Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Making plans

Deciding which olive varieties to go for is turning out to be the most difficult decision we've had to make in a very long time. Due to availability, or lack thereof!, our options are limited. And since we only have about an acre size area, careful planning is needed to make the most of the available space.

The easy part is we are not going into oil production, which already narrows down our options a bit. However, a number of the most popular table/pickling olives also seem to be tricky bastards. In some cases the fruit scars easily when picked, while others wrinkle when not cured correctly, and so it goes. Should this influence our choices at all?

Currently on the list:
Manzanillo x 100
Sevillano x 33
Kalamata x 99
Frantoio x 33
Ascolano x 99
Picholine x 33
J5 x 99
SA Verdale x 33 + 26 (maybe)

And so we are drawing plans, and more plans. And with every round the varieties change. For instance, we've stumbled upon some South Australian Verdale, which was until recently an unlikely option, and adapted the plan again. Sevillano (Queen) olives might be a problem to find. So is Kalamata. Another potentially impossible variety is Picholine. But who knows. Maybe out of the blue a supplier might come along and our problems will be solved! If not, the plan will have to change again.

We measured the paddocks today and it turned out to be a funny shape - so we need to re-think the spacing of the trees. My original plan of 2m x 3m rows, will only work if we downsize and buy less trees. Mmm. Really need to think hard now.

Plan A: After the initial idea of only three varieties, namely Manzanillo, Kalamata and
an "open for suggestions" third variety, this plan surfaced to fill the paddocks on the right.
Plan B: Formalizing the ideas, with already a change in varieties.

Plan C: After measuring the paddocks, this is the latest plan. To fit 13 rows of 33 trees, they need to be
spaced at 2.7x1.4m apart in the narrowest section of the grove.
Looks like we are starting to dabble in the "high density" or "super high density" orchard system!

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