First vanilla buds of the year

first vanilla buds

first vanilla buds close

While the first vanil­la pods of the sea­son are com­ing in, the first flower buds are also appear­ing. Some of these spurts of new growth will result in new vines, branch­ing off of the mature vines, but most of these will form the flow­er­ing racemes. The ear­ly spring is when a lot of new growth occurs, and the vanil­la farmer (me) watch­es with some appre­hen­sion as the flow­er­ing racemes appear (or not!) deter­min­ing the size of the new season’s crop. In a week or so, the morn­ing rit­u­al of the hand pol­li­na­tion will begin.

The flow­er­ing sea­son of 2014 was light for us, sev­er­al areas nev­er went to flower, so the 2015 har­vest sea­son will be small.  One of the things we’ve learned about vanil­la is that while it will grow lush and green in the shade, it requires part sun to come to flower. As the for­est grows around the vines, they can end up in shade too deep to flower. This year, I cleared branch­es above and around the for­est trel­lis­es to let more light in. We’re hop­ing for a bet­ter flow­er­ing sea­son this year, and indeed it’s start­ing strong­ly.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *