Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Journal November 13, 2012

The mission olive tree that I purchased on eBay finally arrived today. I was really beginning to think that the post office had lost this shipment. Although the tree spent almost a week in transit, without light or water, it arrived in fairly decent condition. That said, I still wasted no time in preparing it to be grown hydroponically.

This tree is about six years old, however it is only 10 inches in height. It was being trained for bonsai, but it has now been rescued and will be allowed to grow into a small bush, though confined to a container.

The Mission olive originated on the California Missions and is now grown throughout the state. They are black and generally used for table consumption.  The fruit is of medium weight with a slightly asymmetrical ovoid shape. Prized as a dual-purpose variety, being used in green and black pickling as well as oil production. When mature, the fruit has about 22% oil content. 

The postman also brought a Barouni olive seedling today that I purchased from The Olive Branch Tree Farm.

Once again I feel fortunate in having had the opportunity to speak to the owner/ grower, whose name is Tony. I explained to Tony what I wanted to accomplish, and he suggested that I not let the trees go dormant for the first two years, but to "grow the hell out of them in the greenhouse."  Following the third year, the trees should be given a minimum of 250 hours of cool temperature and allowed to rest, with no fertilizer and little water.  Tony thinks that by doing so I will have a crop of olives in the third year.  They have been growing olives for fifty years, so I would guess that they know a thing or two about the process.

The Barouni Olive Tree was developed in Tunisia, Africa, and is the olive commonly used for curing olives at home. Research conducted at California Universities have shown the Barouni Olive to be very resistant to cold temperatures, and still produce its beautiful, green fruit.

Over a century ago the Barouni Olive tree was imported into America from Tunisia for orchard trials and has successfully passed the test as a commercial olive tree. Ranging in height from 15-20 feet, the Barouni Olive tree is a popular backyard tree to grow, because the olives can easily be harvested from smaller trees. The common use for the large Barouni olive is as a table olive, and for olive oil extraction the Barouni olive will not work. The Barouni olive ripens in October and November as a black fruit with an oval shape, and it is very cold hardy for the Eastern U.S.

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