The date palm is the main wealth of the Jerid. This southern Tunisian region, situated on the banks of Chott, presents the favorable location of the date palm cultivation. Indeed its dry and warm climate allows the tree to grow and lead the maturing term of its dates. "The palm tree saw the feet in the water and head in the sun" as they say. A well-maintained palm tree can produce up to 100 kg of dates. Annual production of Tunisia is
223,000 tons per year (2014)
The date palm is revered by the inhabitants of these regions because its usefulness does not stop with the production dates. Its wood is used to make gates or cover the roofs of houses. His young still white palms are used to make baskets, mats,
Its dead palms are used as a garden hedge, fence or anti-silting or to make fire at the bakers,
potters and craft brickworks. Its juice "legmi", is drunk fresh or fermented as syrup as alcoholic drink.
Dates. Dates. There are over three hundred varieties of dates including the famous Deglet Nour. But only three are marketed: Deglet Nour, Ftimi and Akhouat. Others do not keep well and are intended for local consumption.
Deglet-Nour, which also exists in Algeria, California, Arizona and Texas, is the queen of dates. Golden colored these dates are very delicious
and are eaten as a fruit.
Early this century the American realized that the climate of California, Arizona and Texas is similar to that of North Africa.
So they imported a quantity of palm trees on an experimental basis. And they have succeeded because the US currently produce dates that good quality Deglet Nour.
At the end of the last century they brought to America two brothers of Nefta whose trade was sharecropper father to son, to teach them the art of cultivating date
palm. They never returned..
As we said palm like water and heat. Two conditions difficult to find in such a dry area. There or there is water there are oases.
Formerly the sources came naturally formed sand and rivers to irrigate palm groves. Today most sources dry up and are replaced by polls.
Grow palm tree.
The nuclei of scattered palms, palms become. But never the palm trees that are expected. To play a palm tree as Deglet Nour, for example,
cut discharges (small palm trees that grow on the mother's trunk) of their mother and replant them elsewhere. Five years later, they will start to produce dates of the same variety
as their mother. This is the secret that the US picked.
In the months of July and August, dates are green called "blah".
Become yellowish in September.
It is the months of October and November they take the golden color and can pick them.
Palm trees are planted in two designs. Either online in the new oasis, keeping 8 meters distance between each palm, or according to the ancestral method, in the ancient oasis in the tight layout. The first has the advantage of allowing the production of large caliber dates but unfortunately requires a lot of water because the land remains bare between palm trees which promotes rapid evaporation.
The traditional method is to plant the palms pressed against each other and placing fruit trees with large leaves, such as: pear, peach, apricot, pomegranate between them, allows sufficient shading to allow the land to keep his humidity for several days even in summer.
The palm requires little maintenance. Spring is the season of pollination is to extract the pollen from the male to lay the palms on dieting female palms. A male can fertilize palm up 50 female palms. We put to good use this operation to rid the tree of dead palms.
The gathering of dates is done in the fall and early winter. Working the land is in winter. Every year we work a quarter of the plantation. The use of manure as fertilizer is the rule.
Under palm trees
Surfaces between the palm trees are used to make agriculture: tomatoes, carrots, peppers, onions, spinach, cambons, salad and various greens. Like oases in this region are at the edge of Chott, the land contains salt. The antidote was found by the elders. It was enough to mix the soil with sand dunes to reduce the phenomenon. The result is above all expectations since the few remaining salt gave the food a special flavor, appreciated by all who have visited this region. The same happens with mutton because it's used to graze somewhat salty.
Culture floors: vegetables, fruit trees and palms.