Variety and market, information on agricultural subsidy for pomegranate crops and our advice for a complete structure.
The pomegranate has long been considered a minor fruit plant, but for some years now its cultivation has been expanding and fruits (and juice) are in high demand.
At the base of the spread of pomegranate there is the prospect of very high production (over 40 t/ha), profitable prices (from 1,5 to 2,0 €/kg), easy plant management, possibility of agricultural subsidy and forecasting of investment and growing costs much lower than revenue.
Pomegranate’s cultivation is very ancient, indeed it was already practiced by Phoenicians and ancient Romans, but the origin of the species is oriental. The plant belongs to the Punicaceae family, the fruit species is Punica granatum and in general the height of the tree reaches 2 – 3 meters.
The pomegranate fruit is a fleshy berry, has a thick skin and contains many seeds externally pulpy and internally hard. Its maturation takes place in the autumn, and the right time for harvesting is understood by the skin colour that turns to bright pink.
BENEFITS AND NUTRITIONAL PROPERTIES
The pomegranate (and its juice) has extraordinary nutritional properties, which, not surprisingly, has earned the nickname of “fruit of health” or “fruit of medicine”. It is rich in vitamins (group A, B, C, E, K and J), mineral salts (calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium and phosphorus) and other substances that are amazing for the wellbeing of our body, such as flavonoids, antioxidants, ellagic and gallic acids.
The fruit can be opened and eaten as it is, even if the individual grains have inside a rather hard and woody core. The pomegranate is excellent transformed into juice and in cosmetics it is an ingredient for cosmetics business.
CLIMATE AND SOIL
Pomegranate is a typical species of temperate-warm environments and suffers if temperatures fall below -10 ° C. For this reason, it is widespread especially in central and southern Italy, but it can also be cultivated in the North, where it is better to prefer areas exposed to the sun and add a radical protection.
Pomegranate orchard prefers dry soil and not subject to water retention. If pomegranate plant take place on very clayey soils it is recommended to mix sand with soil. The pomegranate tolerates limestone well and the lack of iron in the soil, because it is a species capable of exploiting bad conditions in terms of nutrients.
HOW TO PLANT THE POMEGRANATE
The best periods are autumn and the beginning of spring, while the winter is to be avoided due to the cold, and rainy periods when the soil is wet and impracticable.
The plant distance depend on the vigour that the plant can take. If we give it a sapling shape and the soils are particularly fertile, a greater development is expected and it is advisable to keep 4 or 5 meters of distance between the individual plants and between the rows; while opting for a bushy shape on poor soils we can leave distances of 3 meters between the plants.
Pomegranate is a rather resistant fruit variety, but sometimes it can be subject to fungal diseases, favoured by humidity, such as the alternaria, also known as the black heart, which manifests itself with many small specks on the fruit. We can also find cases of gray mold or botrytis, recognizable by the well-known and typical aspect of moldy dust.
In addition, like other fruit species, pomegranate can also be affected by mildew, which in severe cases can be treated with sulfur-based products.
Among the harmful insects, we point out the pomegranate moth or pyralid, a nocturnal lepidoptera (butterfly) that feeds the seeds contained in the pomegranate grains. Pomegranate orchard can also be attacked by aphids, to be removed with natural products or with an anti-insect covering system.
Pomegranates can be classified according to acidity of fruits in acids, bitter-sweet and sweet with average acidity levels of 0,32, 0,79 and 2,72% respectively.
One of the most cultivated types for its excellent organoleptic characteristics is the Wonderful variety, with large and colourful fruits that ripen in October. Dente di cavallo variety group is Made in Italy and includes different varieties with medium-sized fruits and red nuances. Other varieties of Sicilian origin are the Selinunte and the Dolce di Sicilia, while in Tuscany Melagrana variety of Florence was cultivated, today kept alive mainly by non-intensive household plants.
A pomegranate complete system is composed of prestressed concrete piles, connected to each other by cables and steel wires and held in tension by special anchors fixed in the ground. Concrete piles to cultivate pomegranate at best have a height of 2,80 – 3,00 meters (to be interred). In case of an anti-hail installation, piles will have a higher height.
The particularity of this system is in plant support consisting of light brackets that have a Y shape and are composed of two GDC clamps that allow you to adjust the arm with the desired inclination. This system has been designed in this way to give the fruit optimal sun exposure and to offer the best support to the orchard.
You can choose, therefore, brackets with variable inclination, like our Multi-V, or fixed trim, like the classic pergola. In any case, the intermediate brackets must be combined with heavy tubular head brackets.