Chill Hours

The last couple of years I’ve really enjoyed experimenting with growing fruit trees in our back yard. It’s been a fun learning curve. One concept that was new to me was “chill hours.” Chill hours are the cumulative hours of temps between 32-45 degrees in the winter that a tree needs in order to bear fruit the following year. Living in San Diego, our issue can be that we don’t get enough cold weather for fruiting. It can tricky to estimate chill hours here, since there is so much variation in temperature depending on how close you are to the coast and also altitude. The way around that is to choose low-chill varieties, such as this apricot tree. It didn’t fruit at all last year, so hopefully this year will be better; I’ll let you know.

What has also been interesting for me personally about chill hours, is that I now think of cold weather (ok, so it’s not really cold here in San Diego) differently. Now I find myself looking forward to the cold, because I know it is so important for a good crop next year. I suppose there are some metaphors here for other aspects of my life…

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