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Figs ripening game  RSS feed

 
Posts: 173
Location: Zone 8b Portland
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It’s that time again. Time to play the: will these figs ripen before the weather turns cold game 😄.  The black Spanish have been green rocks for quite awhile now. The heat seems to be slowing down and I’m wondering if these will make it.  What changes the speed of fruit ripening? Tree size, heat, ground moisture, all of the above? The only truly reliable fig in Portland seems to be my desert king which ripens a breba in august.
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pollinator
Posts: 458
Location: Virginia USDA 7a/b
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Chris,

I am trying a new thing here, we lost 99% of our figs last year before they were ripe.

First, I quit peeing on them. They really need little nitrogen, and while they grew like crazy, they just kept piling on new growth with little figs and never set much.

Second, I thin the new branches, just chop and drop, anything that comes in from early august. They have enough leaves, now set me some fruit you freeloaders.

Third, I am pinching the little figs coming out now. They don't have a prayer. I think the tree is lacking some mineral relatively, and it needs to use them on the existing fruit.

Fourth, I think the most likely mineral deficiency is calcium, that is generally required for fruit maturity, and the area they are growing is wood chips and has been for years. That is often low in calcium and super high in potassium. I used calcium carbonate this summer to hopefully help them out, and put down some rock dust last summer as well. Figs are mostly grown in the Mediterranean areas, which tend to have limestone soils, so I suspect they need the calcium.

We have already harvested as many figs this summer as we got all last summer. Two...

 
Chris Holcombe
Posts: 173
Location: Zone 8b Portland
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haha I love it.  Yeah I'm growing mine in deep woodchips also.  The desert kings seem to love it.  The black spanish and latarulla not so much.  I'll try the things you mentioned here. 
 
Tj Jefferson
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Posts: 458
Location: Virginia USDA 7a/b
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The rock dust I used last summer was probably the big win. This is just dust from the local granite quarry. I threw in some dolomitic lime as well as the local stuff is not high in magnesium, and this summer the calcium carbonate. Calcium carbonate should be available much faster.

They are massive and ripening a month sooner, so far so good.
 
Chris Holcombe
Posts: 173
Location: Zone 8b Portland
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Wow that is impressive!  A month early is huge. 
 
Tj Jefferson
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Posts: 458
Location: Virginia USDA 7a/b
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Next to a good size Roma...

I've been picking them and letting them ripen inside. Ants are a problem on this tree, its low growing...
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pollinator
Posts: 203
Location: North Carolina, USA Zone 7b
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Thanks TJ -  Good tips!    I think you're in central Virginia?   So our climate is similar (Greensboro here).   My 3 yr old figs are really going to town this year but now I'm dealing with ants - considering a wrap around the trunk schmeared with vaseline just for the season.   The flavor is good but not optimum so I'm doing Sea90 next spring.   Meanwhile, I pruned a little late this spring so I have a plethora of small to medium green ones right now so is it too late to add lime and epsom salts?.   And you reminded me to nip the new growth :)
 
Tj Jefferson
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Susan,

Honestly, the ants are only an issue on a couple trees, which were impulse buys a couple years ago for 6 bucks. They are very low growing, and they are a pain in the butt.

None of the others have as many issues. I think the ants are part of the game, there are lizards all over the place and I will get figs from the others. I have put in 14 different figs and I can give you a rundown of the ones that are performing. Can't comment on the fruit quality, survival is my first criteria!

Brown Turkey/Chicago/LSU purple/LSU gold are all doing well, they all died to the ground last bitter winter.

VdB has been a total disappointment. It is smaller than when I planted it and it is well protected. All the other ones are totally neglected. Little ingrate.

I have two that I don't know the type, doing very well. One was sold as Nero, which is any black fig. Not helpful. It's my favorite, nice growth habit. And one I rescued from Lowes or something which had no tag at all, might be a Celeste. That one is nice.

Most of them get literally no input from me at all, except that stupid VdB.

I think the one in the picture is an Ischia. They never turn much in color.
 
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