We’re a couple of months into the harvest by now, and the beans are coming in strong. It’s been a season that starts early and ramps up slowly. The same is happening with the flowers: we got our first buds in late January, and although we’re pollinating every day, the number of flowers we’re seeing has increased slowly since then.
Unseasonably Dry Year
This year has brought an unusual period of dry weather, which is affecting everything around the homestead. Young vanilla plants are especially vulnerable and several columns in the new vanillery have suffered setbacks and failed to grow. We’re taking the unusual step of having to hand water to keep things growing. Mature vanilla plans are quite drought-resistant, but these new guys are having a hard time developing the essential feeder roots needed for that kind of robustness.
In the main vanillery, insect pests that usually don’t pose much of a problem are setting up shop and doing some damage. We’re taking care of that, but being an organic grower means that what we need to do takes more work and time. It’s all about gentle and persistent measures when you work with nature.
Yes, It’s Looking Great
Despite the challenges, in general the vanillery is thriving and healthy, plenty of beans to harvest for this year and the flower buds are everywhere, signaling another good crop in 2023.
19 thoughts on “The 2022 Harvest Season is Looking Great!”
Hi, I grow a few vanilla vines on the northshore. Just started sweating about 2 lbs of beans using your guidelines. Only I’m using a water heated towel warmer in place of an ice chest, have it set at 115 degrees. I’m in my 3rd day, beans are brown, soft and moist but not sticky. Do I have a problem ? Any advice. Thanks. Andy
No, sounds good. How did you “kill” your beans? If you put them in the freezer, then at first, there will be a lot of moisture that is mostly water. This will be gone in 4–5 days as you’re giving the beans some dry time every day. Beans that were killed in hot water don’t release as much moisture, so it has a thicker consistency.
Thanks, I had my beans in the freezer till all beans were harvested, then thawed them in water as per your suggestions. Now in my 5th day of sweating. When should the aroma of the beans change to more vanilla smell.
The vanilla aroma develops slowly over the course of the curing process. After 5 days, it’s won’t really smell like vanilla yet.
Thanks, I’m now in my 11th day of sweating. You indicate it takes about 18 days to complete the sweat, what am I looking for on my beans to know the sweat is done.
I always keep the beans in the sweat for at least 18 days, this is to ensure that the largest beans have enough time. You can go longer, I sometimes go 2 or 3 days more, but usually it’s just 18 days, then I move them to the open air drying racks.
I guess a more direct answer to your question is that I don’t look for any indication that they are “done” I just give them the time.
Andy, after two weeks in the sweat box the beans smell musty and leathery but no vanilla. After another couple of weeks of the drying process they start to smell like vanilla. This intensifies over the next two months of curing and it becomes intoxicating. I keep my beans in corked test tubes and take them out, massage them, and let them breathe every few weeks.
That’s great, sounds like things are going well with your curing!
How can one get vanilla extract
We’ve got extract for sale in our store.
Hawaiian Vanilla Extract
Thank you for all the great information!
I notice ants on my racemes. They appear not to harm the raceme or the flowers. Should I leave them alone or are they detrimental to the health of my vanilla plants.
It’s pretty common to see ants on the racemes, and mostly it’s not a problem, but it is possible they are farming other insects which can be damaging, such as mealybugs. It’s a good idea to check every once in a while in place like under leaves or in places that are well protected and hard to see for insects taking up residence.
Is it possible to do a vist / tour on a Saturday.
Sorry, no we only lead tours on Fridays, tomorow is booked, so the next opportunity for a tour is July 8, between 12:30 and 4 is open.
Hi Roland, it’s been awhile since I posted but you have been an amazing resource for me here on Oahu doing a backyard hobby grow.
Starting to harvest the first of this years beans as they barely begin to crack, trying the freezer method this time.
Different question. I had some beans from 2 years ago (No flowers in 2021) and I pureed 10 of them into a quart of vodka and jarred it. It’s been a week and it looks good, and smells good. But, no where online have I noted anyone doing extract like this and wonder what the negatives to it are. Seems like in 2 weeks the extract will be more potent than the extracts I soaked for months with possibly more beans.
Thanks for any of your insights.
We don’t puree the vanilla to make extract. We’ve tried it and in the long run, it doesn’t extract more efficiently, and it makes it much harder to strain the beans out when it’s ready. If you’re getting good results, you’ve got something you can use, that’s great…but if it was better than the usual methods, I’d expect it to be more commonly used, since it would be so simple and quick.
Appreciate the insights. I suspected something like that since I found nothing in online literature mentioning it.
I’ll see how it filters with a gold coffee filter in about a week.