September is springtime in South Africa when nature realises that it is time to wake up and be fruitful. But, of course before the fruit there must be flowers and a delicate process of pollination has to take place.
We are encouraged by the amount of flowering going on in our olive groves this year, even the newly planted ones appear to be settling in and producing flowers. We are now hoping for sunny days to assist the flowers to fully open. After that we need gentle breezes to encourage the released pollens to be distributed amongst the trees. Some of our varietals (Frantoio) are self-pollinating, so their pollen does not have to go far, but others (Mission and Manzanilla) need some further assistance preferring the pollen from other varietals. Unlike some other crops olives do not requires insects to pollinate the flowers they rely on wind – so normally no problem here in the Western Cape.
Once pollination has occurred the flower petals will drop, and we will begin to see the tiny ‘drupes’ forming – this will give us an indication as to what kind of a crop we can expect. We will of course encourage the fruiting process by applying water and fertiliser through our gravity fed irrigation system and some extra special ‘tender loving care’.