A year at the Grove
Although olive trees tend to be bi-annual in their crop load (a heavier crop one year and a lighter crop the next), a year at the grove is generally very cyclic with activities often overlapping seasons:
Spring / Summer – we are mowing the tree lines with a ride-on mower (remembering to duck when mowing under a large branch!), pruning any sucker regrowth, mulching the sucker prunings, spraying prepared 500, watching for bud burst (a delightful but short duration burst of tiny white flowers), hoping we don't get any high winds that will knock off the tiny flowers & observing olive bud formation to get an initial indication of the crop load for this year.
Summer / Autumn – finish mowing the tree-lines .. check out the irrigation system, flush all lines, replace any damaged sprinklers or laterals, confirm & test irrigation schedule then irrigating through micro-sprinklers as required. Monitoring olive fruit growth, testing the olives for oil content and hopefully taking a short break!
Autumn / Winter – as soon as we get some autumn rains spraying a second batch of the bio-dynamic soil preparation .. but hopefully not too much rain as our next major task is harvesting then processing, harvesting then processing, harvesting then processing, harvesting then processing!!
Winter / Spring - after the EVOO that was cold processed in winter has been allowed to settle we can commence to bottle & fill the "bag in box" casks with our beautiful Demeter certified bio-dynamic extra virgin olive oil. Winter / spring is also the main tree pruning period - about one quarter of the grove is significantly pruned each year on a rotational basis using electric secateurs and chain saws. The prunings are then mulched with a flail mower & incorporated into the soil with the "rehabilitator plough" .. and then a nice longer break!!