Springtime: Avocado Flowers, Hummingbirds, and Baby Avocados

hummingbird-in-avocado-tree

 

April is the month when everything happens at once in the avocado grove. Farmers  begin to harvest  the crop that has been growing for the past year on the trees.   The avocado trees are in full bloom and baby avocados are beginning to appear.  The constant humming of bees in the trees as they pollenate the flowers can be loud,  and humming birds are flitting around too!  See the little guy sitting high up in the tree?

avocadoflowersThe avocado flowers are beautiful little stars…clusters of optimism…nature’s little smiley faces.

flowers-and-baby-avocadoAnd after a while,  baby avocados appear … little green B-B’s that grow so quickly you can almost see them change before your eyes.   New red leaves in the spring  turn to green as they mature,  ready to shade the new avocados from the hot summer sun.

on-the-ground-in-the-groveThe flowers eventually drop onto the ground,  tiny reminders of the leaves that fall on the ground in New England.  In the road are the signs that a lucky squirrel  feasted on an  avocado that fell and ripened under the trees, probably due to the winds two weeks ago.   Fresh Hass avocados take up to  two weeks to soften at this time of year.  Need a ripe avocado?  Look under the trees, and hope you beat the squirrels to the soft ones.  Pick some every week and keep them on the kitchen counter if you want to be sure to have beautiful avocados to eat every day.

avocado-foliageAs the weather warms up,  the colorful new avocado foliage becomes lush and green.  Spring is the most exciting  time to visit an avocado grove.

If you live in California,  watch the avocado trees in your neighborhood.  Have you noticed the flowers?  The beautiful new foliage?  Have you seen the flowers on the ground under the trees?  Have you ever found an avocado that an animal has eaten?   It’s springtime…let’s live in the moment!   Let’s stop to smell the roses!

roses-vertical

 

 

 

blooming-trees-March21

California Avocados Direct 2014 Season Opener

blooming-young-trees

Spring has arrived here in Southern California, and that means it’s time to begin picking the avocados!   The biggest avocados will be selected and harvested now to make room for the new babies to begin growing.   The trees are already blooming, as you can see the shaggy yellow blossoms which make the trees look much lighter in color than the dark green leaves that are usually visible.

wildflower-gardenAfter a long, dry winter we finally had some rain two weeks ago.  Now the wild flowers are blooming!  Without rain, the ground stays brown.

new-growthWhen the buds for the blossoms begin to grow,  the tree also starts to put out some new leaves.  I like to think of those new reddish leaves as little umbrellas that will grow bigger and shade the new avocados from the sun.

blossomHere is the first flower opening!  They look like tiny yellow stars.  Did you know that avocado flowers are male or female when they first open,  and on the next day when they open again they are opposite?  Some flowers open male at first and then change to female.  Others start out female and open again as male.  Isn’t nature fascinating!

avocado-with-budsThe mature avocados have been growing for a whole year, and are still on the tree when the tree begins to bloom.  Now is the time to begin picking the largest avocados so the tree will have energy to make the smaller avocados grow bigger, as well as set new fruit for next year.

large-fruit-to-pickWe’ll be picking some large and jumbo size avocados on Monday morning to ship directly to customers all over the United States.  Our avocado mail-order website is CaliforniaAvocadosDirect.com where you can order a box of California avocados selected and picked just for you!  Or send some California avocados as a gift to someone you love.   We have both Fuerte and Hass varieties available now in the month of March.

blooming-trees-March21

Happy Spring to you!  Enjoy the beautiful avocado flowers!  (The bees are busy pollinating the flowers so that we can have delicious avocados next year.  You can hear them buzzing out in the grove if you listen. bzzzzzzzzzzz)

 

 

 

Avocado Grove Tour in January: This is Winter?

old avocado groveMeet Leslie,  a long lost friend from Vermont who stopped by to see us with her husband last week as part of their road trip around the United States.  When we first reconnected through Facebook,  Leslie mentioned that someday she would love to take an avocado grove tour to see how avocados grow…and last weekend her wish came true!   Continue reading

Mulching Baby Avocado Trees: Tender Loving Care

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It’s a beautiful morning here at the ranch, so I headed out for a walk to see what’s going on.  Once the harvest season is over,  there are lots of projects to do that will help the soil, the trees, and the baby avocados that are already growing for next year.  Last spring we  cut down some of the older trees that my husband planted over 40 years ago.   We replaced them with brand new  baby avocado trees before the summer harvest season started.  These baby trees had the advantage of spring rains and warm growing season.  Now it’s time to wrap them up with  a warm and nourishing blanket of mulch. Continue reading

Sunrise, Sunset – Late Summer on the Ranch

sun rise

The sun rises over the mountains to the east of us, where storm clouds have gathered.

The hottest time of the year has come to Southern California.   We can normally expect temperatures in the 90′s and 100′s in late August and early September.   I like to get up extra early to enjoy the beautiful sunrise, and take a swim before the heat gets to be overbearing.   The Farmer has to stay on top of irrigating during this heat.  If the trees don’t have enough water they will begin to absorb salts from the soil,  turning the leaves brown.   It’s crucial that the trees have water so they will hold the young avocados that are growing for next year.   Just as the harvest of this year’s crop is winding down,  the hottest weather arrives to keep farmers on their toes.

Photo by Greg Foster via Flickr Creative Commons

In the last several weeks we have had thunder storms, with  lightning that looked just like this photo,  and even some rain!  It’s very unusual to get any rain during the summer months.   When .25 inches of rain fell last weekend,  we were surprised!   Rain  makes The Farmer really happy, because it washes the dust off the leaves of the trees (helping with transpiration).   We didn’t  get enough rain to make any difference in the irrigation schedule though.   Even when we have unusually humid weather,  The Farmer follows  multiple weather reports, trying to keep the trees well irrigated to  stay ahead of the hottest weather that can happen without much warning.  He doesn’t get to leave the ranch very often,  working every day of the week and sometimes at night too.

August sunset

The sunsets during this hot time of year are spectacular.  This one happened about two weeks ago.  The humid weather gave us clouds, which added to the beauty of sunset.

Yesterday our weather turned very hot and dry, which is normal for September in southern California.  108 degrees at the ranch and 98 degrees over on the coast!  We had a breeze too, which makes everyone nervous.  If a wild fire starts during this heat, the wind can whip it up quickly.   We keep watching for smoke in our area…if a fire starts, we want to know about it!  Usually we hear the planes and helicopters overhead when there is a fire nearby.  A hillside next to the freeway caught fire yesterday,  not far from us.   The fire trucks were still there today, making  sure there were no sparks left to restart the fire.

Last night’s  sunset was beautiful, but not due to clouds.  A fire at Camp Pendleton, where the Marines train,  created smoke on the coast,  so our sunset was more beautiful due to that smoke.

 

september sunset

 

What about the avocado trees?  Do they wilt during this brutal heat?  We hope not!  The Farmer has been taking the best care of the trees consistently, so  they will be able to withstand a few days of scorching heat.  Avocado trees that have not been getting enough water can drop all their fruit and the leaves can turn brown or fall off, leaving avocados that might survive exposed to the sun. The trees can be so stressed that it takes them a long time to recover.   This is why The Farmer is so meticulous about his irrigation and grove care.  The care that we give our trees today affects the avocados for at least three years!   This hot weather could cause the mature avocados to drop,  and the baby avocados that are growing for next year could drop too!  The trees could be so stressed that they might not bloom in the spring,  so we could have no crop the following year either.

Now you know  why I try so hard to understand when The Farmer often says,  “Sorry, can’t go out with you…need to stay home and irrigate.”   Friends who ask,  “How’s The Farmer?”  may misunderstand  my answer… I said, “He’s irrigating”….not “He’s  irritating!”

I have shown you photos of the trees throughout the year… during the cool winter rains and the beautiful springtime  when the trees were blooming...and the harvesting in July!   Are you curious about how the trees look today, when it’s scorching hot?  Well, I went out there and took some photos for you…almost melted too!  Believe me when I say that it’s HOT.  This is not the cool fall weather I knew in Vermont…this feels like the scorching desert!  When the weather turns this hot, most people do not spend any time outside unless they can get to the beach…but the farmers are still out there,  taking good care of those trees!

Hot Day

It looks pretty, but it feels like someone opened the oven door outside!

I walked over to the left side of the road and looked up into the trees…knowing that you are going to want to check on the avocados!  Here are some!  Still growing!

avocados growing in September heat

These baby avocados are beginning to size up nicely! They are well protected from the hot sun by the healthy leaves of the tree. Thanks to The Farmer who works day and night to keep those trees in top condition so the California avocados that go to market will be top quality!

Keep looking for those California avocados in the stores!  The harvest season in California will soon be finished until next year’s crop is ready to pick … in 2013!

 

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