There are many different types of fruits, each with its own harvest time in the course of the year – this translates to harvesting at different seasons.
This means that if you plant in intervals you will be able to have yields throughout the year. When we talk about planting at different intervals we are also referring to planting different varieties of fruit trees as they have different harvest seasons/time.
Orchard establishment is not as expensive as it looks, because fruit tree seedlings are not as expensive as it seems and the returns are very high. You can imagine planting a whole acre of Hass Avocado will only cost you around Kshs. 40,500 to plant, on the first harvest you will roughly get 100 fruits per tree multiplied by 150 trees which gives you 15,000 fruits then multiply by Kshs. 10 per fruit which gives you Kshs. 150,000. If you subtract the initial cost and management cost you will still make profit and as the trees mature the more they fruit. So if you inter-crop the Hass avocados with other fruit trees you will definitely be in business all through the year, supplying what is in season.
The following practices will help you achieve the all year harvest.
Monitor Growth Periods and Spread your Harvests
The timing of your growth periods has a big effect on how big your harvests will be. To make sure you get it right every time, three things can help: choosing the right variety for each season and/or location; making sure trees have enough rest at all times (which is crucial for productive growth); and monitoring periods of bud dormancy – an obligatory period of rest – with cold treatments.
Once you’ve found out what kind of changes the different seasons will have on your plantation, spread out your harvests as much as possible. You can do this by planting several varieties or getting to know how each variety reacts to certain climate conditions. This way, the trees will mature and bear fruits at different times of the year. Apart from achieving year-round harvests, this will also help avoid damage from one variety ruining another.
Think about Pollination and use the Right Pesticides
During the cold season, you can’t pollinate your fruit trees and bushes yourself. So you must check beforehand if your plantation will be self-pollinating or not. If the variety needs bees to pollinate it, then this means they’ll be a gap in time between January and March where fruits won’t grow anymore. Excessive application but overdoing it can affect flowering periods.
Plant different fruit tree varieties and spread the harvests
In practice, you can achieve a monthly harvesting cycle by planting several fruit varieties in your orchard. If the trees are planted close together and have the same root-stock, they will all blossom at more or less the same time each year.
Your best option is to plan for different harvesting times with fast-growing kinds (such as citrus fruits and avocados) alternating with slower kinds (apples). A faster-growing variety of fruit trees will allow multiple harvests throughout the year that provide regular income for farmers even in bad weather years. If you have a large piece of land, you can also plant watermelons and time them in a way that they mature at a different time with other fruits. However, you should ensure that your targeted harvesting period is at a time when the demand and prices are high. For example, if you plant limes near lemons then their harvest comes in January instead of May when there’s no other harvest. This way you can help protect yourself against risks like diseases and poor production caused by a lack of sunshine, for instance.
You should ensure that you have a harvest from the orchard every month. This isn’t the case every year though. In bad weather years, there may be no harvesting throughout the entire season because all fruit trees produce little fruit at the same time – but in good weather years, you’ll be able to harvest several times a month and benefit from higher prices because of demand is greater than supply. So you’ve achieved an all-round harvest throughout the year, even despite bad weather.
Finally, be sure that the trees you choose will not interfere with any adjacent trees meaning that they would be out of sync with each tree’s harvest time. Be sure to keep a lookout for this as it could result in reduced yield and therefore reduced revenue from your orchard.
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