A Letter From A Smallholding In Cyprus

Back in December I was delighted when I received an email from David who has a smallholding in Cyprus.

I live in Cyprus where I own land in the Troodos mountains. I found your website via the Daily Telegraph (last saturday) and hope I may write for advice in the future. Basically I shall be growing almonds apples quinces and olive with some arable crops for ex pat english.Small holding really with I hope some poultry and maybe goats. Regards David and Happy Christmas to you.

I wrote to David and was delighted to receive this letter which tells me all about David’s plans for his smallholding in the beautiful Troodos mountains in Cyprus which is an area I am familiar with as I happened to visit the Troodos Mountains in 2000 on a family holiday.

Hi Sara

Many thanks for your email. 

My land in the Troodos is close to the village of Lemithou which is below Mt Olympos at about 1500 meters. The area is known as Drakonta being below Mouttis tis Drakonta or “Dragon Mountain” All very pituresque with views down the valley to Tries Elies the next village and the sea in the distance.

At the moment there is plenty of water in the streams but this will dry up within the next month or so. I have a water storage sump but this needs to be cleaned out so I am about to organise a work party.

The land is fairly stony but there are good crops of cherry fig almond and olive and of course grapes. There is still a little snow on Mt Olympos but I was out walking the other morning in warm sunshine although I was lower down in Tsada just above Paphos at about 600 metres where I currently rent an original village house. 

I have planted a quince tree in my garden here and hope it will take well. Quinces are called “Kidonia” out here and are popular as a sauce to go with pork,much like England. Many Cypriots eat them raw with a bit of lemon and they are very tasty and not as sharp as one might expect.

Now we are into February and the almond trees are in full blossom. Sadly we are due one of our Coptic Storms so much of the blossom will be blown away. The Cypriots also eat almonds raw as soon as they develop on the tree. Again they are tasty with some salt and lemon juice.

I was at my land the other day to do a bit of triangulation and plane table surveying (I used to be a surveyor in UK) and try to plot out where to plant vines and olives in the next few months to get the best benefit without obstructing the view. Being on a mountainside much of the land is rather  steep and I wonder if any reader has suggestions as to what to plant to reduce landslip. I would like some heathers and gorse but I suspect that these may not like the long hot dry spell and in any event I suspect that the Moufflon (our wild sheep) or goats would love them.

At present I have two domestic cats and three ferals who appear at meal times and then stay for the night. Most of them will come in to the house and usually onto one of the chairs but they only trust me and rush off when anyone comes to visit. Borris my largest male cat is about the size of a large Jack Russell. He has worked out how to open the kitchen door but unfortunately has not yet worked out how to shut it. He is sitting in the kitchen at the moment looking very pleased with himself so goodness knows what he has been up to. I hope to have some livestock on my land but will probably be limited to chickens. 

Well I think I have gone on long enough so will end now. I look forward to reading more information from the website.

Best wishes

David

 It is very interesting to learn about the landscape, planting and animals on David’s smallholding and tin the Troodoos Mountains in Cyprus.

If anyone can recommend any plants that David can plant on the mountainside that won’t create a landslip then he would love to hear you suggestions, so feel free to leave a comment.

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