Thursday, March 28, 2013

Crop sizing

The almonds are getting big enough to be clearly visible from a distance. We have had mostly sunny days which will help the trees hold more nuts. This is a fifth leaf Nonpareil tree.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Wednesday 3/20/2013
Every other week, The Old Mill Cafe in Modesto is the site of an early morning pest management discussion hosted by our local Farm Advisor, Roger Duncan.  Farm Advisors work for the University of California Extension Service.  Their mission is information and technology transfer.  The system has been very effective in keeping California growers aware of the most current research and knowledge base.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Pruning walnuts (Tulare variety) after their second year.  The pruning appears severe, but if the limbs are left too long, they will bend from their own weight and the tree will be misshaped.  By building a strong core structure, theses trees can hold a big crop in another couple of years.
 I am amazed every year by how rapidly the nuts begin to grow after the ovary is fertilized.  The bees and pollen have done their job so it's "off to the races".

In this picture we have blossoms still blooming, blossoms with fallen petals, nutlets just breaking their jackets (the calyx), and nuts from which the jacket has fallen.
Just after jacket-split is the most frost sensitive time for the nutlet.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Our benchmark rows. The Nonpareil are well into petal fall and the Wood Colony (with the flag) are shortly behind.

On the other side of the Nonpareil row, the Monterey still have a lot of bloom time left.

It is not obvious from these pictures but we are irrigating.

We still need to chop up the mummies which have been swept to the center of the middles.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Bloom is starting to wind down.  The only pure white orchards remaining are late varieties, mostly Butte-Padre blocks.  Many Carmel, Monterey and Wood Colony trees remain near full bloom.  The feared "flash bloom" did not materialize.  It has been a nice long period of bloom.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

 Photos taken 3/5/2013

The Candycots are beginning to wake from their winter slumber.

At about 1% bloom the Anya blooms are mostly on the basal portions of the branches while the Yuliya blossoms are mostly towards the terminals.

It could be that we do not have adequate chilling hours during our winters for the bloom to be compact.  A staggered bloom is not necessarily a bad thing.  By the time the fruit is maturing, the differences of bloom timing will be diluted.  Also, the fruit requires two or three picking passes anyway.
Picture taken Wednesday 3/7/2013

We had some rain last night, a bit less than an tenth of an inch.  Today is cooler and cloudy but there will be some bee activity with highs in the mid 60's. Bloom is hanging on, not a lot of petal fall yet.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Another glorious day in the valley; sunshine, mild temperatures and beauty all around.  Bloom continues strong, but more and more petals are beginning to fall.  It appears this may be our last day of such exceptionally good weather for a while. Rain is forecast to move into our region tonight, followed by showers and "unsettled" weather for at least several days

Check out this artsy photo of almond blossoms with new trees in the background.  The baby almond trees are tethered by plastic tape to a bamboo stake to help them withstand the North winds we experience during April and May.
 Monday March 4, 2013.

Another spectacular day of bloom.  Temperatures ideal in the high 60's, very light breezes, and lots of sunshine.  This has to be doing a lot to boost the health of the honeybees that were brought in from all around the nation.  Unless they get too fat from eating all that pollen!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

 Our "study" rows, 2 average rows in which I am documenting the progression of bloom. Top photo taken 3/1/2013, bottom photo taken today, 3/3/2013. I would say this orchard is in "full bloom". A few petals are beginning to fall from the Nonpareil, but there are also a few buds that have not yet opened.   
Recently we have had ideal conditions for pollenation. Today turned slightly cooler and overcast, but the temperature was still plenty warm for the bees (high 60's) and they were very active. The forecast this coming week includes rain followed by cold air.  March can be a stressful month due to frost threats.  However, we have had a favorable start.