Surprising benefit: high fat nut reduces risk of heart disease. Antioxidant Vitamin E, monounsaturated fats, fibers, other phytonutrients together reduce LDL blood cholesterol. Moderate eating (2-3 servings weekly) may help control weight. Also rich in magnesium (improves blood flow) and potassium (needed for neural firing and muscle contraction). When salt is absent, monounsaturated fats, magnesium and potassium prevent arterial plaque buildup, control blood pressure and improve heart performance. Several ounces reduce blood sugar, reducing demand on insulin-producing cells in pancreas. Also provide energy, help prevent gallstones and supply protein for building body structures. Almond skins give flavonoids with Vitamin E to enhance antioxidant action. Like all nuts, especially walnuts, promote good health. Eat a handful a day.
Vitamin and Mineral Content
Vitamins – E, B2 (Riboflavin)
Minerals – Manganese, Magnesium, Copper and Phosphorus
Lowers risk of cardiovascular disease, gall bladder disease and diabetes.
How to Grow
Grow similar to peaches. Tree spreads 20-30 feet. Dwarf variety spreads half that size. Choose among several cultivars. Consult nursery for which grows best in your location. Most popular is full-size, “all-in-one” cultivar: self-pollinating, high yielding, great tasting. Most popular dwarf is “Garden Prince” cultivar: self-pollinating and small enough to grow in containers. All produce delightful flowers in bloom. Best time to plant is early in year when cooler temperatures prevent leaf growth and tree puts most of its energy into root expansion. Requires lighter loam, nutrient-rich soil with great drainage. Choose plot with full sunlight, few or no late-spring frosts, soil pH 6-6.5. Dig hole deep enough for taproot to fit undisturbed. Soften soil around the hole if needed to give roots pathways to grow and correct drainage issues. Carefully place tree in hole to avoid root damage. Fill with soil dug out while mixing in handfuls of organic matter (planting mix, compost or well-aged manure). Don’t add too much or roots will remain in hole, making tree top heavy and vulnerable to blowing down. Mulch a few inches of compost or other material containing humus around the tree (not flush with base). Consider staking first year if tree grows tall before trunk thickens, especially if prevailing winds get strong. Water regularly first year to keep soil moist but not water logged. In dry, warm weather water longer to reach deeper soil. Ready for harvest after fruit surrounding almond, called drupe, dries out and cracks, revealing almond seed inside. Refer to Peaches for pruning after season ends. Three years needed for almond production but can continue for 50 years!
Insect Control: Many different pests affect nut trees, none lethal. Encourage resilience by cultivating healthiest possible tree. Control leaf-eating caterpillars by hand or use Bt if needed.
Look to buy tree with straight trunk and slight widening at base. Look for branches well gapped and evenly spaced throughout trunk. When choosing where to grow, avoid location that has history of standing water. During flowering, do not water branches, which interferes with pollination and risks disease.