|A kumquat grower in Tứ Liên Ward, Tây Hồ District, Hà Nội. — Photo laodongthudo.vn
HÀ NỘI — Local growers in Hà Nội have tried to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic and are hoping to have a good year-end flower crop, with only two months left until the Tết (Lunar New Year) holidays.
Hoàng Văn Hoan, a local grower in Đan Phượng District, said although he and other growers were worried about the yield of the year-end flower crop due to the pandemic’s impact, they had still grown flowers to serve the market.
However, growers have carefully calculated a reduction in the area to plant the flowers and select flowers with lower costs compared to previous years to limit risks, he said.
Nguyễn Thị Hạnh, a local grower in Mê Linh District, which is believed to be the major flower supplier of the city, said local growers were worrying about the demand for flowers.
The pandemic has greatly affected the income of many families, she said. “Therefore, the demand for flowers and ornamental plants is predicted to decrease compared to the previous years.”
However, local growers have still planted many flowers to serve the demand for the Tết holidays.
“We hope that the pandemic has been well controlled so that we can earn profits to have money to re-invest for the next flower crop,” she said.
Phạm Thành Đô, head of the district’s Economic Office, said the district administration has directed local growers to reduce the area of growing flowers compared to previous years because it fears that the pandemic would affect demand at the end of this lunar year.
The district also advised local growers to plant more vegetables to food demand during Tết, he said.
Besides, the district has supported local growers to apply science and technology to improve flower quality, he added.
The main flowers that the district will provide to the market are roses, daisies and peach, he said.
According to local growers, the area to grow flowers in flower villages in Mê Linh District and Đan Phượng District has been reduced by nearly half because of the pandemic, while costs of labour, seeds and fertiliser are higher than previous years, the Lao động thủ đô (Labour and Capital) online newspaper reported.
The local growers also said due to the complex development of the pandemic, it is not easy to calculate the time to sow the seeds, take care and make the flowers to timely bloom on the Tết.
Currently, local growers now have quickly taken agricultural techniques to ensure that the flowers not only have good quality but also bloom on the occasion of Tết.
Đỗ Văn Thế, a peach grower, who owns nearly 500 peach trees in Nhật Tân Ward, Tây Hồ District, said he has quickly plucked the peach tree leaves to ensure the peach flowers bloom in time for Tết.
“Taking care of the trees and plucking leaves are the most decisive steps to make the flowers bloom on Tết,” he said.
"The time to pluck the leaves will be different depending on the type of peach tree."
For peach trees with large roots, the leaves should be plucked about 50-60 days before Tết, while for peach trees with small roots, the leaves should be plucked about 30-40 days before, he said.
"After plucking leaves, growers will take care of the trees to ensure they bloom on Tết, based on the weather conditions. If the weather is warm for a long time, we should give the trees less water to prolong the life of the buds," he said.
"If the weather is cold for a long time, we should do the opposite, especially using nitrogen fertilisers to promote the bloom."
Đỗ Văn Phúc, who has 30 years of experience growing peach trees, said he has hired more labourers to pluck the leaves and water the trees to ensure the trees flower on time.
As normal, about the middle of December in the lunar calendar, merchants will go to the peach garden to buy or rent the peach trees, he said.
Phúc also said that despite the impacts of the pandemic, the price of peach trees is forecast to not fluctuate much.
"It costs several millions of đồng for a large-trunk peach tree that is 1m in height while the 1.5-2m in height tree costs dozens of millions," he said.
In Quảng Bá Ward, Tây Hồ District, kumquat growers are also busily shaping the trees before selling them for Tết. Some growers plant the kumquat trees in big jars or make the trees in bonsai shape to serve diverse demands.
Lê Hồng, a kumquat grower in the ward, said he shaped the trees using small wires, and that shaping the trees was the most important step in creating their beauty. — VNS