apples

Looking for a cracker of a nut to grow? Go for almonds (Prunus amygdalus)! They’re just full of goodness – great taste (especially roasted!), high in good fats and have the highest fibre content of all the nuts. And, you don’t have to wait too long before you can harvest either – trees start producing from the third year.

Almonds can grow into large trees (up to 4m tall and wide) and typically, require at least two trees for pollination and fruit set. However, if you’re short on space, look for dwarf forms, which are self-pollinating (so only one tree is needed) and perfect for small backyards.  

They grow best in warm and cool temperature climates, such as dry inland areas, where the summers are hot and dry, and winters are cool. They will not thrive in coastal conditions. 


How to grow almonds in a garden

  1. Choose a sunny spot with well drained soil. Enrich the soil with Yates Dynamic Lifter Soil Improver & Plant Fertiliser. If the soil is clay based, add gypsum and fork in well. 
  2. Dig the planting hole twice as wide and to the same depth as the root-ball. Remove the shrub from the container, gently tease the roots and cut away any circled or tangled roots.
  3. Position in hole and backfill with soil, gently firming down.  Form a raised or doughnut shaped ring of soil around the outer edge of the plant's root zone. This helps keep water where it's needed.  Always water in well after planting to settle the soil around the roots and keep the soil moist for several weeks while the new plant establishes.
  4. Mulch around the base with organic mulch like bark chips, sugarcane or pea straw, keeping it away from the trunk.
  5. Water regularly and deeply during the growing, flowering and fruiting season – usually from spring to autumn. While they’re drought tolerant, trees produce more almonds when they are well-watered.
  6. Feed your tree at least twice a year, in autumn and spring with Yates Dynamic Lifter Soil Improver & Plant Fertiliser. For an added nutrient boost, feed fortnightly during the flowering and fruiting season with Yates Thrive Citrus Liquid Plant Food.
  7. After 2-3 years, harvest almonds when the outer, fleshy hull starts to split open. You can spread a tarp under the canopy and knock the tree to collect the nuts. Repeat after a couple of weeks.

     
red apples
apples on the board


How to grow almonds in a pot

Almonds can be grown in large pots or planter boxes, but look for dwarf, self-pollinating forms such as ‘All In One’ or PlantNet’s ‘Dwarf Self Pollinating Almond’ – they can grow up to 2m tall and wide.

  1. Choose a pot at least 600mm wide. Position in full sun and partially fill with quality potting mix, such as Yates Potting Mix with Dynamic Lifter. 
  2. Remove the shrub from the container, gently tease the roots and cut away any circled or tangled roots.
  3. Position in pot and backfill with potting mix, gently firming down. Water in well.
  4. Mulch with an organic mulch, such as bark chips, sugar cane or pea straw ensuring to keep it away from the trunk.
  5. Water regularly and deeply during the growing, flowering and fruiting season – keeping the soil moist, but not wet. While they’re drought tolerant, trees produce more almonds when they are well-watered.
  6. Feed your tree in autumn and spring with Yates Dynamic Lifter Soil Improver & Plant Fertiliser. When flowering and fruiting, feed weekly with Yates Thrive Citrus Liquid Plant Food to help promote nut production.
  7. Harvest nuts after 2-3 years. Lay a tarp under the canopy and knock the tree to encourage nuts to fall. Repeat every few weeks. 

Growing tips

  • Almonds are available in two types: sweet and bitter. Sweet almonds are widely grown in the home and are ideal for eating. Bitter types are used for almond essence. 

  • Almonds are categorised into three shell types: 
    Paper shell: can be easily rubbed off by hand;
    Soft shell: can be easily removed by hand but firmer; 
    Hard shell: similar to other nuts.
  • Varieties commonly used in the home garden include: 
    Hard shell varieties – ‘Mission’, ‘Peerless’ and ‘Fritz’
    Soft shell varieties – ‘Johnston Prolific’ and 'Brandis Jordan’
    Paper shell varieties – ‘Nonpareil’, ‘Ne Plus Ultra’ and ‘IXL’

  • Regardless of the variety, two compatible almond types are required for pollination and fruit set. Check plant labels when purchasing at your local nursery. If space is limited, it’s possible to buy a double-grafted tree with two varieties on the one rootstock, or look for self-pollinating varieties such as ‘All In One’ or ‘Dwarf Self Pollinating Almond’. 

  • You can help the plants to make the most of any available water by mulching heavily over the root area with a ten-centimetre-thick layer of organic mulch and by applying Yates Waterwise Soil Wetter Concentrate. Soil wetters encourage water to move into the root zone. 

  • Almonds can handle cold winters, however, frost after the flowers have bloomed will wipe out the crop. Try and protect with frost cloths and blankets.

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