Olive cultivation exploits even the most unsuitable soils and suspends their corrosion. Olive cultivation includes two categories of products:
- Table olives from Kalamata, Amfissa, Chalkidiki
- and oil olives from Megara and Koroni.
Olive trees produce fruit for very long periods, they are tolerant to harsh weather conditions and diseases, and they do not require any special farming conditions or care. The fruit is of high nutritional value and is classified among the most market-demanded products. Apart from the common farming methods, good production also requires flat plots of land with a maximum inclination of 10% so that they can be irrigated. A number of hours with low temperatures (10°C or up to 16°C is also necessary, depending on the place where each cultivar comes from) so that the lethargy of flower buds can be interrupted. In years or areas in which the requirement for the hours of low temperature is not met, the olive tree has fewer flowers or the flowers are incomplete. By contrast, in vegetation period, olive trees need warm environments so that the fruit can be set. As a result, the climate of Greece is ideal for cultivating olive trees.In order to start olive cultivation, you should plant seedlings between 9 and 18 months in small pots or bags. The seedlings must be between 30-40cm and 120cm high, depending on the age. In our gardens you can find healthy seedlings protected against diseases. After planting, you should support the seedlings but when the final height reaches approximately 3 metres, you should give them the suitable shape so that the photosynthesis can smoothly be carried out. A farming requirement for good performance is spraying with copper, fertilizers and boron. In years of excessive fruit-setting, you should thin the flowers so that the commercial size of the remaining fruit can be increased. After the 3rd year from planting, you can have the first fruit, while the production will be increasing until the 7th year. In full production olive trees provide between 250 and 300 kg of oil / 1000 m2. The content of oil in the fruit is 20-25%. Olives are harvested by hand or with mechanical methods. Harvesting by hand is recommended for avoiding injuring the fruit and degrading quality (though it requires time and money). Mechanical methods are mainly followed in oil-producing cultivars. The methods followed are:
- Combs (electric/battery powered or pneumatic) and collection of the fruit from the nets spread under the olive trees
- Vibrators of trunk-branches, with or without inverted umbrellas (fruit receptors)
- Mechanical harvesters moving above the trees in case of very dense plantations.
The investment can be paid back after 5 or 6 years. The cost of the initial investment is specified at € 1000 per 1000m2, including: olive seedlings, poles, reeds, irrigation and wire. There are also possibilities for “turnkey” solutions and monitoring the cultivation following planting at the respective costs.