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Olive trees
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coolbrze
49 Posts
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1
July 7, 2020 - 11:59 am

A little out of the ordinary but do y'all know anything about Olive trees (not Autumn Olives) in Zone 6B - 7A? Friend of mine wants to plant a few of them to harvest the Olives & I told him I'd see what I can find out....

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Reinettes
Lewis Co., WA
375 Posts
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2
July 8, 2020 - 4:17 pm

Oh boy!  Many people have been there and tried that.

I lived in southern California for 20 years and olive trees were taken for granted.  However, when I was moving up to western Washington I collected seeds of the most northerly olives that I saw in the Central Valley of California thinking that they just might be hardy up here.  Hah!  No such luck.  They are adapted to a Mediterranean climate and they just aren't going to cooperate outside of one unless you have some kind of climate-controlled greenhouse of good size.  That is to say,...  in such a greenhouse, you might be able to grow one, but you will not be able to grow one or more full-sized olive trees to maturity and be able to harvest and process fruits from them without veering closer and closer to poverty.  There just won't be any return.

My grandparents lived in Upland, California, and didn't have any olive trees on their property.  However, there were many old olive trees planted as "street trees" in Upland which merely dropped their ripe fruits onto sidewalks and streets.  My Grandpa would go out and collect these when ripe and would process them on his back porch.  Grandma Grace would then can these along with many of the fruits and vegetables that Grandpa grew on the half-parcel adjacent to theirs.  

...But I digest. Wink  This gives me a chance to point-out just how thoroughly inadequate the USDA's climate zone system is. In southern California my wife and I lived in a USDA Zone 8.  Here in southwestern Washington state we live in a USDA Zone 8.  By God!  The climates are worlds apart!  I much more prefer the system of Sunset Western Gardens which is based on many more considerations than that of the USDA.  In California, my wife and I lived in a Zone 18; here, we live in a Zone 4.  From a phytogeographic standpoint it would be difficult to make them all that much more different in terms of what will thrive and what will die....

...Ummh...  I guess that what I mean to say is that an olive plant grown in a 6b to 7a in order to ultimately harvest mature olive fruits from a mature olive plant is (--to be kind--) going to be, uh, ...a, uh, money pit.  

Don't get me wrong.  I love olives and I too wish that I could grow them here.  However, I know from personal experience that in oh-so-many cases where you want to desperately grow something that you love, you sink more money and effort into it than you could EVER recuperate.  It doesn't stop some of us from trying.  I fantasize about growing countless favorite plants here but, by foolish & hopeful trial-and-error, have had my doubts confirmed.

All that being said:  If your friend has a million dollars (or more) freely available, I say "Shoot for the moon!"

Reinettes

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John S
PDX OR
2593 Posts
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3
July 10, 2020 - 3:33 pm

As many of you know, I live in the Portland metro area.  Olive trees are not hard to grow here.  Just choose a variety that tends to be rather hardy, and put it in full sun with good drainage.  However, as Reinettes explains, zone 6 or 7 isn't Portland. Having a tree survive isn't the same as regularly harvesting the olives. I think most people in Portland grow them as ornamentals. I am growing my Frantoio olive tree not for the fruit, but for the leaves and as an ornamental.  Olive leaf extract is a well-researched and powerful anti-viral, as well as good for other things. That is why you will never hear about it on Facebook, You Tube, Google, or other major media.  No profit will be gained from ads for natural living plants.  You can't patent it.  Frantoio was recommended as the best variety to grow for the leaves by an associate who ran Oregon Olives, a company near Amity.  Processing the fruit is a hassle, even in California.  It is always a hassle.  My goal is to use the leaves.

John S
PDX OR

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jafar
623 Posts
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4
July 11, 2020 - 1:12 pm

I planted an Arbequina in my orchard years ago.  I was led to believe that deer avoid them.  The deer ate it.  That was that.  No more olive trees for me, not worth the full protection I try to give to fruit trees.

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Reinettes
Lewis Co., WA
375 Posts
(Offline)
5
July 12, 2020 - 5:11 pm

jafar said
I planted an Arbequina in my orchard years ago.  I was led to believe that deer avoid them.  The deer ate it.  That was that.  No more olive trees for me, not worth the full protection I try to give to fruit trees.  

Sorry to chuckle at your posting, Jafar, but my wife (--a native Californian--) insisted on purchasing a grafted 'Arbequina' olive despite my "suggestions" that she shouldn't.  Despite efforts to protect it through the first winter (which turned out to be a "mild" one), the grafted 'Arbequina' croaked.  Somehow, through some miraculous twist of fate, the seedling rootstock managed to survive.  This past winter it spent in a cold frame on the south side of the house.  It survived the winter there, and at present is looking pretty good, but if it's brought out of the cold frame and grows any further it won't fit back into the cold frame this autumn.  Even though it's now just a seedling olive, she now claims that it's really all she wanted was to have an olive (--coulda gotten one cheaper).  ...In the kindliest words that I can muster, I still think that an olive in our climate is a money pit and a fool's errand.  Of course I love my wife, so perhaps years down the road we'll have a really special bonsai.  

...Come to mention it:  Olive trees are prime candidates for bonsai given their leaf-size, structure, and gnarly (dude) trunks.  Really! Smile  But if one is desirous of harvesting olive fruits in any quantity, I can only recommend moving to a Mediterranean climate in California, Chile, Australia, or the Mediterranean itself.  Things is what they is.  Plants be what they be.

Reinettes.

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jafar
623 Posts
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6
July 13, 2020 - 8:20 pm

Well, if we are bringing wives into it...  My wife is growing a Jackfruit seedling.  

She planted 3 seeds.  Two of them grew in the window pretty well, and the 3rd was a runt.  The two that were doing well got put outside last summer.  They didn't like that.

Now the runt is doing pretty well as a houseplant, Although it is growing pretty crooked from having sun on only one side for a long time. 

Maybe I'll find some way to finagle some grow lights in the house.  

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coolbrze
49 Posts
(Offline)
7
July 14, 2020 - 4:29 am

Thanks for the info all!

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John S
PDX OR
2593 Posts
(Offline)
8
July 16, 2020 - 10:06 pm

I had an Arbequina olive at my other house in Portland. It did really well, and produced olives every year.  I just decided that I didn't want to go to all the work to process olive fruit.  Especially when they're so cheap to buy.   Tragically, later, I decided I needed one for the leaves and ornamental look. THe leaves are a form of plant medicine.  I found out that Frantoio was the best one for here in PNW for the leaves.   Frantoio does seem to be better for producing the leaves than Arbequina.

John S
PDX OR

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Reinettes
Lewis Co., WA
375 Posts
(Offline)
9
July 25, 2020 - 7:26 pm

jafar said
Well, if we are bringing wives into it...  My wife is growing a Jackfruit seedling.  
  

Jafar:  Your wife is a woman of great faith!  A Jackfruit, no less!  Where the heck did she get the seeds?

I spent 6 months in Brazil in 1982 and brought back seeds, cuttings, and plants that I wanted cultivate.  I had all my USDA import paperwork in order, but the poorly educated pin-heads in customs pulled them aside and kept them long enough to kill most of them.  Fortunately, I was able to get some things to grow including carambola, but the greatest loss for me and for North American horticulture was seedlings of a tree in the the Myrtaceae, endemic to a small region around Sao Paulo state (Paivaea landsdorffii) that is unique in the Myrtle family and has blue flowers and a flying-saucer shaped acidic fruit....

Gawd,...  the number of things that I lost to cultivation as a result of incompetent customs employees!  Met some of the same (--well, equivalent--) pin-heads after a botanical expedition to the Vizcaino Desert in Baja California....

But, guess what?  I'm griping again.  Sorry.  

When I was in Caruaru, Pernambuco, Brazil, I bought a Jackfruit at the local open-air market in order to collect seeds from it.  No luck.  ...Not sure if it got pollinated.  Jafar:  Heed my words:  IF your wife is growing a Jackfruit, than by any and all means back her up on it.  It might be absurd to try and grow it, but if she's growing it and keeping it alive then by golly I'm rootin' for her!  

There is great satisfaction in fostering something beyond all odds.  I envy her! Smile  Some of my favorite successes have been cultivating particular plants when "experts" have told me that they can't be grown.

Reinettes.

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jafar
623 Posts
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10
July 25, 2020 - 9:14 pm

Reinettes,

I try to be supportive when she's interested in growing things.  I still need to get her some monkey puzzle trees.

 

There are no real plans to accommodate the jackfruit when it gets too big for the window sill.  

 

The seeds were from some fruit we enjoyed from an Asian market while visiting friends in Northern California.  They germinated readily indoors with no special stratification or care.

 

Do you have pictures of any of the fruits you tried to bring back?  Are you growing things outdoors that you've imported?

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Reinettes
Lewis Co., WA
375 Posts
(Offline)
11
July 30, 2020 - 7:24 pm

jafar said
Reinettes,

I try to be supportive when she's interested in growing things.  I still need to get her some monkey puzzle trees.

 There are no real plans to accommodate the jackfruit when it gets too big for the window sill.  

.... 

Do you have pictures of any of the fruits you tried to bring back?  Are you growing things outdoors that you've imported?  

Hi Jafar,

I wish that I could send her some Monkey Puzzle tree seeds (Araucaria araucana).  Right now, my wife and I only have one plant that she started from seeds given her by a co-worker.  It's hardy here, but still in a 10-15 gallon pot.  I'm still trying to figure out where on the property we can plant it out so that it can be undisturbed and reach maturity.  It's native to Chile, but what I really want to cultivate is its closest relative, the "Parana Pine" (Araucaria angustifolia), which is endemic to a region of southern Brazil where I spent my childhood.  It's my favorite tree.  I know that it can be grown in San Diego County, California.  I also know that it can be grown in the Pomona Valley of southern Cal.  In 1982 I brought back about a dozen seeds and started them in Pomona.  Only one survived after I (slowly) learned by observation and experience that -- unlike Californian conifers -- the Parana pine actually likes a moist soil.  By that point, I had my sole plant in a half-barrel, but when I got married I knew that our new property was too small for it.  I gave it to my (ex-) brother-in-law to plant on his property with explicit instructions of what it required....  (I should have donated it to the Huntington Botanical Gardens in San Marino!).  It died, of course.

I should mention here that the fertilized seeds of the 2 species mentioned above are edible "nuts".  Those of A. angustifolia I have had both boiled (Rio Grande do Sul state, from a street vendor), and roasted (from a German-Brazilian woman who roasted them on her wood-burning stove, much as one might have originally done with chestnuts in an earlier USA.  I was used to just eating them fresh, where they tasted rather similar to raw corn-on-the-cob (i.e., somewhat starchy.  

Back in the Pomona Valley, I started a mango (Mangifera indica) from seed and it did great.... until we got a freeze.  Pmpna wasn't Miami.  When I quit a position as weekend coordinator for a Business Management Program in Claremont, CA, those who knew me and my predilection for cultivating plants actually gave me a sprouting coconut as a parting gift (!).  Boy, talk about your wonderful people.  After a few months -- sadly -- winter came and despite protective efforts the coconut dies.  It's still the thought that counts!

As for photographs...  I hate to say that even though my wife and I moved from southern California 21 years ago, Almost all of my photographs are still somewhere in unpacked boxes.  There here... somewhere....  My wife and I keep thinking that we'll do more house-cleaning and sorting and unpacking + assessing during this whacky Corona virus situation, but all normal concepts of time seem to have changed.  

If I get to the photos, I'll try to post anything that's relevant,... but the vast majority of my photos are of native Californian plants (--closeups, habit, habitat, general vegetation type and topography, and the oddball thing that caught my eye, aesthetic or otherwise).  My Brazilian photos are largely similar, in terms of plants, friends, landscapes, etc.).  

I hope that's not too much of a disappointment.  Let's hope that I dig in to some of these boxes before I day of old age.  The subsequent challenge would be figuring out how to post them to the site. Smile

Reinettes

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Reinettes
Lewis Co., WA
375 Posts
(Offline)
12
July 30, 2020 - 7:37 pm

My wife points out that I made several egregious typos.  I acknowledge and take responsibility for them.  I am somewhere in the lowest percentile for typists.

I meant to point out a typo that I made in an earlier post:  The narrowly endemic "Cambuci" (--"c" pronounced like "s", and accent on the terminal "i", due to Tupi-Guarani linguistic origin) is properly named Paivaea langsdorffii.  Langsdorff was one of many interesting naturalist explorers.  

Reinettes.

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buzzoff
84 Posts
(Offline)
13
August 11, 2020 - 9:49 am

Jackfruit seeds?  You can buy fresh Jackfruit here, in Portland.  As I recall, it has seeds in it.  Though I don't remember what the seeds are like.

Where?  The Asian Market at approximately NE. 68th, a block off of NE. Halsey.  Might be called Pacific Foods.  I'll check. 

Yup!  I checked.  It's called Pacific Supermarket.  NE. 68th and Broadway.  You get there by driving on Halsey, til you hit 68th.  The Market is one block off of Halsey.  Not terribly far, from the Hollywood Trader Joes.  Which is on Halsey.

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