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Past Articles Library | Trees | How to Grow Almonds

If you live in an area that can sustain peaches then you can grow almonds but there is a catch.  Almonds leaf out earlier than peaches.  In doing so, if you are in an area that receives a frost prior to March then chances are you can grow almonds but they will not produce.

While your area may not be perfect, it is still fun to try your hand at growing almonds from seeds.  But not all seeds are the same.  To grow almonds from seeds, one must first find almonds that are still in the shell.  They also cannot be roasted or salted.  Once you have found these nuts, the next step is to prepare the seed.

The almond seedling actual comes from the nutmeat that we actually eat.  The hard shell or hull is what surrounds the nutmeat.  To help the seed germinate, we need to prepare the hull.  To begin this process, gather several of your almonds on the table and when I say several I really mean several.  It is a challenge to grow almonds from seeds so prepare to plant a lot so that you increase your chances of success. 

To prepare the hulls and nutmeat, take a large bowl and fill it with water.  Place your almonds in the bowl and set aside for at least 8 hours.  After that time period has passed, drain the water out of the bowl. 

The next step is one that you really need to be careful with.  What you are going to do is to slightly crack the hull.  The goal is to create a slight opening by which the seed embryo can move through. 

Once all the almonds have been slightly cracked, the next step is to prepare a chamber that will mimic the outdoor environment.  This is done by taking a resealable plastic bag and filling it with dampened sphagnum moss.  Then, add your almonds to the bag push the air out and seal. 

Put this bag in the refrigerator and once a week open it up to check the moisture level.  Add water as needed to keep the sphagnum moss moist.  Continue with this process for two to three months.

When it gets close to the cooling off process, you will need to start preparing your containers.  The first part of this process is to select pots that are at least 6 inches deep and have drainage holes.  Once you have your pots, the next step is to prepare the containers.  This is done first by sterilizing the pot.  While this may sound complicated, it really is simple and starts with cleaning the planting container.  To do this, simply place the containers in a bucket of water.  Add a capful of bleach to this water and allow the pots to sit there and soak for a few minutes.

After they have soaked, scrub the pots to remove dirt and grime.  Next, place the containers in a bucket of clear water and rinse.  Take out of this bucket and set aside to dry. 

Once that is done, you will need to plug up the drainage holes of the containers.  There are several different options but I love to use something from the kitchen.  What is this?  Well, it is the good old fashion coffee filters.  Place one inside each pot then fill with a well draining potting soil. 

Now, take each seed and place it about 1 inch down into the soil.  Do not try to plant one almond seed per pot.  The better approach is to plant several almond seeds in each container.  The reason for this is the fact that not every seed will germinate.

Water the freshly planted seeds in and move to a sunny windowsill.  Keep the soil evenly moist at all times. 

Once the weather warms, you can move your germinated almond seeds outside. 

While you can keep your seedlings in the pots, it is better to move them to their permanent location.  Almond trees like to be planted in full sun.  They also require a well draining sandy loam.  They also need a lot of room and when I say a lot I mean a lot.  These nut trees need 19 to 26 feet between them.

After you find the best location, you will need to prepare the hole.  When trees are planted, they require a hole that is two to three times the width and the same depth as the container they came in.  Once the hole has been dug, turn the container that the almond seedlings are located in and gently tap the bottom.  This should release the plant from its container.  If this does not happen, squeeze the sides of the container to add in the release.  Still stuck, just cut the pot off.

Now that you have the almond seedling(s), the next step is to plant the tree.  Unlike other nut trees, almonds are one of those trees that can survive with more than one plant in the hole.  Since you need at least two trees for cross pollination, this is a great technique for those who do not have a lot of room. 

After the trees have been planted, water in each plant and add additional soil as needed.

Continue to monitor the soil moisture during the growing season.  While this is very important during the first year, it is something that you need to continue even though the almond tree is drought tolerant. 

Almond trees love to eat and when I say that I am talking about fertilizer.  They need a large amount of nitrogen and phosphorous.  While you can use inorganic fertilizer, the best approach is to use an organic food.  The easiest one to apply in the spring is manure.  The amount depends on the size of the tree.  One that is under a year old only requires a small amount.  Too much will burn the plant.  As the tree gets bigger, the amount of manure increases.  Continue to add manure from the spring into the late summer.  Do not just lay it on the top of the soil.  Instead, water it in after every application.  Adding water after you apply manure will allow the fertilizer to move down through the soil where it can be used by the tree.

To keep your almond tree healthy and strong starts off in the spring.  Remove any suckers that may appear growing up from the ground.  To keep them at bay, always remove them at the ground level.  This will reduce the chances of them growing back during the gardening season.  The second thing you need to do is to keep the garden space clean.  This means removing any branches and leaves that may have fallen during the growing season.  This will help reduce the chance of developing navel orange worms, which will overwinter in the garden debris.

While the steps involved to start your own almond tree from seed may seem involved, it really is worth the time and effort.

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Rotate Certain Crops

Avoid planting potatoes and tomatoes where they grew last year. They carry the same diseases, so it's best to rotate them.

You'll have much healthier plants, and more successful crops.

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