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How well-planned are you for tree fruit farming this season?

Before planting your first fruit tree, you should conduct your own research regarding production, marketing, and financing the enterprise.

When considering tree fruit production, careful planning and research is critical to your success. There are many considerations you should address and some of these may be a few months in advance of planting your first tree.

Your first consideration should be your marketing plan. How do you intend to sell your fruit? You may be considering wholesale markets however; do you have enough acreage to produce the volume to be profitable? If you plan to retail your production, who and where are your customers? With the increasing popularity of hard cider operations, this may be an option.

Book your seedlings Earlier

You will probably need to order trees two months in advance. Before ordering trees you should decide if you will be planting apples, tree-tomato, avocado, macadamia, pawpaw, oranges, lemons, pears, or stone fruit (cherry, peach, nectarine, apricot, plum, ). Also before ordering, you need to decide the cultivars, rootstock, and tree density. You should talk to your potential markets to determine what cultivars are popular now and what may be popular in the future (We can help you with that).

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When deciding on apple cultivars you will need to choose at least two cultivars for pollination. Some cultivars require three different pollens to produce fruit. You may also choose to use another type of tree such as crab apples to pollinate your cultivars. Consult your nursery to determine which cultivars work well together.

The topography of your land may dictate tree density. Steeper slopes may mean more space between rows but between tree spacing may remain as planned. Keep in mind that you will be operating equipment in the orchard at least weekly. Also, higher density orchards require more management than lower density orchards. High density orchards also require irrigation and a support system.

A high density (900 trees per acre), fresh fruit orchard may cost 150,000 per acre to establish while a medium density (150 tree per acre, e.g Avocado) may cost 45000 per acre to establish. The smaller trees will produce a crop earlier than medium sized trees so your management skills may impact your decision.

Labor is another consideration when deciding on an orchard. Will you need more than family labor and, if so, what is the source of the additional labor?

It will be several years before you begin to see a return on your investment so plan accordingly. Also, consult your accountant as trees cannot be deprecated for several years after planting. Production expenses are deductible but the trees are not.

After considering all of your options and conducting hours of research you should be able to make an informed decision.

If you really need to start an orchard and you are stuck halfway, don’t lose hope, visit our offices or give us a call and we will guide you through.

For those who have already decided, this is the time to book your seedlings.

 

 

 

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Apple Farming – An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

Many time we hear the phrase and think it’s just a proverb, but hey it is true. “Eat an apple on going to bed, and you’ll keep the doctor from earning his bread.”

Apples have a good claim to promote health. They contain Vitamin C, which aids the immune system, and phenols, which reduce cholesterol. They also reduce tooth decay by cleaning one’s teeth and killing off bacteria. It has also been suggested by Cornell University researchers that the quercetin found in apples protects brain cells against neuro-degenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s Disease.

Apples are one of the most popular, flavorful and healthful fruits grown in the world. Three-fourths of America’s population, both young and old, name apples as one of their favorite fruits for snacking. They are also great with meals. Apples are pre-packaged in nature’s own wrapper. Several servings of apples and apple products should be included in children’s diet every day to help build a healthy body.

Today, the science of apple growing is called pomology. Over the years many people have worked together to refine methods to produce the best formed and tastiest apples. It takes about four or five years for apple trees to produce their first fruits. Apple trees are grown on farms, better known as apple orchards. In spring apple trees blossom with fragrant, sweet smelling white flowers.

Core facts about Apples

  • Apples come in many varieties– Apples come in a range of interesting flavors, offering a variety not available in most other fruits and vegetables.
  • Apples are convenient– One of Mother Nature’s original fast foods, they can be eaten fresh, or processed as sauce, juice and slices.
  • Apples are nutritious– Apples are a very good fruit for building healthy bodies.
  • Contains no fat, and contains no saturated fat – helps reduce risk of cancer.
  • Contains no sodium– helps reduce risk or high blood pressure.
  • Is an excellent source of fiber– helps reduce cholesterol and may help prevent certain types of cancer.
  • Has only 80 calories.
  • Contains no cholesterol.
  • Contains no artificial colors or flavors.

Related Story: HEALTHY BENEFITS OF LEMON AND HOW TO GROW THEM

 

COMMERCIAL APPLE PRODUCTION IN KENYA

Commercial apple production requires two essential preconditions: cold winters and relatively hot summers. Apples do well in areas with an annual rainfall of 800 to 1100 mm. Apples can do well in different soil types as long as the soil is deep, fertile, properly aerated and well drained. Sufficient soil moisture is desired during bud break and fruit set for proper fruit quality and yield.

Most apple cultivars are not sufficiently self-pollinating; it is advisable to plant other cultivars that act as pollinators, these include winter banana, Jonathan and golden dorset. A spacing of 2-3m between plants and 3-4m from row to row is ideal. Soil and leaf analysis will offer great insights and will determine the fertilizer program to be adapted.

Some varieties of apples that are popular in the country include Winter Banana, Anna and Top Red, all of which are viable in Kenya’s climate. Apples grow best in sandy to sandy-loamy soils that run deep and drain easily. The recommended pH for the soils is 5.5, which is slightly basic. If you are not sure what kind of soil you have, you can send samples to laboratories for testing.

You can start with a few seedlings, lets say 10 plants. Assuming that one will give you an average of 200-500 fruits within an year you have 2000 – 5000 fruits that you can sell between 10-15. This will approximately give you between 20000-50000 Shillings if you sell at Ksh 10 and between 30,000 and 75,000 if you sell at Ksh 15.

All you need to do is get out of your comfort zone and take that bold step. Order your seedlings today. Start early, plan well, and the returns are wonderful. Contact us today for more information.

 

Apples trees seedlings