The almond tree, a member of the rose family, stands as a medium-sized marvel. Its kinship to peaches, plums, and apricots is apparent. Much like peaches, almonds hold their delectable treasures inside a robust shield. As they mature, their protective hulls crack open, revealing the almond within, easily freed from its solid casing once dried.
Almonds come in two flavours: the sweet and the slightly bitter. These versatile nuts find their way into various delectables, like sweets and milk, and as standalone snacks. Furthermore, their oil is extracted for multiple purposes. Almond farming in India is reserved for specific elevated regions like Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh.
Health Benefits Of Almonds
Almonds reign as the most nutritious and healthiest nuts, celebrated as a cholesterol-free, well-balanced food. They’re even crowned the “king of nuts” in India. Here are a few ways almonds benefit health:
- Almonds could bring down ‘bad’ cholesterol levels.
- Almonds might lower the chances of a heart attack.
- With their healthy fats, almonds could assist in shedding weight.
- Almonds contribute to better brain function.
- Building robust teeth and bones is one of the benefits of almonds.
Varieties Of Almonds In India
Below are some of the commercial varieties of Almonds cultivated in India. Non-Pareil, California paper Shell, Merced, IXL, Shalimar, Makhdoom, Waris, Pranyaj, Other high-yielding cultivars are Ne Plus Ultra, Primorskij, Peerless, Carmel, Thompson, Price, Butte, Monterey, Ruby, Fritz, Sonora, Padre, and Le Grand.
Climate Required For Almond Plantation
Almonds thrive in a warm climate, with summer temperatures ranging from 30°C to 35°C and cool winters for the tree’s growth and nut development. The closed blossoms can tolerate chilly weather as low as -2.2°C, but temperatures of 0.50°C to -1.1°C can harm them once the petals have fallen. While blossoms can endure brief spells as cold as -2.2°C to -3.3°C, they become fragile and susceptible to damage if the chill persists for many hours.
Soil And Its Preparation For Almond Plantation
Almond trees flourish in various soil types, with the best soil pH falling between 7.0 and 8.5. The perfect match for almond cultivation is loamy, deep, and well-drained soil.
While heavy or waterlogged soil isn’t their cup of tea, almonds can still grow happily in average soils if given some Farm Yard Manure and consistent, reliable watering. For instance, using a tractor like the Mahindra Oja can aid soil preparation and manure distribution, enhancing the overall almond farming process.
How To Plant Almonds
Plant the almond seed by placing half of it into damp sand. Put a clear plastic cover over the pot to keep the growing environment moist for longer. This plastic cover acts like a mini greenhouse, helping the seed to sprout quickly.
Training And Pruning Of Almond Farming
Gently trim some of the smaller branches to create more space. Choose the main and supporting units by removing some strong, competing ones. Choose these main branches by thinning them out. Trim the top of the main components lightly below the closely packed buds (around 36-48 inches long main branches).
Usage of fertiliser
When growing almonds, it’s important to give them the right nutrients. During the winter months, from December to January, adding about 20-25 kg of farm yard manure for each almond tree is a good idea. But the amount you use should depend on tests of the soil and the nutrients in the leaves.
Here’s what experts suggest for the right amounts:
- Use urea fertiliser in 2-3 steps.
- First, give half of the urea dose, full DAP, and full MOP when the almond flowers bloom.
- After three weeks, when the almonds have started growing, give a quarter of the urea dose.
- Then, from May to June, give another quarter dose.
- You can also spray a mixture of urea and water (at a ratio of about 1.3 to 2%) on the leaves. This helps the buds that will become fruit and makes the tree grow better next season.
Growing Period of Almond
Flower Growth Period (February to March): This time is important for almond trees, but they need more water. So, it’s crucial to provide enough water during these months. Giving water at the right times is essential to get good quality nuts.
Using a method called drip irrigation can be great for watering almond fields. This helps water the trees at the right times and uses water efficiently.
Almond trees start producing fruit about three years after being planted. Once they are 6-7 years old, they give good nuts. After the flowers bloom, it takes 8 months to get almonds. The almond pods are ready to be harvested when they turn green to yellow. Using poles to collect the nuts is a good idea. Then, the nuts should be dried either in the sun or with dry air until they have 5-7% moisture left.
After getting the almonds, removing the hull is important to prevent diseases. The nuts must be dried until they have 5-7% moisture content. You can use covered areas with a fan to help dry them. After that, the almonds should be taken out of their shells.
In conclusion, almond farming is a promising agricultural venture renowned for its nutritional value and versatility. Proper cultivation practices, including soil management, irrigation, and pruning, contribute to successful almond yields.
Modern tools like the Eicher 242 tractor become crucial when aiming for optimal outcomes, given their efficiency and productivity benefits. The Sonalika Tractor ranges from INR 4 – 4.40 lakhs, further enhancing the potential of this flourishing world of almond farming.