THE SECRET LIFE OF A BLUE WHALE ORCHARD
Over the seasons, the life of a Blue Whale orchard follows the cycle of precise growing operations that require attention and know-how. The fruit-grower has to adapt his growing techniques on a day-to-day basis depending on the growth of trees and the weather conditions.
The plantation period changes all along the season according to the different varieties of fruit selected by the growers. The selection depends on the climate and the type of soil.
In order to guarantee a long term productivity of the orchards, the growers have to tend the soil. An annual nitrogen and potassium input is vital to successfully gain production every year.
Winter is the best period to prune the trees as the sap activity is low and the healing process of the bark is at its optimum.
According to tree development it exists 3 types of pruning:
- Forming pruning : it give the structure to young trees
- Maintain pruning: remove excessive number of spout and favour a best shining at the heart of the tree
- Bear-fruit pruning : reduce branch length to allow blooming and bear-fruit
The pruning ensures a good balance between the tree development with a successful and regular quality production.
During this time, bees and others insects gather nectar from one plant to another favouring the pollen mixture and flowers fertilization. Pollination is an important step in the function of strong apples. That is why there are beehives in orchards.
The blossoming period runs around 5 to 12 days according to the weather condition.
This period varies according to the varieties, production areas and weather conditions from mid-March to the end of April.
When fruit replace the flowers, thinning consists in selecting fruit in order to ensure that the maturation of final fruit and to avoid overloading.
To protect orchards from different pests and diseases, our fruit-growers use IPM mettons (Integrated Pest Management):
- Detection of insects and diseases in his orchard,
- Application of appropriate phytosanitary product with the recommended dose to maintain the integrity and the harvest quality.
The applications are based on growerʼs observations, depending on several factors:
weather, attacks by pests and diseases but also tolerance of varieties (eg Ariane naturelle resistant to scab).
Concerning treatments, we include both organic solutions or synthetic solutions and also calcium based treatments.
The aim of Fruit-growers is the natural, environmental and economic balances.
Fruit is all picked by hand at the right maturity.
Fruit colour, firmness and sugar level are checked daily to decide on the right moment to start the harvest. Some apples are picked using scissors to cut the stalk, which might damage fruits if they knock together.
The harvest calendar is spread over the 15th August to 10th of November.