NFU Mutual Smallholding Insurance

Author Topic: Olives  (Read 1974 times)

sunnyjohn

  • Joined Jul 2008
  • Milton Keynes
Olives
« on: June 10, 2009, 11:17:03 pm »
Well, in our changing climate, and with an embryonic vineyard about to happen, it was a logical thing to try. Linda and I did some homework, and found most varieties are at least partly self-fertile. So we could get away with just one. Two or more would be nice, but have you seen the price? One will do, my dear. It'll probably die the first winter, anyway. It's not that I'm a pessimist; more a realist.

So we got it last spring and pot it in a large pot, with the best compost mix we could concoct. I forget, now, but I remember mixing decent potting compost, sharp sand and some lime powder, according to a recipe I found in some vague corner of the internet. They apparently favour lime but are very tolerant of a wide variety of soil composition and chemistry. They doo like free draining soil, and don't like to be waterlogged. Being on a clay soil at home, we opted for a large container. This also means we can trundle it into the greenhouse in the depths of winter, though increasingly that may need a fork-lift truck.

The first year it grew well, and added about 20% of growth. They are evergreen, so I expected some leaf-drop, but essentially it should stay covered. It grew plenty of flowers, and even quite a few olives, though they never reached what I expected for a normal size. But it looked nice and was a conversation topic.

As winter progressed, it seemed to be holding its' own, and we didn't feel the need to bring it indoors into the greenhouse. The presence of numerous grape cuttings and seed-trays did rather limit space in there, anyway.... But that's another story. And then, just as winter seemed to have ended, the olive seemed unwell. It lost about 10% of its' leaves, and many more seemed browned, while there was no new growth. That's it! It's dying!

I consulted a friend at the allotments who, like me, likes growing less common things. He, too, has a few grape vines, and he also has an olive tree. But he's Sicilian, and has an excuse. I'm just odd. OK, I know it.... Anyway, he showed me HIS olive was doing exactly the same thing. And he had swathed his in fleece and talked to it lovingly. So my hunch that the chemistry was wrong, or it was over- or under-watered, or some other dastardly error, was suddenly less obvious. So we both hung on and waited, my Sicial friend and I.

Patience is rewarded. Both our trees are now positively blooming. Both have another 20% of new growth, lots of the appealing, soft-green leaves, numerous bunches of flower-buds, and 'vigorous habit', as they say. We're both aiming to strike cuttings this year to get a few more trees for cros-pollination and as 'reserves' lest the parent succumb, as well as to increase the potential yield. And I've been taking lessons in how to 'pickle' the olives (you can't eat them off the tree; they taste vile), or press them for olive oil. Apparently, the grape press we're looking into might be useable for olives, too, though we could end up with one for each, to avoid cross-contamination of flavours.

I'll keep you posted...

John & Linda
Voss Electric Fence

pegusus pig

  • Joined Feb 2009
  • Anglesey, North wales
Re: Olives
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2009, 11:32:29 pm »
Please do, same as you I'm into anything diffrent from the ordinary and after a lot of searching and ohhing and awrring at the prices i have at last got one for my birthday (Tesco's £20) I will gratefully receive any tips or advice on how others are doing and what i should be doing to keep her healthy.
Emma. :) :)

doganjo

  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Clackmannanshire
  • Qui? Moi?
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Re: Olives
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2009, 12:31:35 am »
I guess an 'Olive' tree just has to be a 'she' ;) ;D ;D ;D
Always have been, always will be, a WYSIWYG - black is black, white is white - no grey in my life! But I'm mellowing in my old age

sunnyjohn

  • Joined Jul 2008
  • Milton Keynes
Re: Olives
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2009, 08:29:36 am »
I guess an 'Olive' tree just has to be a 'she' ;) ;D ;D ;D


 :D ;D ::) Love it! Spot on! I guess we ought to plant spinach nearby for Popeye...? Just a thought, not a culturing recommendation.... 8)   John

pegusus pig

  • Joined Feb 2009
  • Anglesey, North wales
Re: Olives
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2009, 12:25:04 pm »
he he, got spinach growing on the veg plot and just named a pony popeye, poor little mite just been dropped on me hes so scared his eyes are out on starks. Will just have to watch he doesn't eat olive or the spinach.  ;D

 

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