Friday, November 30, 2012
Journal November 30, 2012
The Frantoio olive tree ordered from the Temecula Olive Oil Company arrived safely today, and I am well pleased with the tree. It is exactly the size I like to work with, and it arrived in excellent condition, even though it was in transit for well over a week.
After opening the carton I was in the process of removing the soil and planting the tree; when my wife suggested that I not prune it back and clone the cuttings. She said: "why not leave it alone for a few days." I am sure it was out of sympathy for the tree that she made the suggestion, as the tree had been deprived of heat and light for so long, however, I decided to follow her advice so I did not prune it back right now. The tree was planted in a self watering container and placed in the tent under the six band LED grow light. It can recover for a while in my pseudo-Mediterranean environment, where the temperature is always in the mid-70s with the humidity in the mid-40s.
When the tree begins sending out new shoots, I will prune the main trunk back to about six or eight inches above the soil line. My objective is to have two laterals off the main truck shaped like a martini glass.
When selecting trees I am looking for varietals that produce table olives, as I just can't imagine getting enough olives to produce oil, and, oil production is not an easy process for a home gardener.
The primary varietal used in Tuscan oil production, the Frantoio olive tree is useful to the home gardener as well. This olive tree is self-fertile, meaning it doesn't require another variety to set fruit, but is also an excellent pollenizer to other olive trees. The Frantoio olive tree grows in semi-pendulous fashion, with dark green-gray leaves. The fruit also makes a good table olive after curing, with a slightly nutty flavor to the medium-sized fruit.
The Mission olive tree that was ordered on eBay has been replaced and my money was refunded. The seller claimed the tree was hardy and would come back if I misted it frequently. I responded that the leaves were so dry that they cracked like corn flakes when flexed, and that I could mist the tree with holy water and it was not coming back. So much for plants on eBay.