May in the pecan orchard at Little Eva Plantation is abuzz with the orchard in full pecan bloom. There is nothing quite as beautiful than looking through the lush green of the pecan trees and the orchard floor this time of year. The pecan bloom for 2014 looks to be good. Most of the pecan trees have lots of catkins on them.
Pecan orchard in pecan bloom at Little Eva Plantation
Pecan trees produce two kinds of flowers. As a rule, the two types of flowers do not mature at the same time, so a tree usually cannot fertilize itself. So it is very important to match varieties in an orchard that can pollinate and fertilize each other. The catkins (male flowers) appear as long strings hanging from the limbs and release pollen. When the wind blows in gusts we have observed “yellow dust clouds” coming from the tree.
Catkins – the male flowers
The pistillate (female flowers) appear at the end of the pecan shoots. Stigmas on the female flowers are receptive to pollen when they are glossy. They are past receptivity when they begin to dry and turn brown. Not all female flowers will become a mature pecan. They may fall off if not pollinated or be aborted by the tree during stress periods such as heavy crop load or drought before reaching maturity.
Tiny female flowers past receptivity
Receptive female flowers
Stay tuned for updates on the current pecan growing season…another year as a pecan grower and I am still finding myself becoming ” nuttier than ever”.
Horse Print Socks For Sale In Our Retail Pecan Store Called The Nuthouse
Cute socks that have a matching night shirts can be seen at the Nuthouse. The Nuthouse is currently open Thursdays through Saturdays 9am to 5pm. Night shirt that matches these socks says “I need my booty sleep!” Come into our retail pecan store to check out these and other extremely cute items that make great gifts. Order our fresh pecans online and have them delivered directly to your house if you can’t wait to come in to our retail shop!
Pecan budbreak is apparent in the pecan orchard here at Little Eva Plantation. We first began noticing the buds swelling on the tips of the pecan limbs in late March and tiny bits of the green baby leaves started showing their appearance the first couple of days of this month. Each morning brings a noticeable progression of pecan leaf growth. Within the next seven to ten days the pecan orchard should be all green and beautiful again. The grass is already green under the trees as Mark has applied the first application of fertilizer for the 2014 pecan crop. In just a few days it will be time for the first fungicide application to help control pecan scab. It will also be important that an insecticide spray be applied at this time also to control pecan phylloxera. Phylloxera are tiny, aphid like critters that stimulate the formation of galls on the pecan leaves and shoots by feeding on the tender plant tissue early in the season. These insects are hard to see as they are so small but the damage they cause is easy to see – lots of green balls that can be so bad as to completely defoliate a tree if left untreated.
Louisiana Pecan Budbreak
Time flies as they say and if you are a pecan grower time travels at warp speed! Our 2013 pecan harvest was very good. The weather was decent which enabled us to get our pecan crop into the warehouse in a timely manner. Our walk-in pecan store retail business was very brisk and our mail order business showed a substantial increase in sales. The first two months of 2014 were very busy as this is the time when I dig out from under my stacks of paperwork, compile figures for the accountant, reflect on the recent business year, and access what our plan for the current year will consist of.
Who would have thought that Little Eva Plantation would see snow on four different occasions within the last six weeks. It will only be a few short weeks before pecan bud break. Our orchard crew is busy picking up limbs, cutting down any dead or diseased pecan trees, and burning the piles of limbs. We will be pruning the young trees that were planted last year and have around 100 new trees that will need to be planted this year…as always lots, lots, and more to do at this Nut Farm!
Here is a great article that was written a few months ago about how we utilize as much of our resources on the orchard to conserve.
“Conservation is making the most of what you’ve got,” said Mark Swanson. “We do our best to take care of the land, our trees, and our cattle—and we leave the rest to the man above.”
From Louisiana Conservation Magazine – January 2014 (1MB PDF) – How Natchitoches Pecans makes a little go a long way.
The way the pecan house phone has been ringing this week has reminded me of how busy last year was the week of Christmas!!! If this week is any indication of what is about to break loose for pecan gift orders I better call the North Pole to see if Santa can send me some of his elves to help us out. I would even offer to rent them from him – LOL! The ladies that work in our pecan store and packaging building are busy from the time they get to work until the lights go out when they leave. I have named them my “Pecan Elves” !
It is very important to get your pecan orders placed to ensure availability. Once our stash of scrumptious fresh pecans, pecan candies, pecan pralines, and pecan gift tins are depleted, customers that have waited too long to get their orders in will be disappointed to hear ” Sorry we are unable to fill your pecan order because we are SOLD OUT!”
Bye for now – gotta go get paper work ready for ship outs tomorrow…..
It’s here – Six days before Thanksgiving and only thirty three days before Christmas! If you have not gotten your fresh pecans for your holiday baking it is time to do so. There is a very good article by Forbes about why the pecan may be a bit pricier than last year. This article mentions Natchitoches Pecans and quotes Mark about taking care of our customers year in and year out. The link can be viewed online at http://www.forbes.com/sites/nadiaarumugam/2013/11/06/why-you-should-buy-pecans-for-your-thanksgiving-pie-now
Remember that you can shop from your chair by going to our secure online store 24/7 and browse our fresh pecan selections – In Shell Pecans – Cracked Pecans – Shelled Pecans – Pecan Gift Tins – Gourmet Flavored Pecans – Pecan Praline Combinations and Pecan Cookbooks. The 2013 pecan crop is shorter than anticipated and availability of top quality pecans will be gone soon. Our last day for shipping will be Dec 20 but orders shipping that date will need to have been placed by Dec 15th. Make everyone on your list happy by giving them the perfect gift – PECANS!
Our 2013 Natchitoches Pecans’ pecan harvest is underway. We have worked very hard all year tending our orchard. This year’s pecan crop at Little Eva Plantation looks to be good. It is not a limb breaking crop but most all the trees have some pecans on them. We would rather have a good crop year in and year out as this does not stress the trees like a limb breaking crop does.
Yesterday Oct 31 (Halloween) we had over 7 inches of rain within a few hours. We were in need of some rain but were a bit concerned when the rain kept falling and falling and falling. Thank goodness our pecan orchard is on high ground and drains very well. The weather is perfect today – Nov 1 – the sun is out and temperature is in the 70’s so all should be dry enough to resume pecan picking on Monday.
Check out our newest videos on our YouTube channel that shows Mark on the pecan shaker shaking trees. Or to see post of the pecan harvester picking pecans go to 2013 Louisiana Pecan Harvest. All for now … post again in a few days!
The 2013 pecan harvest at Little Eva Plantation is just around the corner. Mark has been busy cleaning the pecan orchard floor of pecan limbs that have broken from the heavy load of nuts on them. Limbs are always an ongoing chore that has to be done throughout the year. The orchard could still use a good rain that would help with opening of the pecan shucks as well as supplying the pecan trees with the water they need right up until harvest. The tractors, pecan harvesters, and the pecan shaker have all been serviced and are ready to go. The pecan warehouse equipment has been inspected and adjusted. All we are waiting on is the PECANS to open and fall.
Our retail store is filling up with lots of items for this holiday season. In addition to our delicious Louisiana grown pecans and gourmet flavored pecans, we have many unique gift items available in our store. So if you are in the area please stop by. You can also view our FACEBOOK page to view various items in the store as I post daily. You can also follow us on TWITTER and GOOGLE+.
The 2013 holiday season is fast approaching. We have been busy making decisions on what pecan gift choices will be available for this holiday season.
Our trademark gold logo pecan gift tin in a 1 lb or 2 lb size makes a great corporate gift or individual gift for that special someone. This season we are adding a new color tin – a bright metallic red. The gold Fleur de Lis label added to the top of the gift tin adds a touch of elegance. This pecan gift tin will be available in the 1 lb or 2 lb size.
Stay tuned for more updates of what’s to come for this holiday season!
Pecan Gift Tins