Planting the olive grove

We bought the house from alpaca breeders who had divided the fields in the bottom of valley into paddocks. This is how the field looked in 2006 before they put in their fences [below].

[photo: Nigel & Ginny Cobb, Europa Alpacas]

[photo: Europa Alpacas]

We bought the house in 2008. Once the alpacas, barn and fences were removed, we decided to plant an olive grove. Measurements were taken, and olive saplings bought from a specialist nursery near Seville. The field was ploughed, and marked out into a grid using GPS to ensure the trees were planted in exact rows. In January 2009, 350 olive trees were planted [below]. olive field 15-11-09At first, the saplings were so thin that they were difficult to see in the distance [below]. All we could do then was wait, patiently, for them to grow. Pablo reckoned the trees would start cropping after five years: that seemed a long way off. before planting 17-2-10

the olive grove 17-2-10In May 2010 [below], after spring growth and ploughing to remove weeds, our olive grove started to look more like the real thing. view from the kitchen gate 28-5-10By January 2012 [below], they were recognisably olive trees… the olive grove 4-1-12… and by October 2013 they were looking impressive. Throughout all this time, the olives on our old trees continued to grow [below] and were harvested in December with Pablo’s olives. Our 30 trees yielded three 5 litre bottles of amazingly green first-pressing olive oil. Enough to last us 12 months. Last year we anticipated December 2013 with great excitement: our first harvest in the olive grove. Sadly this did not come to pass: the drought of 2013 yielded a poor crop of small fruit. Not worth harvesting. olives in August 17-8-13So now we anticipate the olive harvest in December 2014.

5 to remember
una alpaca – an alpaca
un criador – a breeder
el prado – the paddock
el establo – barn/stable
un árbol joven – a sapling

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