Sunday, December 16, 2012

Journal December 16, 2012

When I first began to think about growing olives hydroponically, I really had only heard of a few varieties; chief among them was the manzanillo, kalamata and mission.  One of the first plants I ordered was the mission olive on eBay, however, the plant was deceiving, as it looked all right, but was really dead on arrival.  A replacement mission plant was ordered from the Olive Branch Tree Farm, and although it is OK, it was very tall and slim with few side branches.  It was intended to be a large upright tree, but I need a short bushy tree for container/greenhouse growing.  I am removing sections of the main stem to force the growth downward and sideways, however it is going to take quite some time to get it to where I want it.

Finally, I have found a mission olive plant that meets my expectations, and it was a bargain.  I stumbled across the vendor on Dave's Garden of all places, and I never thought to look there previously.  This little beauty cost only $12 plus $8 for priority shipping from Eldon Tropicals.

I guess it is the romantic history of the mission olive that I find so appealing.  That probably comes from watching all of those Hollywood westerns when I as a kid.  It conjures up visions of an adobe mission with red tile roof and bell tower, with a kindly old padre in brown robes ringing the bell.  And indeed, the mission olive was brought to California by Junipero Serra and the Franciscan fathers from Mexico to the Mission San Diego de Alcala in 1767.  The Franciscans spread their religion and olive culture up the coast of California, and some of their beautiful old trees are still growing.

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