Podar no Minguante, menos damasqueiros e morangueiros (prune on the waning moon, except for apricots and strawberries). So says February’s Agricultura/Jardinagem section in the Borda d’Água, the Portuguese almanac that most people hereabouts seem to follow. So we’ve been following suit, especially since our neighbours told us that they’d also been informed that the February waning moon was the time to prune olives.
The olives have been needing some serious attention. We only have 9 trees, so this is not a big job, but once it’s done, we’ll be planting some additional trees to at least double our eventual capacity. (February’s Borda d’Água again: Plantar ávores no Crescente. Plant trees on the waxing moon.) We’d like to be self-sufficient in oil with enough to preserve for eating throughout the year and to produce our own soap.
At a guess, looking at the annual rings on the cut wood, it’s been maybe 5-6 years since our trees had a decent prune. The olive never bears fruit in the same place twice, and usually bears on the previous year’s growth. Our trees have got to quite a substantial height and there was little to no fruit last year, so are in need of some drastic cutting back to generate new growth at a manageable height, so we’re giving them a severe pruning this year in order to generate a good harvest next year. Olives can withstand radical pruning, so it’s relatively easy to keep them at a desired height.