A milestone birthday saw the gift of 6 olive trees to be planted at the retreat. Two of one variety and four of another. In my enthusiasm, I have left the labels in the shed, so am not sure about the actual variety. I have been assured that there is a difference between table olives and oil olives. Either way, I’m sure I’m going to learn how to work with the crop. (Update: they are Kalamata and Lecchino)
Presently there are plenty of flower buds on 3 of the trees. Apparently the olives are too bitter for birds to be attracted to them, but I have observed a large flock of cockatoos in the olive plantation down the road, so if I’m serious about getting a crop, I’m going to have to net them.
With the heavy clay soil waterlogged at times, I decided to work on the soil and wait for better weather before planting them out. After the holes were dug, a liberal application of gypsum was applied and dug into the clay. Previous applications have worked well in conditioning the soil along the lines that mark the labyrinth.
Each visit since June, the soil has been turned over and the holes re-dug, partly to aerate them and partly to allow the winter rains to reach deeper into the soil and to get the gypsum to mix in with the clay. With a revitalized Oak tree at the entrance to the labyrinth & possibly another acorn germinating at the northern edge, I decided to put the olive trees about a metre out from the labyrinth, spacing them out…3 on each side, resulting in approximately 5 metres between each tree. That should give them adequate space to thrive. The soil on the Eastern side is quite poor and very hard to dig as it is heading toward a section of the hill that has quite a bit of scoria, and I’m hoping that the addition of the gypsum and compost will be adequate.
The composting process has been improved and composted buckets have been transferred to a large compost bin and topped up with extra sawdust. Some early warm spring days have resulted in some good quality soil. This was well mixed into the previously dug holes and the trees planted.
John, our friendly neighbour, advised that wallabies are partial to olives, so some sturdy wire was purchased and the trees surrounded by this. Also taller stakes were used as I have observed the kangaroos using the stakes around the oak trees as chin scratching poles!
Planting done…..an appropriate addition to the 7 ring Cretan labyrinth and I’m hoping that the energy of the labyrinth will help to nurture these Olive trees.….
One day, far into the future, long after the labyrinth path has subsided back into the paddock there will be a small olive grove…..