Gardening: Get a taste of the Mediterranean
TAPENADE, pizza, pasta, breads and salads are just a few delicious ways to enjoy olives -or perhaps in a martini!
Olive trees, with their attractive greyish foliage, can successfully be grown in backyards as well as in a large pot in a sunny courtyard. They're hardy, drought tolerant plants that grow well in cool to temperate climates.
Different varieties are suited to different uses, such as manzanillo for pickling, kalamata for eating fresh and cooking and frantolo for oil, and also for different climates, so pick a variety suitable for your area - and your favourite recipe.
Also check your chosen olive to see if it will produce a better crop if cross pollinated with another olive, with trees taking around four to five years to bear fruit.
When planting a new olive tree, mix organic soil improver and fertiliser into the planting hole and keep the soil moist while the olive establishes itself.
Reapply organic fertiliser every spring and autumn to encourage healthy growth and lots of olives.
OLIVES prefer a slightly alkaline soil of pH7-8.
In areas with acidic soil, apply lime and dolomite around the root zone to increase the pH.