Pomegranate search on Sunday in the Ararat valley (Echmiadzin, Zvarnots,...) with Nina and Suren. Main conclusion: there are very few pomegranate bushes in that part of Armenia, due to the very low winter temperatures. In Poqr Vedi, close to Khor Virap, we meet Levon and his wife, who was picking tomatoes along the road. Great sheep in the backyard, not very different from our… churras. A few three years old pomegranate bushes, growing in a soil in which … quinces don’t manage to grow (too superficial soil? Too much salt in the irrigation water?). Incredibly hospitable people. All this with a permanent view in the background: the amazing Ararat mountain.
Levon then brings us to Neshan’s house from whom he got his cuttings. The whole family is busy preparing vegetal brooms. Larger and older pomegranate bushes in Neshan’s backyard, with some small new ones coming from Meghri. Neshan explains us the burying technique that he uses to protect the bushes from winter temperatures. In November, he curbs the whole plant down with a stick in metal. Then, he covers it with 10 to 15 cm of dry material (straw), on top of which he adds still another layer of 10 or 15 cm of soil. One definitely needs to like pomegranate to have the courage of doing that every winter! This also means that they cannot prune the bushes the way we do it in the Iberian peninsula with a single trunk.