Planting new Olive Trees
As part of the farm plan to increase the amount of olives and grapes that we can harvest, we felt it was the right time to start adding some new olive trees. We decided that adding 200 new trees every year would be enough work for us to handle in the winter time, in between the other farm projects and work, and adding our trees in this way would slowly but steadily increase our olive crop yield.
Reducing the risk of olive tree disease
Adding the trees over time would also limit the financial risk incase any of the olive diseases that are becoming more prevalent in Europe would make us lose the trees, rather we lose the small amount we have planted, than to have planted 500 in the first year and lose them all. We all hope that the organically cared for environment around us will keep the spittlebugs that carry the worst olive tree diseases at bay as their natural predators keep their numbers low, however we have seen many millions of trees lost in the south of Italy, so the risk is always there.
Which Olive Tress to buy
As we want to make single mono type oils in the future, it was decided to create new areas of the olives that we felt would create great mono oils, so not blended, each of these oils from a specific tree type give particular flavours and taste and are interesting both when used in cooking or creating amazing olive oil related dishes.
We chose to plant 30% Leccino, 30% Frantoio, 30% Moraiolo trees and as the pollinator trees, as some types of olive trees need the assistance of pollinator trees, 10% Pendolino trees.
In order to work in and around the olive trees, for grass cutting, fertilising, pruning and harvesting, space is needed, around our current trees this space is 6m x 6m, giving ample room between trees to both work and make sure there is enough air and light for all the trees.
As the soil in the area where the trees will be planted had been compacted over the years, it was time to get it ready for the new trees, which, given soft soil would find it easier to start getting their roots out there. This was done using ‘Red’ our tractor, and a ripper, with 9 blades, this was pulled through the earth, breaking up the compaction down to around 50cm, allowing water to penetrate the surface, and allowing nutrients to get further down into the soil.
Buying BIO certified virus free Olive trees can be difficult, we found from local friends and businesses that the best trees were from vivai alviano bonelli