GROWING OLIVES IN COASTAL NSW
OLIVE trees prefer a Mediterranean climate and Mediterranean soils, or they will struggle to grow well.
What does this mean? It means that they detest the humid summer weather and summer rains that we get in coastal NSW or Qld. Olives prefer Winter rainfall. They also prefer relatively infertile limestone soils. The world’s greatest producer of olives is Spain, where dry summers prevail and the ‘soils’ are composed of golf ball sized lumps of limestone or dolomite….and nothing else.
So, to grow Olives well in coastal NSW, you need to ensure excellent soil drainage and you need to add dolomite to the soil. You can add a cup full of dolomite to each square metre of ground, or better still, use Eco Flo Dolomite – this is liquid dolomite and it is very fast acting (as against the usual bagged lime or dolomite which is made of small rock particles which can take many years to break down and help your plants). Raised garden beds are a great idea, and growing Olive trees in pots is also quite good as long as you add dolomite to the potting mix.
Olive trees do not like heavy clay soils either. They do love poor, sandy or limestone soils like the soils in the grape growing areas.
While Olive trees appreciate good watering for the first six months after planting; after that they should be kept a little bit on the dry side over the warmer months. They still need Summer watering, just not too much.