. Quite a few blossoms are open.

 The same row is now on the right side of the picture so we are seeing the North side of the same Wood Colony row.  Because there is less radiant heat from the sun on the North side of the trees, there are fewer blossoms open here. Several factors cause the blossoms to open at different times and this gives the bees more time to (hopefully) visit every blossom.

Also in this picture, we can see that the mummies and other litter in the orchard (mostly old leaves) have been swept to the middles.  We will soon mow these to further destroy the mummies and the Navel Orange Worm that may be residing in them.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

There has been a very noticeable progression of the bloom from yesterday to today.  Some orchards in the area are several days ahead of this one, and some behind.

This orchard is not quite as far along.  I will try to take pictures of these rows on a nearly daily basis as we move along through bloom so you can track the progression.

Monday, February 25, 2013

When trees are entering their third and fourth leaf, we use tree rope (strong biodegradable sisal) to help support the limbs. Without help from the rope, the weight of the new growth and the crop would cause many limbs to bend over to the ground or break.  This is a well roped tree. North is to the left as you look at this picture.  Two forces cause trees in our area to grow towards the South. First, the "pull" of the sun which travels in the Southern half of our sky, and second, our persistent North winds which push the tree to the South.  For this reason, we place the rope lower on the North side of the tree.  This places the rope against thicker stronger wood which helps support the limbs on the South side of the tree where the rope is placed higher.  This picture was taken on 22 Feb. 2013. Notice the lack of bloom.  In another 10 days this tree will be white with blossoms!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

This picture was taken Sunday Feb. 24 2013.  It shows the top of a Nonpareil tree.  There are a few blossoms beginning to open, but not many.  Thankfully, bloom is a bit late this year so we have avoided the past week of frosty mornings.  The weather forecast for this week is very favorable;  no rain, slow warming trend.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

 Weeds are controlled in the tree rows, and we are now killing the weeds in the middles to enhance frost protection.  Note also that we have been irrigating.  It has been very dry for a long time.

Bloom is going to happen a little later than average this year. We are not really even into pink bud yet.  I am hoping that bloom continues to develop slowly because the weather predictions for the coming week are for very cold nights. The buds are quite frost-hardy in their current condition, but once they open up they can be killed by just a couple of hours below freezing.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Fwd: Tulare Farm Show

At the BIG Tulare farm show today (Tuesday 2/12).  Lots of advances and improvements in equipment and technology to learn about. The weather is beautiful. I often miss the show because frequently almonds are in pink bud during the time of the show and we are busy applying fungicides. This year pink bud is still a ways off. As pretty as it is, this tractor is a little too big for our orchards.  One can dream...

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The recent fair weather has allowed the ground to dry and created a great opportunity to place the bee colonies around the orchards.  Most of the bees are now in place, but bloom is a couple of weeks off.