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The Cultivation of Olives

The green colour of olive trees predominates on the cultivable pieces of land of the village of Lythrodontas. The village’s residents have been dealing with the cultivation of olive trees and the production of olive-oil since the very old times. Olives are today, according to Karouzis, “the main source of income for the villagers, especially for those who did not seek a job at the nearby capital city”

The people of Lythrodontas work with plenty of love and labour in the olive groves. Taking care of the ground, pruning the olive trees, and collecting the olives are the basic cultivation works of the olive cultivators.

One of the first tasks of the cultivators is to take care of the ground. In particular, they prepare the ground in an appropriate way, enrich it with nutritious ingredients and relieve it from any pests.

Another task which is important for the productivity of the olive trees is their pruning, which is done either at the beginning of spring, or during the harvest. With pruning, any unnecessary branches are removed and therefore only the fruitful branches are “fed”.

Correct irrigation of the olive trees contributes to the increase of production, as well as in the quality of the fruits. Although olive groves do not require frequent irrigation, the irrigation of olive trees is a determinant for the fructification, mainly during the months of florescence – spring months.

From the end of October until the end of February, the collection of olives called “louvisma” takes place. The method used for the ‘louvisma’ of the olive trees is known as ‘ravdismos’ or ‘vaklisma’. Modern methods with the use of machinery are also used for the collection of olives. The aforementioned traditional method for gathering olives, “Vaklisma”, is used by the villagers who manage to make the olives fall by beating the olive trees with a wooden stick called ‘vakla’. The olives are then gathered in huge pieces of clothing which are placed under the olive trees. Next, the olives are placed into cases and are usually taken to the olive-oil press for the production of olive oil.

As far as the multiplication of the olive trees is concerned, the traditional method used by the cultivators is called grafting, meaning the attachment of a branch of olive tree to another tree. It takes at least three years after the planting of an olive tree to become fruitful.

Finally, it is worth mentioning that in the olive-groves of Lythrodontas one can meet age-long olive trees. The people of Lythrodontas, as Karouzis distinctively remarks, “are proud of their olive groves, some of which may even be more than a thousand years old”.

Ionas Ioannis, Traditional Cyprus Professions, Lefkosia, 2001, pp.487-497.
Giorgos Karouzis, Strolling around Cyprus, Lemesos, City and District, Lefkosia 2001, pp.301 – 303.

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