In my apple orchards at an altitude of over 1,000 meters above sea level, it starts a little later and a little slower than in the warm valley sun. But within a few days, the buds of the different apple varieties break open. I've been experiencing this all my life, but it's always a touching spectacle. Which I observe closely. I greet the new blossoms, pure white, with pale pink edges, a little striped, and the red blossoms of the Rouge apple variety. Some are small and have round, strong petals, others are elongated and more delicate. Easy to tell which variety a flower belongs to.
An unpredictable player in agriculture is the weather. This year February was so warm that I had to fear a too early start of flowering. The cold weather came at Easter, but fortunately we had no damage. Depending on the vegetation phase, the trees can withstand temperatures down to minus 5 degrees. When it gets too cold, we set candles in the orchard. Budding started around 25 April, which is very early. But all this means nothing for the further development. Depending on the weather, everything can still change now.
World climate in the orchard
Growing apples on the mountain means that I have been studying the weather and climate intensively for a long time. The conditions up here are different from those in the valley. For some years now, we have been getting more and more cold winds, which used to be very rare. I think these are signs of a changing climate.
Bees at work
When the trees are in full bloom, we welcome our regular guests. A beekeeper friend brings the hives and the honey bees begin their so valuable "work". - From which everyone has something: They collect the nectar from the flowers and take pollen with them. They transfer it to the pistil of the next flower - et voilá! The gem of an apple has been created. I also watch the weather during this phase. Bees only fly when the temperature reaches 10 degrees. If it is colder, it takes longer for them to harvest tree after tree and pollinate them at the same time.
Hard-working, social & loyal
Honey bees show what efficient work means. When a bee discovers a flowering tree, it informs its colleagues in the hive. It does this with the so-called bee dance. When the bees have finished with one tree; they fly to the next one. Honey bees, like ours, fly to about 300 flowers a day. Fun fact: It takes three to five million flowers to make one kilo of honey. Besides being industrious, bees are also faithful: they first work on all the trees of one variety before moving on to the next.
Company in the apple orchard
Apple trees need bees to bear fruit. The bees are like famous star guests: they come, stay for a while and then leave again. Permanent guests in the apple orchard are many other insects and animals that are good for our trees. It is a complex system that works together and ultimately produces the valuable fruit.