Almond is a tree that gives the nut of the same name. In our area there are many names by which he is known, the most used is the name bayam and mendula. This plant is from the rose family, including apples, pears, apricots, plums, blackberries, raspberries… The edible part of it is the nucleus of the fruit.
Almonds belong to the group of peeled fruits. Storks on trees that can grow up to 6 meters. They are deciduous trees and their life spans are short. The trees are similar to peaches, when they bloom they have beautiful pink flowers and then long and narrow leaves. Almond fruits come in a hard green peel about 5 cm in size, which is not edible. Inside it is a hard bone full of tiny holes that contains almond seeds. It is flat, oval and surrounded by a brown shell.
In terms of fruit, almonds are divided into two types:
- bitter almond - used in alternative medicine
- sweet almond - used for food and culinary purposes
Bitter almond seeds are toxic due to the hydrocyanic acid it contains. Only by processing can preparations be made from it, mostly so-called. bitter almond water, which is used as a sedative in treatment. Treatment with these preparations must be carried out with caution, precisely because of its composition, and is used to treat diseases of the stomach and intestines, to calm heartaches and to relieve fever.
Sweet almonds are a very nutritious and calorie fruit. They are rich in vitamins, minerals and proteins, among them vitamins B2 and B3, and the minerals are iron, calcium and phosphorus. Because of their nutrition, they are often part of various diets. Just eat a few and you already feel tired.
Almonds are grown in positions up to 600 m in height due to the increased humidity in the climate. Otherwise, especially in Asia, they succeed in positions up to 1200 m high. Before planting, the soil must be deeply plowed and mineral fertilizer spread. Thereafter, they plunge to 40 cm in depth. If we plant almonds in the fall, the soil is prepared in the summer, and if planted in the spring, it can be plowed from summer to winter, depending on the soil moisture. Seedlings are planted at a distance of 6 times 4 meters.
Almonds grow well outdoors, in the garden as shrubs or along walls. It is not recommended to plant them near peaches, as the seeds may become bitter. Almonds are not completely self-fertilizing, so manual pollination is recommended by planting a couple of trees together. For cultivation they will use planting near nettle, chives, garlic, onion or clover.
This tree is usually not grown in a greenhouse because it takes a lot of effort to prune and bind, and the fruits do not produce in large quantities anyway. If you still want to grow them this way, do not heat the greenhouse in winter, as the trees need a dormancy period. Optimal humidity must be maintained in the greenhouse so that the almond spider does not attack the red spider.
For personal use and decoration, almonds can also be grown in pots, but only if their soil is regularly enriched and the soil moisture is maintained. In this way, you will also be able to regulate the plant protection against frost. Take them outdoors in the summer and keep them in protected places in the winter and when they bloom. You must protect the young fruits and flowers as they do not tolerate frost.
Almonds can also be grown from seed, but it will take a long time to give birth. In addition, some seeds may be very bitter. That is why plantations are raised by vaccination. Almonds are split into peaches, plums or almonds. Almond as a substrate is very resistant to drought, while the vineyard peach, in addition to being drought resistant, is also very lush and gives birth to almonds early. She's not bothered that the grafted plant like this fails on carbonate soils, is susceptible to viruses and the tree lives shorter.
For almond cultivation, choose sandy-loamy or loamy soil. They must be deeply drained and rich in humus and minerals. The soil must be neutral or slightly acidic, or slightly alkaline. Light soil is needed to allow the almond to develop a root that goes up to 4 meters deep.
Almonds need a lot of light and warmth for growth and good fertility, especially in times when they are ripe. Because it blooms as early as January, it thrives in areas where there are no frosts at the time. They are not only destroyed by January frosts, but also by northern winds, such as the Dalmatian storm.
Some almond varieties can withstand temperatures up to -27 ° C, while flowers can withstand up to -4 ° C. Open flowers and germinated fruits cannot withstand temperatures below -2 ° C. Almonds, on the other hand, are very heat resistant and can withstand temperatures up to 50 ° C without damage.
Almond water is most important as it grows shoots and fruits. It is irrigated only if it is to be provided with a large and stable nature, but this is generally not the practice in our country. Irrigation is not necessary at the time of ripening, as the fruits themselves release the water.Almonds tolerate drought very well and are therefore grown in Dalmatian areas, where hot heat occurs in summer.
Spring is a time when you need to protect the tree from frost because it is the time of almond bloom. Prune and pollinate the trees manually and spray with algae every month. In the summer, the fruits must be thinned, while autumn is the time to harvest the ripe fruits.
Pruning / trimming
Almond pruning is important because it forms a growing form. It can be spatial or flat. Almond naturally forms a pyramid-shaped canopy, consisting of a conduit and three to four basic branches. They form branching branches and carry native and unnatural shoots.
After planting, the seedlings are shortened to 90 cm and removed early shoots. In the first year, only 3 or 4 shoots are selected, which must be well developed. The rest is removed to encourage vegetative growth and canopy formation.
Once the trees begin to bear fruit, all the branches and unwanted growth are removed to make the canopy airy and bright. This is done during winter dormancy, when all the dry branches are removed, while the green pruning is done during the summer and then waterfalls and growing branches are removed, compared to the primary ones.
By fertilizing, we enrich the soil with the substances needed by plants to be healthy and fertile. For almonds, they are nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, and calcium, magnesium, iron, sulfur, manganese, zinc and copper. The quantity depends not only on the quality of the soil, but also on the climatic conditions, the age of the fruit and the intensity of cultivation.
The amount of manure is determined after soil analysis, and the fertilization is done three times a year. Basic fertilization is carried out during the autumn tillage and then more phosphorus and potassium are introduced into the soil, and every three years organic fertilizers or manure must be added. Nitrogen fertilizers are harvested in the spring, especially when the fruit is young and still forming a canopy.
It is necessary to protect the bark of the tree from animals such as deer and rabbits. It is common for almonds to attack leaf curl disease. They can also be affected by rot and dead branches. In this case, remove the branches and mulch. As for other pests, they can be attacked by earplugs that enter the fruit and eat pits. Lay cardboard paper around each branch to prevent this.
Almonds start to sprout two to three years after planting. Full fertility occurs at the age of eight and can then be obtained about 4 tons of almonds per hectare. Harvesting is done by shakers or by hand, from mid-August to mid-October. The fruits are ripe for picking when the green shell breaks.
The fruits will not ripen evenly, so harvest is done as needed. Initially, it will bear fruit on the outer branches. Shake the almond tree for the fruits to fall and peel and dry them.
For commercial cultivation almonds must be peeled after harvest. They are then stored in a dry, ventilated place, with a relative humidity of 75% and at a temperature of 8 to 10 ° C.
If you are picking almonds for the household, they will stay fresh longer if you do not clean them from the shell. These can be stored for a long time in sand or in dry salt.
Medicinal properties of almonds
Almonds are very healthy. They contain many vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates and as much as 49% of the daily recommended amount of fiber. Most vitamins contain vitamin B17 and vitamin E, while minerals include magnesium, copper and phosphorus. This nuts are rich in probiotics as well as protein and monounsaturated fatty acids. They are responsible for preserving heart health, therefore almonds are foods that protect against heart attack. They also protect the circulatory system by controlling blood sugar levels and reducing the glycemic index of other foods we eat.
Antioxidants in almonds protect the body from free radicals and prevent the development of serious diseases such as tumors and cancers. It also helps to reduce the acidity of the body. Almonds are a great first aid for heartburn and also prevent kidney stones. They improve nervous system function and brain function.
In addition, they are great food if you want to lose weight, they can replace the whole meal, and its derivatives replace cow's milk.
Almond in culinary
Almonds in culinary arts are widely used. They are most commonly used to prepare desserts. Ground can also replace flour. Removing brown skins, they are great for decorating cakes and cakes, although skins are a great source of vitamins and minerals. It is stripped so that the almonds are immersed in hot water. Except in cakes, almonds can be used to prepare other various sweets. They can be sugary or make marzipan.
Almond milk is made from almond milk, which can replace cow's milk in everything. Almonds are such a great fruit for people on a diet. They can be eaten as snacks or added to salads and other various dishes.
Almond oil is also very popular in cosmetics, which is used for hair, face and body.
Interesting about almonds
The plant is native to Central Asia and grown in countries from Syria and Turkey, all the way to Pakistan and India.From the Mediterranean it spread to northern Africa and southern Europe. In the 18th century, missionaries took it from Spain to the United States, or California, where it is now cultivated. Today, almonds are mostly grown in the Mediterranean, Italy and Spain, and then in Iran, Morocco and Portugal. And the US has also become a major almond producer in the world.
Almonds are very beautiful and attractive trees, because of the beauty of the flowers and the fruits. They are also often grown for decorative value. Birds and rodents love them. In our country they are grown mostly on the coast, where the climate is slightly warmer, since they bloom early, even before peaches, so they can be caught by the frost and destroy the fruits.
Author: V.B., Photo: FlickrLickr / Wikimedia