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How to grow pistachio: the complete guide tocultivation of pistachios in Italy. From planting to fertilizer, from pruning to care.
Cultivating the pistachioin the home it is not impossible, at least, however, there are some prospects for those who live in southern and central-southern Italy.
Pistachio cultivation in Italy
In Italy, thecultivation of Pistachioit is widespread almost exclusively in Sicily with an average production of just over 3,000 tons per year. In Sicily, thepistachio cropsare mainly concentrated in Catania so much so that theGreen Pistachio from Bronteenjoys the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO).
The almost exclusive confinement ofpistachio cropswithin the Sicilian island it was not a free choice, as we will see, thepistachio plantit needs very mild temperatures.
Growing pistachio, climate and temperatures
Cultivating Pistachioit is possible throughout Italy, the most cold-resistant varieties could survive even in the North but would hardly be able to bear fruit.
Throughout the Center, thepistachioit grows well and produces fruit as long as it is placed in sheltered areas.
The ideal area forcultivate pistachiois the South. Those who live in regions such as Calabria, Campania, Puglia and lower Basilicata, can actually consider starting a small cultivation of pistachios.
Pistachio plant, cultivation and care
Thepistachioit adapts to different types of soil, even those that are calcareous or poor in calcium. The plant becomes very productive in rich and fertile soils. It does not tolerate water stagnation and the high humidity of the soil well.
Thepistachioit resists drought well but to have an abundant harvest it will be necessary to carry out emergency irrigation in case of persistent dryness.
Therevariety of pistachiomore widespread in Italy is the Bianca, commonly calledNeapolitan or Nostrale, in this case the seed is green and represents the valuable commercial factor. Other varieties are Cappuccia, Cerasola, Insolia, Silvana, Femminella… recently introduced on the local market, with excellent results, are the varieties Kern, Red Aleppo and Larnaka. The most common male variety for pollination is M10. Yep, let's talk about male plants because pistachio is not a self-pollinating plant.
Forcultivate pistachioin the home it is necessary to foresee the presence of a male plant or apistachioas wild as the Pistacia terebinthus plant.
Pistachio seeds, where to find them?
We recommend planting seedlings already grafted and purchased in the nursery. Buy plants that are at least 1-2 years old. The grafting at home involves a certain difficulty in taking root, therefore this practice is not recommended.
Cultivate pistachio starting from the seed it would see very long times of growth and especially of preparation for fruiting. Those who live in northern Italy and have no ambition to harvest can try to experiment with cultivation starting from the seed for play purposes only. Pistachio seeds are not so easy to find, you can try asking your trusted agricultural consortium or take advantage of the online purchase. On Amazon some sachets of pistachio seeds can be found at a cost of 8 - 9 euros, a bit expensive considering that the few garden centers that have them offer them for 5 - 7 euros. For all information, I refer you to "this Amazon page“.
How to fertilize pistachio
At the time of planting (which, as stated, should be done with plants already grafted) it is important to correct any deficiencies in the soil and enrich the soil with nutrients for the plants, in particular fertilizers based on phosphorus and potassium.
In soils of medium fertility it will be advisable to bury well mature manure, potassium sulphate and simple superphosphate. Annual fertilization is different according to the period of development: young plants want nitrogen with the indicative addition of 300-600 grams of ammonium nitrate-20 per plant, to be distributed between April and May.
Plants already in production, it is better to give preference to ternary fertilizers (they contain nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium) to be administered in spring.
The most common form of cultivation is the free vase, high deck, about one meter from the ground. This pruning facilitates the treatments and favors a harmonious development of the foliage. For all information on thepruningand the cutting of the branches so as not to compromise the fruiting, we refer you to the guide "How to prune pistachio"
Pistachio can be a great energy snack. The only drawback is that on the market it is mainly found salty. THEfreshly picked pistachiosthey should be toasted on a hot pan or in the oven and eaten naturally. Roasted pistachios, as well as being delicious to prepare creams and desserts, can be used to enrich salads and appetizers of various kinds.
Thepistachioit is rich in micronutrients such as iron, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, manganese, zinc, copper and selenium, it is also a source of good quality vegetable protein. For every information:Pistachio Properties.
In the photo above, the classic roasted pistachios, in a semi-open shell. In the image in the center, the pistachio plant in full fruiting.