Olives are a ancient and useful tree. They can live over 1000 years and they have many different offerings for our culinary palate. From Olives oil to Olives leaf extract this amazing tree really likes to provide for mankind.
However trying to grow olives in the northern rivers is a real art as mostly the trees do not produce nearly enough to make it viable for farmers to pursue.
Whilst I was at the local community farmers market in Blueknob a farmer approached me with this conundrum. As always I said oh sure Biochar can fix that problem biochar can even bring chickens back from the dead 🙂
So to put my money where my mouth was I agreed to do a Biocharproject on his farm as part of finding out more of what biochar can do.
We arrived on Thursday afternoon with a bulky bag full of char. It was not long before we started dividing it out between the compost tea barrels the farmer had waiting for us.
Some of the research I had done on this olive fruiting problem led me into several directions. Very soon after doing soil and compost tea P.H tests we realized that the soil may have been a little bit too acidic for the grand olive trees. So we set about adjusting the PH of the Brew with Agricultural Lime.
I Love OLIVES.
We allowed the brews to sit overnight so the char could soak up some of the goodness.
The next day we devised a plan and started to write up our proposed test trial. We had some fabulos conversations and a tour over this amazing chemical free farm. Talk about self sufficent this place had heaps of food trees. I was really glad I got the oppurtunity to introduce the farmer to Biochar in this way.
The farmer had been using biological and biodynamic concepts to keep his trees healthy and strong. On closer inspection I observed that he did not have many of the problems other tree growers of this area had. I asked him about it and he swears that the compost tea is the reason everything is so healthy.
So with all this background information I feel that the biochar we applied is really going to make things happen on his olive trees.
What we did was take 2 rows of olive trees at the very top of the plot. There was around 25 trees in all. The first 5 trees in the row I put approximately 12 tons per hectare biochar soaked in compost tea and lime. Around the trunk under the canopy about 1 meter out as this is where the feeder roots are.
Then I put out 8 hand fulls of craker dust (Dust from breaking up rock) over the moist char then I mulched it over.
On the second lot of 5 trees I doubled the dose to 24 tons per hectare of moist biochar / compost tea and craker dust again the same rate as the first 5 trees then mulched
And the last 3 trees on the row I decided to throw out a curly one. I placed 10 tonnes per hectare dry biochar then mulched it. This I thought would make a good contrast to the other tests.
Then we did the exact same again on the next row down. The trees were on a slope so I concentrated most of the char biological mix to the upper side of the trees.
We are exactly about one month off the flowering and fruiting season so it would be interesting to find out if any improvement at all in the short term is fourth coming.
I have converted another farmer onto the wonders of biochar and have gained a new friend in the process.
Stay tuned to this post for an update. Can biochar make bigger fatter and more Olives ?
You betcha Biochar can do it.
Charmaster Dolph Cooke.