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La Cosecha

Oct 29, 2010

Just about to start harvesting our 200 olive trees, wind permitting.

We live in Spain, on the Mediterranean Costa Dorada in Catalunya, and have Olives, Almonds and Carobs - all of which we have to harvest in a 3 month period.

The olive crop this year is looking fantastic (1 year good, 1 year bad) and we have high hopes of being able to press our own oil in a local stone olive mill, the traditional way.

As we do not use herbicides or pesticides, we can call ourselves ecological - in fact the only spray we use is comfrey tea, which we make from our comfrey beds. This liquid will be applied twice a year; once after pruning the trees in January, and a second time in the summer to give the trees a boost.

We have about ten deep beds here now, and are continuing to sow lettuce, spinach, cabbages and all manner of plants, that will grow throughout our mild winter.

Our chillies have now given up, but artichokes planted in September are now full steam ahead.

The most exciting news I have is that I have just ordered next year's vegetable seeds - all heirloom varieties, and I am already planning the extra deep beds that I will need.

As our goal is to become Self'ish Sufficient, then the ability to save the seeds is also important to me.

If anybody hails from Spain - would be great to get in touch - until the next time 'Hasta la proxima'


Sounds wonderful, wish I was there. Can you post your comfrey tea spray recipe & any other things you use comfrey for. Thank you for sharing the Olive tree stroy with us. JOEL in Columbia,South Carolina, U.S.A.
Hi there, and thanks for the comment. For Comfrey Tea, I just pick the leaves and chuck them into large (100litre) bin, until they are about a quarter full, and then top up with water. Some people weigh down the leaves with a large rock to stop them floating about. It is also fantastic if you can add nettles to the mix - sadly we do not have many here, but when I can, I add them. Cover the bin, and leave to 'cook' and then dilute the tea with water 50/50 and there you go. A brilliant foliar feed and gives almost instant results - tomatoes, aubergines and chilis especially love it. When I have used all the liquid, I put the debris that is left on the compost heap. On a good year, I get about 3 cuttings from my plants. HTH - all the best - Chris
Hi Chris I have been to your part of the world. Park Guelle in Barcelona is one of my favourite places to visit. I just love the architecture there. I am a fan of Comfrey, and it is interesting to note that it grows in your warmer climate. Does the comfrey grow all year round? I have noted my comfrey tea production method here. The advantage is that it does not appear to have the same odour during production as the water method. You also end up with a concentrated tea which is easier to store. I have heard that you can use it as a foliar feed, but i,ve not yet tried that. Good luck with your olive oil production, it sounds really good. Glenn
Barcelona is great, and only 2 hours away for us, so we go once or twice a year. More accessible to us is tarragona, with it's Roman remains which is pretty good as well. Thanks for the recipe - I see what what you mean about the smell, which is pretty awful. I only sprayed five of my olive tress by way of an experiment, but the results are pretty outstanding - on one tree I only sprayed half the tree, and you can guess which half produced olives, and which half didn't! Any left over I put on my veg patch, and again the results have been spectacular. I also use the Russian variety and am making a dedicated comfrey patch this year - my chickens love it as well! Just picked 2 olive trees this afternoon and have got about 100kg - two more full days and we will have enough to go to the press - can't wait.
How does one pick olives from an olive tree? By hand or do you shake the tree with a paded pincher arm on a tractor? This pincher arm is the what some farmer use to shake peacans or other nuts from their tree.
Quite a few different ways used here, namely: Raking off the trees with a hand held rake Any number of handheld 'vibration' devices which can shake a branch or even a whole tree Some allow them to fall on the ground and then collect them with a 'lawnmower' There are some fantastic machines out here - one that approaches a tree, opens out a net around it, and the shakes the whole tree to collect the fruit. This fruit is then fed into a passing trailer, and on to the next. This would suit the larger plantations, with younger trees. As our 'finca' is only small, and the terraces narrow, we us the hand method - quite slow but becomes quite addictive. You can spend 2 hours on a good tree, but it is not unpleasant work. All the best - CHris

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