Ernest Kestone

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since Nov 15, 2014
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Recent posts by Ernest Kestone

UPDATE April 16, 2019

I joined a local gardening club, actually the California Rare Fruit Growers, CRFG.org Anyway, I went to the annual scion exchange and got fig cuttings to graft to this tree.

Even though I am a newbie, nearly all the grafts have taken! So it looks like I’ll have my wish to change over the tree completely to two varieties, yellow long neck, and white Greek.

I enclose two pictures, the whole tree - now around 4 foot high, spreading about 6 feet. The other picture shows one of the grafts sprouting out of the parafilm wrapping, protected from the sun by a paper shroud - growing nicely.

I believe this was a faster path to a good size crop of figs.  

Probably in a year I’ll be posting pictures of figs. I’ll let you know!
2 months ago

Marco Banks wrote:Obviously, that fig is being pollinated, otherwise you wouldn't have such a nice big lovely looking fruit.  That's not the problem.  The tree itself looks really healthy and lush.  My guess is that you got a bummer plant from the store.

I've got 3 figs and they all do well.  We live in the same region.  

If you chop it down and start over, I'd go with the variety: Improved Brown Turkey.  It grows well in our area, it fruits generously, and it tastes wonderful.  If you want that real "figgy" tasting fig, the classic Black Mission Fig is the one to get.  If you want something sweet, Kadota is a good variety -- almost like honey, it's so sweet.  Personally, I don't like figs that are cloyingly sweet.  Brown Turkey meets somewhere in the middle --- not too sweet, and not too figgy.  It's a great fig to eat fresh, to dry, or to cook with.

Figs are cheap.  And they are super easy to propagate, if you want to get a cutting from someone.  So if you don't want to buy one from a nursery, you can grow one yourself.  My advise: buy one from Armstrongs.  If it's bad, they'll take it back.

Best of luck.




Thank you, the first part I was thinking myself - I believe this local nursery propagated it on site like they do hundreds of other plants (they pointed to a large fig tree they have and said it was taken from it). The only problem is, they're not fig specialists. It's not like propagating an ornamental plant. It has to give fruit, and the fruit has to taste good. On the other hand, I would imagine Armstrong probably buys from a wholesale nursery that produces large numbers and knows what they're doing.


If it really is the tree that's bad, I'm leaning towards saving the established root system and big trunk, by grafting onto it. I could buy two or three varieties and graft onto the main branches. It will probably fruit much earlier and heavier that way. I'll keep you posted!
11 months ago

Ken W Wilson wrote:Some kinds of figs need to be pollinated by a specific kind of fig wasp. If you aren’t in a traditional fig growing area, you might not have them. Not sure if an unpollinated fig can develop that far.  My Hardy Chicago doesn’t need a pollinator.

Is this the first year?

There are some species of fig trees that aren’t usually grown for the fruit because it’s very poor quality.


It’s the 5th year. The tree is pretty good size.

If you’re right about needing the pollinator wasps then grafting or pulling it out and replacing it would be the only options. We’ll see if anyone else is able to guess what’s happening, thank you
11 months ago

stephen lowe wrote:I'm not an expert but the figs in the pictures look immature to me. How easy were they to harvest? What is the texture like? In my limited experience the figs need to be almost falling off the tree before they are all they are cracked up to be



Hi, thank you. Undoubtedly, they are as ripe as they’re going to be. They are droopy and soft. Even if they were green the flavor is abominable, unlike the brown figs that we have that taste ok even when green, just not as sweet.

I hope someone can figure it out!
11 months ago
Hello! any assistance will be greatly appreciated. We bought this tree four years ago from a local nursery in a 5-gallon pot. It gets full sunlight and plenty of water & some manure fertilizer, in Los Angeles, California. The figs are abominable! The first couple years we got a few figs  that were no good but we thought oh well they’ll get better next year. This year the tree is much larger and it had a sizable crop - and all the figs are bad tasting/dry texture. Otherwise, they look healthy and the size is normal.
We have a brown type fig tree that produces beautifully and were hoping for white figs also. I can't figure out what to do based on online research as most fig "experts" seem to have fragmentary information.
11 months ago
Yeah, my first instinct also was to go with the scientifically proven  method.  As they say, live and learn.

Canning by the book is absurd. Foods will be either acidic, or overcooked until they're  very poor nutritionally . Yes, botulism is always a possibility.  But you have to nearly incinerate the food or leave it swimming in vinegar or citric acid.

My solution? Simple water bath canning. If it's naturally  acidic,  you're done. For low acid foods, make sure to boil before eating. That's it.

If you're still thinking to follow the canning jar company or USDA recipes, you might want to consider the following. Not all ingredients are the same. For example we assume tomatoes are high acid. But some varieties are sweet,  and do not qualify as high acid. So, even following the recipe exactly is not a guarantee. One would have to test the acidity of each batch, something not available for most households. Also, acid ultimately is unpalatable, akin to salting.

That still leaves most foods which are low acid. I have a pressure canner and I tried going by the USDA instructions. (Most recipes, 30 minutes at 10+ pounds in my altitude.) To start with, 30 minutes of high-pressure cooking is quite a bit. Considering what it probably does to the nutrients. But to that you have to add the time heating up the pot, could be another half an hour. The amount of cooking gas or electricity used. Then more time to cool down before you can even open the pot. And additional time when the jars are set out to cool. It takes at least an hour for a quart jar. So the food has actually cooked at boiling temperature or higher, for a total of about 2 hours. Not to mention jar breakage and seal failures inside the pressure pot. Quite a mess.

Better to go with grandma's simple boiling water bath method. And then just heat thoroughly before eating. You can tell that to the scientists at the USDA!


2 years ago
Thank you. I realized after I posted, I should ask the manufacturer. We'll see what they say, assuming they know. It is a naturally occurring mineral, but it then has some processing done to it.
3 years ago
Does anybody know if it's okay to add it to the compost bin?
Hopefully it contributes calcium and tracel minerals into the compost? But, will it kill the beneficial bugs in there? I don't want it to kill beetles and earthworms and whatever is in there. There's several pounds of it, wet and full of algae every time I clean out the pool filter.

If any of you know, I would appreciate your response. Thank you.
3 years ago
Oops! There was already on a topic on the PBS beaver documentary in the permies forums. From way back in June.

4 years ago
Any chance someone can summarise how beavers helped in the desert? I can't access this video because I don't live in the USA.


Beavers are native in North America, Europe & Asia. If you live in one of those places... maybe this can help. But you have to see the documentary, there is too much to tell.


Try going through a "proxy server" just Google "proxy server", they are often listed by country and you can use one in the US. Then cut & paste the link I gave on my post. Good luck.
4 years ago