How to grow and gather dates in Israel
• How to grow and gather dates in Israel
Today we tell about the full cycle of works on a date plantation. Why date? The plant is a little-known Russian-speaking audience, but it is very interesting and deserves special attention. I try, to the best of my small way, to describe the annual cycle of works on care of trees as well as interesting information about this wonderful palm.
To begin with, what is happening these days in the palm plantation. All that will be presented here, only refers to South Arabia and to the varieties grown here. And then, on each farm business is conducted in different ways.
In these days ends with a series of works to remove the spikes. The handle Palm reaching 3 meters (or more) of length close to the trunk and the leaves are underdeveloped represent a sharp and long spikes. Spikes will interfere with further work and, therefore, they are removed at the beginning of the season. In the photo seen sepal future of the inflorescence. In the near future it will be necessary to work on it and the spikes, if not removed, would interfere.
Spikes these tough and extremely sharp! There are rumors of poison, supposedly located on the thorns. Really painful wounds, but could be due to contamination from dirt on thorns or broken off the end, remaining in the depth of the wound.
The work done at the level of the crown and is to remove the spikes with a heavy knife. The work is simple, but requires some skill and a lot of patience - there are many hundreds of trees. Tractor work on three of them, in this case, there is one pupil, for an 8-hour working day time to handle about 40 trees. After finishing work, moving to the next palm. Pay attention to the tractor - machine deserves a separate story.
In this case, the work on the plantation dates grade Dekel nur (دڤلة النور - Deglet Nour in Arabic). It can be translated as date light, although NUR in Arabic is not just light and flame, high heat. "Correct," the fruit of this species is X-rayed at the lights and even visible inside the bone. Many of those who grow dates, prefer dressing nur all other varieties. On the palate, it is not very sweet, with a special aroma and taste. But the market is now looking madzhul grade (Madjoul -مجدول), large and fleshy fruit. After removal of inflorescences spikes can start collecting for pollen production. But first a few words about propagation of date palm.
Palma - the plant is dioecious, and heterosexual, ie male and female flowers are on different trees (houses). From the point of view of evolution, it is the best way to avoid self-pollination and thus achieve better quality offspring, avoiding intrafamily relationships. There is an exchange of genes and preserved the integrity of the species. On a date, there are vestiges of colors, showing that earlier they were bisexual.
When growing figs, success will be achieved when the people will transfer pollen from the male flowers to female. Only then will be able to develop high-grade fruit in sufficient quantities. The nature of the pollen carried by the wind. Pollen of the plant leaves when it about 50% water and during flight loses moisture. Getting on wet pistil female tsvetka- sprouts and tied fruit.
Tamarind is not very adapted to pollination by wind - Pollen is not very easy and pestle small. Thus, the transfer of pollen by wind and it hit on the pistil, difficult. But from a botanical point of view of a successful date plant, it grows in the wide area and successfully breeds, including spikes.
There is evidence that 3000 years ago, people understood the need for pollination and did it bringing inflorescence of male flowers to the female. But only in the 20th century, we have learned how to collect and store pollen. Pollen Tamarind - a product, which involved a lot, it has a price and demand. The methods of quality control of pollen and the buyer knows what he is buying and what results to expect.
Thus, it is possible to produce the work of pollination for a full working day, not to depend on the time of flowering and pollen availability and readiness for pollination of female flowers.
Tamarind pollen can cause allergies. Can not get used to it. At the time of flowering, in this case it is recommended to move away from the plantation. Over the years, the percentage of people who suffer from allergies is increasing. The amount of pollen from the tree grows with the age and reaches a maximum of 20-30 years and can reach a kilogram or more. 1 liter pollen weighs 600 grams, has a billion per gram (approximately) pollen beads, one inflorescence produces 30-60 billion, and flower - 1, 5 million. After pollination of air per dunam 70 billions upon use of 1 sq. mm. It falls to 70 grains. After boring statistics, see how the collection of inflorescences.
Inflorescence that bind to pollen does not shattered. Each individually. Inflorescences appear not at the same time, so to each tree must be dealt 2-3. Reveal buds carefully removed to pollen does not shattered, and fold into the bucket.
Note - spines on the branch would close access to the inflorescence. It looks like the male inflorescence of a date palm tree near.
After removal of the spikes and collect pollen from the male trees, it's time to pollination.
Before pollination, it is necessary to collect and transfer the florets in an enclosed space, preferably 2-3 hours. Pollen, taken from the tree is "vskhazhivaemost" about 80-90%, and 50-60% humidity. While there is humidity, pollen can quickly deteriorate, it is necessary to quickly dry and thus preserve the ability of fertilization. The nature of the pollen immediately begins his journey in search of female inflorescences, and therefore almost no time to deteriorate.
Furthermore - they are hang to dry in a closed room
The inflorescences already reveal the flowers put in the bucket, so as not to lose the pollen
The room should be warm and dry to quickly dehydrate pollen but do not spoil it by overheating. If the flowers are not disclosed in this time, it is obvious pollens spoiled them. This is caused by usually genetics of this plant. Palm trees that do not meet this condition will be deleted.
pollen production. Machine for the mechanical separation of pollen performs two functions - the release of pollen from the open flowers and its screening. In hot and dry climates pollen ready for use on the exit of the device. So it looks like:
In the photo we see the car, like a home clothes dryer and operating on the same principle, then - cyclone extractor to collect pollen and beneath the cone - box for collecting pollen. After that, the pollen falls out into the bucket, the machine is released from the used inflorescences and ready to continue. It looks like pollen on the exit of the machine. In the picture it is not visible, but there are the remains of inflorescences which have to delete another.
Drying pollen. Typically, the output of the car pollen is not dry enough. Dry pollen is determined by touching her with his hands. Dry pollen spilling through his fingers very quickly, almost like spilled water. Wet, slipping into lumps, leaves on the finger to feel cool. Of course, sometimes you have to send a check to the pollen in the laboratory to make sure that everything is in order and our senses do not deceive us.
For drying pollen spread in a thin layer on the paper absorbs moisture and dried. Dry pollen sifted again, as seen in the photo.
pollen storage. Not all of the collected pollen immediately goes into action. The freezer can be stored until the next pollen season. She certainly lose its quality, but also the order of 50% germination rate considered acceptable. Dry, in theory, can be stored in a closet on the shelf, but it is better not to risk it. In North Africa, pollen varieties Madzhul, long kept in caves. But this variety is not particularly picky about the quality of pollen.
In this refrigerator pollen stored at minus 18 deg. Each box has a plastic cup with holes. The glass has a CaCl2. The substance is not stable and tends to attach two water molecules and thereby maintain a dry pollen.
The last thing left is to cook pollen and spray. First of all, pollen is mixed with talc, it is to increase the volume and the weakening of the action. Adding a small amount of coal dust to impart "stress" ready mix. In the bucket, such a mixture behaves like a liquid. It looks like the machine for mixing.
The volume must be increased because for every tree needs about 6 grams of pollen, and the greater the volume, the easier it is to manage the process. Lower concentration of pollen fertilizes the flowers less and get less fruit, but of a larger size. So, we kill two flies with one blow.
Pollination in this case, the mechanical fan is able to pick up the pollen of up to 20 meters in height, directing its flow to the crown of palm trees.
In this image you can see the opened inflorescences longer and more closed. So it is necessary to pollinate a few taps. By the way, before it was decided to plant male trees in line, by the wind. Wind in the nature of the function of pollination. At a ratio of about 1 to 20. In the photo visible line of trees, in our case, on the north side, ie. K. Arava winds blow mainly from the north. Today, planted trees of different sexes separately. So, 2 years ago, it has been planted at the same time in 2400 on a separate female trees plantation, without a male tree.
The man cultivates dates about 6000 years. Date palm fruit feature in a large percentage of sugars on one tree may be of the order of 100 kg sugar (fruit). Clearly, according to this indicator the date palm is in first place in the world of plants. Phenicia not only a supplier of energy, but carbohydrates. In practice, the ancient people who lived in the desert, completely dependent on this fruit.
It features a date in a long period of maturation, up to 200 days, and that the fruit after ripening on the tree remains and dries it, thus achieving a better safety. Another feature - the fetus is growing at its base, as if pushing the ready squares up and building new bottom-up.
The fruit of the date palm, regardless of grade, will never reach their full potential if you do not reduce the amount of the ovaries usually during pollination. The maximum size of a fruit you get when you leave only a tenth of flowers or ovaries, and is based on 50% of success in pollination. So, all of the resources provided to the palm fruits would get fewer fruits, but in a larger size. Of course, this rule works to a certain limit, and the fruit can not be increased indefinitely. The bottleneck in the truest sense of the word, are branches and petioles. To perform this operation it is necessary to once again climb up to the tree crown
The more flowers in the inflorescence, the larger the cross-section of the stem and thus more resource tree can bring the fruits. Therefore, thinning depends on the size of the inflorescence. On a larger inflorescence can leave more of the ovaries.
Palm fruit grows at night when the tree does not evaporate the water and there is a sufficient turgor pressure. The amount of water and minerals produced during ripening tree thus are critical for the successful development of fruit.
Thinning can occur in several ways - reducing the percentage of fertilization of flowers, reducing the number of stalks with flowers or thinning flowers on stalks. It decided to work in two ways - reducing the number of stalks or \ and a decrease in the percentage vskhazhivaemosti pollen. Last received mainly in grade madzhul and is the cheapest, but not the exact way to reduce the number of fetuses. In practice, these two methods are combined.
Typically, in the case of mechanical thinning portion is removed and the remaining stalks shorter in length.
Eating pollen weakened the cheapest way to reduce the amount of fruit, but also the most inaccurate and poorly predictable. There have been attempts to subject radiation exposure pollen loosening thus its vskhazhivaemost and spray from an aircraft. Theoretically, no other work to do more thinning is not supposed to - on the inflorescence should have stayed the required amount of the ovaries. The problem in this way - the relationship between the radiation dose and the percentage of non-defective pollen. In practice, it is impossible to get consistent results and, in turn, calculate the parameters of pollination. And the use of the aircraft is not cheap, especially if we take into account that not all the flowers open at the same time and the process may take time. Theoretically, the decimation can be carried out up until the fruit reaches the size of about 1 cm. Therefore, there is relatively little time to finish the job. Thinning - the most critical and time-consuming process for all the time of fruit ripening. There are many studies and the positive results of how to make this work, but nevertheless, each plantation to make corrections and also work on the basis of experience.
Let's see how this happens in practice
In the picture above we see the removal of the hard shell covering the inflorescence. We already know that in Hebrew is called מתחל, Ashkenazi Jews supposed to do the accent on the last syllable - mathAl. Please do not be confused!
Now cut the inflorescence at its middle. Thus we reduce the length of lead "pipes" to the fruits
On the top tier of the inflorescence stalks reserve 60 and 20 fruits on each
As you can see, each inflorescence is necessary to accurately count the required number of stalks.
After that we counted 20 flowers on one inflorescence and trimmed along its length. Let's hope that everything is correct on average. On the bottom tier reserve approximately 10-12 colors and 40 stalks.
The fruit during ripening are gaining more weight than nature calculated to create a palm tree. Therefore, the petiole attaches the rope to the next branch to the weight comes on it too. At the same time, the petiole bends so that a bunch of hanging down. The picture shows how the tree looks like after the procedure.
Such a situation cluster facilitates the subsequent coating mesh bags. What is it, we will tell later.
Now let's see how to perform tying.
The stalk with the bunch of ducks down, fixing it in this position, tie a rope to a nearby branch. It seems simple and easy, but in fact, this is one of the toughest jobs on the plantation. The branch is very hard for her stooping and retention need a lot of strength. Plus, add summer warming after 9am the sun was already baking seriously. It is necessary to bend with force, but gently, otherwise short-lived and break. In the following photo is visible orange thread tied around the bunch. We have not seen her before, when she was tied and why? During thinning inflorescence stalks strapped elastic thread to hold them tightly and to facilitate the work at the time of tying - less fruits cling to neighboring branches during prigibaniya.
On the plantation uses two harvesting technologies: automated and manual. To manually need to bend the branches and to put on a bunch of bags. When mechanized harvesting stalks with fruits on the contrary, rises to the top and, bending back to the side, put on the next branch for even weight distribution.
During operation, there is not fertile florets, this belt has a pruner. All unnecessary removed.
Another look at properly mated bunch.
By the way, the girl in the pictures, is not operated by a refugee from Africa, and not an army reserve officer. After his discharge from the army and before the traditional journey to the East, I decided to earn a little bit and just help (this is not the best place for earnings).
Next we will learn how to collect varieties of fruits Madzhul in southern Arabia for the specific source of the product. I will try to explain why so many reservations.
First - the goods. This is a relatively recent fashion market - wet madzhul (מג'ול לח). Instead of the usual 15-20% humidity, the fruits are supplied to the market with 30% humidity. Wet the fruit is soft and much more difficult to obtain a high quality finished product. It is much easier to work with dried fruits, but the market can not argue ... Sort and place also impose limitations. Therefore, this entry relates only to the farmers in Yotvata and Samar. And between them there is a difference.
It looks like a tree in the middle of August. Fruit on one bunch ripen unevenly, depending on various conditions, a difference of up to 3 - 4 weeks. Because we want the fruit of only a certain degree of readiness, to each tree should be approached 5-6 times, collecting the fruit only the required quality. Technique used here is unique and is only applicable in these kibbutzim.
installed on the lifting platform "wings" cover the crown of the palm 360 degrees. After that, gently shake the tree and ripe fruits fall between the outer and inner cone funnel is not a conveyor belt.
The fruits falling stretched canvas and rubber belt, almost no damage. Thereafter, dates distribute a thin layer of boxes. The platform is lowered, with the fruits of the boxes are unloaded, take their place empty - and forward to the new labor successes.
So look for the driver. The tractor is operated from the platform.
It looks like a vibrator. He grabs the tree trunk, the upper bracket is lowered, belts loosened and the vibrator works without transmitting vibration is not a tractor. By the way, the platform at ground level it is impossible to leave. Curious donkeys to immediately climb and devour all covered with rubber parts, which can then they lack for metabolism. But today they are in the fence, so you can relax.
Because of the heat, the work is done at night, from 8 pm to 8 am. After this only works sorting and packing. But more on that later.
In the morning we go and see at the same time and other plantation workers.
Today weed plantations made using donkeys. Despite the fact that they are donkeys, they are in the maturation dates realize that gather figs fall from the tree easier and tastier, and cease to do their essential work. While cleaning is necessary to control weeds by spraying ...
Now we begin to change at 8pm. It's dark and cool enough. But during the operation has not been easy, I am from 8 to midnight drank about 3 liters of water. Otherwise, the body is dehydrated, and long before the dropper in the waiting room. Although, it is each his own way.
It looks romantic, agree. I personally do not like the night shift, but it is the best night's work I've ever done. For lovers of photography is not the best conditions. Full of dust, and if you value your technique, it is best not to get.
During revolve around dozens of bats, they feed on insects attracted by the light of a searchlight. For them (mice) is a true celebration of harvest. At the same time they are struggling with moths and cicadas, pests on plantations. On the day of the mouse on the fly "overnight" in the crevices of rocks in Jordan and to the west, in the mountains of the Negev.
By increasing the image you see dust on the lens, one disorder.
These add up the finished product and take away the empty boxes to continue.
Finally, a few words about cleaning technology, its pros and cons. Plus - it is a minimum of people, at least the physical work, work is progressing relatively quickly. Minus - lost about 15% of the crop. Often simply falls to the ground to donkeys, is often damaged during mechanical harvesting. Large investments in machinery, its repair and maintenance. Why, then, this method has been chosen? Despite the loss, the labor costs less and justify the cost of the lost crop. To find, train and support a large group of people for a couple of months collecting in these places is not an easy task.
As on other farms? It decided to cover clusters of mesh bags. Ripe fruit fall into the bag 100% efficiency. But it works well in the case of dry madzhulya to collect wet, remove the bag, manually select from a bunch of dates desired condition and put the bag back in the bunch. A lot of work, a lot of attention and diligence. Of course, when it is done hands Thais or refugees from Africa, you do not think about it.
To relieve stress after work - doing tricks with a flashlight
After harvesting the fruit comes the turn of circumcision leaves. First, try to understand why it is done. At the same time a little acquainted with the structure of this common species in the country.
Hanging down and sticking out on the sides of the palm leaves prevent mechanical wood processing. People working on the platform, must have sufficient space around the trunk. It looks like a plantation of dates during the works. But first let us turn to the structure of the tree.
At the end of each branch is a terminal bud (terminal bud or apical bud). At the end of the kidney is the meristem, the parent tissue responsible for the growth of the tree. Date palm is composed of one branch (trunk) at its end is a bud from which sprout leaves and flowers.
buds color cream-white, soft to the touch and elastic. Kidney cells are rich in sugar and amilanom. In countries where they grow figs, kidney date palm is considered a delicacy. Naturally, no one kills for the sake of this tree, used palm shoots are removed in the process of growing trees and care for her.
Kidney is arranged so that its lower part, producing stem cells, builds them the same size. Therefore, the trunk of the palm does not vary in diameter as it grows. However, the shortage of supply, the barrel can be narrowed and then go back to the previous size. The number of conducting channels in a trunk power without changing their diameter decreases. Thus, it is possible to determine on the palm, whether she had a problem in growth for the period of her life.
The kidney is very well protected against external influences. Is not affected by weather conditions, pests, and even after the fire on the plantation kidney remains intact. The majority of plants is damaged kidney growth, it will replace the new, from the side. At a date no such privilege - damage to the kidneys lead to tree death. Therefore, the date palm is the champion of the plant world by the degree of renal protection. It is located at a depth of 70 cm from the top and is protected at the sides by thick leaf base. During the day the kidneys temperature ranges plus or minus one degree! And it at about 30 degrees temperature drops in winter time, the temperature is constant within the kidney - 18 deg.
stem tissues grow from top to bottom, as the kidney would move upward, leaving behind a palm tree trunk. Inside the kidneys of adult tree are leaf buds, which will be born only after 4 years. stem cells remain bottom and the young leaves are growing up. The angle at which the leaves grow in relation to other leaves permanent and is a genetic characteristic of each species. When a germ breaks up, stem base remains inside the tree. The base of the stem is constructed of durable fabrics, superimposed crosswise. This fabric width of 60 cm spans a base stems. The top of the palm like a broom, where the branches wrapped with a durable fabric, as if attached to its end. When the sheet grows downward fabric dries, leaving behind a ring of disheveled and dry filaments. When the fabric is weakened, branches under its own weight start to fall down.
At the kidney are about 100 embryos and leaves each year outwardly out of order 30. Location branches, phyllotaxis, the same for each species. On the date palm has three spiral three successively growing leaf short circle of 120 degrees. between them. Incidentally, the spiral can be left or right. The difference in the life of the palm is not playing.
Now that we are little acquainted with the structure of the date palm, it is clear that there are leaves begin to fall down and prevent us to carry out works in the crown of the tree. Older leaves are removed, leaving the leaves are at an angle of 45 degrees. and less. Such pruning rules give us the order of 60-70 leaves. It decided to leave around 75, but experiments have shown that in the south of the country, due to the high solar radiation is sufficient, and 60 leaves. During the year, added to them yet about 30 young people.
This is done like this. Run by two people. One branch bends, another cut away.
Saw is powered by the tractor's hydraulic system. The mechanism is lightweight and powerful, but "tied" to the tubes. Petiole peduncle much stronger and covered with that same mesh shell that attaches to the tree stability. They saw not take, we need another approach - this time with a hydraulic shears, which cope well with the job. they are not suitable for soft green branches. In addition, the stalk is above left on the branches of a tree, and a pair of scissors but it is more convenient to reach them. It is a pity that no one tool suitable for most.
Leaves after trimming throw to the ground
Then the leaves are harvested so that's mechanical rakes to the center
For lovers of Hebrew, this mechanism is called מגוב. Time passes, the leaves dry up
Comes all this infernal machine. Dust is a pillar, and is sometimes seen for kilometers! On the longitudinal axis in the machine spinning blades that break down dead leaves and turn them into a straw.
After this "straw" is collected in large packs, such as those that are often seen in photos of harvested wheat fields - cylindrical or rectangular (depending on the machine).