Friday, June 15, 2007

Farming Malarkey

This Farming Malarkey is not as easy as it appears.

Chances of a fig from Figueres are looking quite slim at the moment, with little evidence of fruit having formed on our lone fig tree. The tree looks healthy enough and has good leaf coverage after the late winter rainfall. I enjoy the figs direct from the tree for the freshest of tastes or served with the Iberian ham of Spain’s signature dish. Carol prefers dried figs and lunches on them almost daily with Fazia her friend and fellow fruit-bat. We dried out the figs produced in 2005 and 2006 using a combination of sunshine and the low heat of an oven. In the short term the jammy dried figs were a success but they did not store well.

Pruning carried out by us and as advised by our Moroccan tiler friend was light and should not have damaged the fruit production; further pruning as performed by Francisco’s sheep has only refined the shape of the fig. It is I suppose possible that the previous year’s drought has stopped this year’s fruit from developing on the fig tree. On a positive note there are tiny fruit buds that have set and will go on to produce next season’s fruit. The abundance of fig leaves means that we will have to seek out recipes which use those leaves. Any leaves that remain could be supplied to the naturists who cavort upon the Costa Brava beaches.

Our solitary almond tree survived the drought despite some pillock having excavated the embankment on which it stands. The guy who sold us the house had dumped his manure pile on the embankment, and somebody had dug out the stash whilst we were away from the property. The tree had only four nuts this year but a crop is a crop is it not? Now though that crop has been decimated by either weather or predator and only half the nuts remain.

The pomegranate tree we planted two years ago is flowering again but alas it has not provided us with any fruit to date. Last year I struck half a dozen cuttings from the original tree and although they are now thriving they are not yet flowering. As they mature and flower cross pollination should ensure a healthy crop.

The olive cuttings are now established young plants though their shapes are wildly different. One is almost a standard whilst the others savaged by the severe weather are shrubbier. Pruning should sort out the shapes and we will try to propagate the material we have to remove. Who knows in a thousand years or so they may all be beautiful old trees.

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