Wednesday, July 20, 2011

One month later

Wet feet in it's extreme form. Shortly
after 104mm of rain over a weeks time.
With Arbor Day something of the past and winter in full swing, our little babies are taking a bit of strain. I'm not sure which is worst; the rain rendering our clayish soil very soggy in parts of the grove, or the wind blowing the trees sideways, breaking some branches and even snapping one in half!

What can I say ... the wind is not playing nicely.
We have now officially joined Olives New Zealand and I can't wait to get my nose into their growers manual. Although we might be doing things a bit unorthodox, unconventional and probably not 'traditionally correct', we are trying to make the best of the resources and knowledge we have, with a bit of luck and gut feel thrown into the equation. It will be a slightly different story if you approach olive growing purely as a business opportunity (and having the money to do so!); searching for property/land that are suitable in all aspects, from soil to wind and frost, to north facing slopes, the correct gradient, big enough to plant the trees 6x6m apart for mechanical operations, with shelter belts, etc.

Unfortunately we are not in the position to buy "ready-made" land in a traditionally correct area (we will be the trail blazers for this area since we are the first growers around here that I'm aware off :-)), but instead are just making-do with the tiny patch of land we have.

We also did not "rip" the land and we did not lay irrigation systems, neither did we invest in more water tanks, at least not for now. This will all come with time, as will the knowledge of pickling olives, health&safety issues, as well as the extension of the house to become a workplace for the processing of the olives. Having fruit bearing trees is not something that happens overnight, which is why we wanted to get the trees in the ground as quickly as possible. We tried to make the best of the situation by enhancing the soil as far as possible and we will continue to do the best we can with the resources and knowledge we have. As mentioned before, this is more a process of the heart than a process of the mind, but we are trying not to make blatantly dumb mistakes.

The days are slowly starting to become a tiny bit longer again, being past the shortest day and longest night, but it seems as if the coldest temperatures are still to come. We've had a couple of nights where the temperatures dropped below zero, but the days are mostly fine. The trees seems to be growing? I spotted new growth that must have happened over the past two months or so. Is this normal?

The past week has seen 104mm rain, which is great for our water tank, but bad for the olives where we haven't had the time yet to do something about the drainage. This we need to address quickly as 20 or so trees may suffer from wet feet. The past summer has been very dry and we might well have water problems come summer, but hopefully we can make a plan with additional water tanks before then.

Taking things little by little and tackling the problems as they come. Eating the elephant, one bite at a time. :)

Making use of a break in the constant rain to
quickly straighten up one of the very tall trees.
Horrible, horrible norwesterly. Snapped one right off.

I decided to try and mend the snapped stem.
Probably not going to work, but it's worth a try.
Trying to save the poor thing.