There are two types, bitter and sweet. Sweet almonds are cultivated as food; bitter almonds, which contain prussic acid, are grown mostly for their rootstocks on which sweet almonds are grafted. They are not sold in this country.
Almonds are raised for ornamental and nutritional reasons. Like other nuts, almonds are high in vitamin B and protein. One cup of shelled almonds contains 26 grams of protein, 77 grams of fat, 28 grams of carbohydrates, 332 milligrams of calcium, and small amounts of vitamins B, and B2, iron, and niacin.
The almond tree is as hardy as the peach but its production is more limited because it blossoms a month earlier, making the flowers more susceptible to spring frosts. The nuts ripen from peach like, fuzzy fruits into the ripe almond and are ready for gathering in late August or September.
The warmer part of the United States is more reliable for almond tree growth. In California almonds are an important crop. California varieties are Nonpareil, IXL, Peer-less, Drake, Texas, and Mission. Two or more varieties must be planted together since all are self-sterile.
Early plantings have been more successful than late plantings. January-February plantings are better than March plantings. When trees are planted in January-February, ambient temperatures are low which prevents leaf buds from growing. This gives the roots time to callus and regenerate new roots before leaf buds begin to grow.
Propagation is by budding named varieties onto peach or almond seedlings. Bitter almond root stocks are usually used since they are less expensive than the sweet almond stocks.
Budding takes place in the early autumn. In the following spring, stock is cut back to the bud, which is permitted to grow for a season. At the end of this period, the one-year tree is ready for planting in the orchard.
The almond requires a sandy, well-drained soil, neutral or tending slightly to the alkaline. Since good drainage is essential, plenty of humus should be present to hold moisture while permitting excess
The hole where the tree is going should be just large enough to receive the roots without bending or crowding them. If a soil auger is used, it should be 24-inches in diameter and the sides of the hole should be broken down to eliminate the auger's glazing effect. Compost or manure should never be placed at the bottom of the hole. It can create problems for the tree.
The roots of the tree run deep. It is advisable to break up the topsoil thoroughly and to as great a depth as possible before planting and then fertilize with plenty of organic matter.
Many commercial growers plant cover crops which are then turned under for green manure, protecting the ground and enriching the soil. This practice should not be necessary on the small homestead where only a few trees are planted.
Compost should be worked in late in the autumn. Place straw mulch under the tree but not close to the trunk.
Almond trees begin to bear in three or four years and should be in full production in 12 years. Nuts should be harvested when those in the center of the tree are ripe. Nuts which fall to the ground before the regular harvest time should be cleaned up daily to prevent disease.
After harvesting, shell and dry the nuts. The kernels should be spread for drying in a shady location until the meat is crisp. Kernels can be stored in airtight jars and kept in cool places.
If you liked this page, you might also be interested in this page about Growing Pecans.
This page is just one of many pages dedicated to sustainable living through organic farming and living wisely. growing almond trees will enable you become one step closer to food independance. This is beneficial to your health, peace of mind and lifestyle, great for nature, and reduces your carbon footprint. You can really do it yourself, grow your own food, raise your own animals, from simple means. You can go back to nature and sustainability one step at a time. Today growing almond trees, tomorrow something else. That's why we have many articles that you can find on the left side of this page to choose from. Each time try to add something to your farm. Sustainable living is your ticket to true freedom. Enjoy the rest of our pages.
To add this page to your favorite pages simply press (Ctrl+D) on your keyboard for Internet Explorer and Firefox.