Se­lect a tree to match your favourite recipe

South Burnett Times - - GARDEN - with Angie Thomas Angie Thomas is a hor­ti­cul­tur­ist at Yates.

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, dry-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 about four to five years to bear fruit.

When plant­ing a new olive tree, mix some or­ganic plant fer­tiliser into the plant­ing hole and keep the soil moist while the olive es­tab­lishes. Reap­ply ev­ery spring and au­tumn to en­cour­age healthy growth and lots of olives.

Soil tip: Olives pre­fer a slightly al­ka­line soil (pH 7–8). In ar­eas with acidic soil, ap­ply some liq­uid lime and dolomite around the root zone to in­crease the pH.

Sum­mer suck­ers

In­door pot­ted plants can be sus­cep­ti­ble to one of the most com­mon sum­mer pests, mites. Mites are sap suck­ers that mul­ti­ply rapidly, first caus­ing leaves to be­come mot­tled and then cre­at­ing masses of fine web­bing as the colonies ex­pand. Mites revel in dry in­door con­di­tions and plant health can quickly de­cline.

To help re­duce mite num­bers, fo­liage can be reg­u­larly misted with cool wa­ter.

PHOTO: EMMA BOUGHEN

Olive trees can take four or more years to bear fruit.

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