Olive Garden – A Gardener’s Guide to Growing Olives

Olive Garden – The Historical Significance of Olives

Olives are one of the most historically-significant plants in the world, being one of the first ever mentioned in recorded literature. In addition to mention in early stories, such as The Odyssey by Homer, both the Bible and Quran make frequent mention of the plant as being important. These facts, along with the multiple beneficial uses of the plant itself, have led to olives being the most heavily-produced fruit on the globe.

Olives have been cultivated for thousands of years due to the combination of sturdy wood for building, fruit for eating and the ability to harvest valuable oil from the olives themselves. It is this oil that makes them such an important crop today, especially in the Mediterranean where yearly consumption is especially high.

The oil itself was once referred to as “Liquid Gold” by Homer, with the value being so great that it was revered by athletes, religious figures and royalty alike. Anointment with the oil was common practice, even to the point where the caskets and tombs of dead saints and martyrs were built with special holes to allow olive oil to drip through.

The tree was known as a symbol of abundance, peace and glory. Boughs cut from the tree were presented as crowns for the victorious in war and sport alike. Aside from a common presence in coastal farms, it was quite common to see an olive garden in which a tree or several trees were prominently displayed and enhanced by other plants.

Olive Garden – The Modern Appeal

An olive garden can be very appealing to grow, with both the aesthetic quality of the tree and its potential fruit yield being strong arguments for its planting. If planted in appropriate soil and carefully pruned an olive tree can live for centuries. In fact, some specimens have been discovered that are between fifteen hundred and two thousand years old, with mention of these same trees having been made by the ancient Greeks and Romans.

Olive Garden – Growing the Trees

When growing an olive garden, there are certain important factors that must be taken into consideration to ensure the greatest success. By following each of these gardening guidelines as closely as possible, you can enjoy the greatest success as a grower. Each individual consideration is listed below.

Olive Garden – Choosing a Site

Selecting a suitable site is very important for the healthy growth of your trees. If the site is not appropriate, you are very likely to have a difficult time getting results. The following are important:

· Soil Type – Olive trees require very well-drained soil. An overabundance of water will stunt the growth of the tree, if not kill it outright. Make sure that the soil is appropriate before planting an olive garden.

· Climate – Olives prefer hot summers and cool winters, and if your region does not boast either it may be difficult to achieve positive results. A winter frost is necessary for most varieties of olive.

Olive Garden – Planning

The following must be taken into consideration during the planning phase of your olive garden to ensure that each plant can achieve its maximum potential:

· Sunlight – Each tree requires full exposure to sunlight. Shade cast by a building or larger tree will impede the healthy and natural growth of olives, and so should be avoided.

· Spacing – If growing olives for yield purposes, it is crucial to keep them a certain distance apart. The recommended average is around five to six meters. This is not as important if you plan to grow smaller trees for aesthetic use.

Olive Garden – Pests

Preparing for and preventing pest invasion is a good way to ensure that your olive garden remains healthy and that the fruit remains fresh and bountiful. The following are examples of the most common pests you may find affecting the trees living in your olive garden:

· Cicada – Cicadas infest olive trees and make cuts in the stems to lay their eggs, causing these damaged stems to die. You can control them with systemic sprays, or with careful pruning and burning of infected areas.

· Rabbits – They are known to nip off young stems and chew the bark near the base of the trunk. Tree guards can prevent this.

Olive Garden – Additional Information

An olive garden can make a beautiful addition to existing gardens, or can act on its own to produce an area that you will enjoy spending time in. Although you won’t likely be able to harvest oil from your trees unless you have an entire field, you can still enjoy the fruit yield. Proper fermentation methods will make the bitter fruit more palatable, and can be great gifts for friends and family. Growing an olive garden has many potential rewards, and is definitely worth considering for your yard.

Copyright (c) 2008 – Brant Florist

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