Sunday, August 14, 2016

Journal August 14, 2016 - Olive cuttings in sand

The olive trees are enjoying our very hot summer outdoors on the deck; so much so that I am going to have to prune every one of them before I can think of returning them to the greenhouse this fall.

Somewhere I had read an abstract comparing the success rate with olive cuttings with various media.  According to one abstract,  the best success rate was obtained using simply sand.

As I am lightly pruning the trees anyway, I decided to try a few cuttings using sand as the rooting media.  This of course is an ideal time to take cuttings with the trees actively growing. 

Four cuttings were struck, dipped in rooting hormone and placed in moist sand exactly one month ago on July 14, 2016.  A dome over the cuttings maintains a high humidity level,  while the heat mat provides essential bottom heat.  A 150 watt multi-spectrum LED grow light with a photoperiod of 16 hours is being used for this trial.

As of today, not a single leaf has dropped from any of the cuttings, so all is looking well at this point.

The Arbequina olive tree had six olives at the top of the tree that were turning purple, so I decided to cure them in brine as a test.  To debitter the olives they were soaked in water that was changed twice a day for three days before being placed in the brine.  A slice of lemon, some red pepper flakes and fresh thyme was placed in the brine to flavor the olives.  A thin layer of olive oil was poured over the brine before the jar was covered.   They have to cure until early September and I am really looking forward to tasting them.

The cucumbers and tomatoes that were growing in the greenhouse are finished and have been removed.  The greenhouse will be cleaned in the next few days and made ready for the olives and figs in the fall.

This was the best season ever for greenhouse tomatoes though.