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johnnyq627

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Reply with quote  #1 
I thought I would try something different this year and post my fig progress throughout the year.

Last year was my first year growing figs and I learned a lot, mostly through mistakes. Hopefully, I can help others avoid making the same ones.

My wife, Theresa, and I wanted to redo the backyard. She wanted a greenhouse for seed starting and I wanted one for figs to prolong the season.

Our plan...



We began leveling the greenhouse area in December, but then the cold hit...



More to come...

Nick

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johnnyq627

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Reply with quote  #2 
We ordered a Harbor Freight greenhouse January 1st... it arrived a few weeks later looking like it had been dropped off the truck, then picked back up, put on the roof, and dropped again.











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Reply with quote  #3 
Contact both the shipper and shipping company and start a case.
If the shipper sent the package with visible damage to the box the shipping company would have tagged it damaged at the time of pick up.
It looks like the shipping company has some explaining to do.

Either way your product should be insured and a replacement should be in order. Or at least replace the damaged parts.

Good luck the rest of the way and please keep us posted.

WillsC

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Reply with quote  #4 
I agree with Rafed.

Nice drawing, and I like your plan.  I have heard ok things about the HF greenhouses.  Some say to reinforce the panels if you are in a windy area as they can pop out.  
johnnyq627

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I called Harbor Freight the next day and let them know. They asked for what pieces were damaged, so I had to open the boxes and go through each of the ~200 pieces. I gave them the list and didn't hear from them for a few days. I called and was told that they couldn't get replacements and I would have to ship the greenhouse back at my cost. A few hours of arguing with customer service and they agreed to ship a new one to me and then have the shipping company pick up the old one. A few weeks later I got a call from the shipping company asking why I wasn't home to sign for delivery... No one had called to say it was being delivered! I asked if they were going to take the old one... They said no and usually HF doesnt ask for items back. Three weeks later, I received a postcard from HF saying they still hadnt received the old greenhouse. I had to spend hours on the phone with "Bill" and "Steve" from India, before I got them to agree to not charge me for the shipping. I also let them know if the greenhouse wasnt picked up within the week I was going to dispose of it as the box had been taking up my living room for months. A week and a half later I got a call from the shipping company asking why I wasnt home for pickup... good grief no one called to give me a date! They finally came and picked it up last week. Harbor Freight's customer service was absolutely horrible!
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johnnyq627

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Reply with quote  #6 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rafed
Contact both the shipper and shipping company and start a case.
If the shipper sent the package with visible damage to the box the shipping company would have tagged it damaged at the time of pick up.
It looks like the shipping company has some explaining to do.

Either way your product should be insured and a replacement should be in order. Or at least replace the damaged parts.

Good luck the rest of the way and please keep us posted.



Funny you mention that... the invoice they left me with the first one had a section for remarks if the product was damaged.. it was conveniently left blank! I wasn't home when they "dropped" it off, so I couldn't say anything.

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johnnyq627

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Quote:
Originally Posted by WillsC
I agree with Rafed.

Nice drawing, and I like your plan.  I have heard ok things about the HF greenhouses.  Some say to reinforce the panels if you are in a windy area as they can pop out.  


Yes and it gets pretty windy at our house. I plan to do as much as possible to reinforce it, cross bars, angle iron on the front and back, as well as....

This base which will be rested on eight concrete piers with 4x4s sunk into them. The 4x4s will be three feet in concrete with five feet above it to help brace the structure. The panels will be screwed down and siliconed as well.





I may also plant a couple of evergreens to act as windbreaks in front of the greenhouse, which will also help block some of the evening sun in the summer.

Nick

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Rewton

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Reply with quote  #8 
Johnny - that sounds like a nightmare.  I went through something similar (though not as bad) with Panasonic to replace a bathroom fan under warranty.  I'll keep this in mind if I ever purchase a greenhouse.
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rafed

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Reply with quote  #9 
Nick,

Sorry to hear about the grief you went through but it looks like it's almost over.

Just be sure to anchor the frame to the ground or else you'll end up like Dorothy from Wizard of Oz.

Edit: never mind the anchor. You did mention it. Duhh

Good luck
johnnyq627

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Reply with quote  #10 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rafed
Nick,

Sorry to hear about the grief you went through but it looks like it's almost over.

Just be sure to anchor the frame to the ground or else you'll end up like Dorothy from Wizard of Oz.

Edit: never mind the anchor. You did mention it. Duhh

Good luck


Asolutely Rafed! That was one of the lessons we learned the hard way last year... we had bought a plastic tent greenhouse from Lowes last year, 6x8. We had it anchored to four cinder blocks and four of those large corkscrew anchors... Thanksgiving weekend we had a terrible windstorm and heard a big bang... We looked outside and saw our greenhouse in the road, on the opposite side of our house! It threw the cinderblocks like they were nothing, ripped the corkscrews out of the ground and did $750 worth of damage to my neighbor's siding... lesson learned :(

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rafed

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Reply with quote  #11 
I remember a few years ago I was hauling away a can sorter. It was roughly 20' long and 6' high and wide.
It was roughly 2000lbs on wheels!

I used ratchet straps (2000lb test) to strap it into the trailer.

After about the tenth  strap  the customer asked how many am I going to use? I said due to it's weight and the fact it's on wheels you could never have too many straps.

So I say,,, go ahead and anchor away! The more the better.

WillsC

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Reply with quote  #12 
How deep were those screw in anchors in the ground?  
coop951

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Reply with quote  #13 
Looks like a fun project Johnny, wish I had a spot for a greenhouse. Good luck with it, keep those photos coming 
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Ampersand

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Reply with quote  #14 
Wind is amazing...and destructive!

Let me know you ever need help, I'm not far away, as you know.
johnnyq627

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Reply with quote  #15 
Quote:
Originally Posted by WillsC
How deep were those screw in anchors in the ground?  


The corkscrews were probably a foot long and were turned in so they were barely sticking out of the ground. The rain we had gotten loosened the soil, which as all it took.

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johnnyq627

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Reply with quote  #16 
Yesterday we began prepping the polycarbonate panels. The bottom edge will get vent tape, while the top edge will be siliconed to prevent bugs and dirt from entering.

Theresa was not happy with the opacity of the panels...



But then I peeled back the protective film to show her they were clear... got a good laugh out of that one!



This is the venting tape we used. The 2" was half the price as the 1", so we just bought the 2" and cut it in half.



It was pretty easy to put on the panels, but I'll be amazed if it holds up for more than a single season.


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johnnyq627

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Reply with quote  #17 
This year's cuttings are going strong in the office still. The Ronde de Bordeaus have grown way too fast, even with the spider mite problem I had that caused them to all drop their leaves. The black madeira is growing extremely fast as well.



The black madeira has been putting figs on constantly. I finally left a couple on to try to slow down its growth a bit.





I also rooted some of Encanto cuttings. They weren't rooting very well, so I used some hormone and that helped.



These two I cupped in an orchid mix to see how they will do. Coarse bark, coarse perlite, and carbon.



I picked up some potting mix that the local nursery recommended. I'm going to try some cuttings in this mixed with perlite and lime as well.



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rafed

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Reply with quote  #18 
What is this Mum Mix 400?
What can you tell us about it?

I know I can search it but I rather hear it form a user than a seller.

Thanks.
johnnyq627

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Reply with quote  #19 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rafed
What is this Mum Mix 400?
What can you tell us about it?

I know I can search it but I rather hear it form a user than a seller.

Thanks.


I can't say too much about it as I just got it. The nursery owner John said they used to use either UPM or ProMix, but the freight got too high. This stuff is made here in PA.

Here's a pic of the back with components... the fact that it has limestone added was a plus. I need to check the pH of it still...



This is a handfull of it straight out of the bag...



Here is a handfull with some of the light stuff blown off to show the bark...




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rafed

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Reply with quote  #20 
Thanks,

I love to use UPM because it stays moist a bit longer and during the hot and humid summer days this is a plus for my figs. Less wilting. Hence, less stress.
I just started to use the ProMix only because my UPM was frozen but I like it too.

I will give Mum a shot. Assuming I can find it here.

johnnyq627

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Quote:
Originally Posted by rafed
Thanks,

I love to use UPM because it stays moist a bit longer and during the hot and humid summer days this is a plus for my figs. Less wilting. Hence, less stress.
I just started to use the ProMix only because my UPM was frozen but I like it too.

I will give Mum a shot. Assuming I can find it here.



They had another type of Freys similar to this but without the bark added. If you want your soil wet maybe that might be a better option?

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rafed

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Reply with quote  #22 
Bark to me is in a grey area.
Do you want it for drainage? Or do you not want it so your soil can stay moist?
I think it is a personnel preference.

But I do like to use aged pine bark as mulch to top off some of my pots from time to time. I like the smell of it.

I will look into finding both and weigh my options then.
If it is a local product like you mentioned it could very well be just it. A local product.
Hopefully that wont be the case.

Ever consider using Fafard 52 mix?
That's some good stuff there too.





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Reply with quote  #23 
Don't want to hijack Nick's thread but have a question for Rafed. Which ProMix are you using and are you adding anything to it?
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Reply with quote  #24 
I hope Nick doesn't mind but I'm using ProMix HP.
Not adding anything to it at the moment.

I have another set of cuttings that I was planning on adding another 20% to 30% more perlite.

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Reply with quote  #25 
Rafed, thanks my UPM may have dried up.
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Reply with quote  #26 
Sorry to hear this Mike,
Knowing how much you liked it. Maybe you can find it again?

Consider Fafard 52 mix
Sunglo or Sungro? LC1
Or Promix.

Don't mean to hijack your thread Nick,
Would like to go back to the intended topic.
johnnyq627

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Reply with quote  #27 
No problem guys, feel free to go off topic anytime as it's all good information for folks to learn from, including myself!  I checked several nurseries trying to find fafard, UPM, or ProMix.  None of them had any.  A couple of them could order it, but the price was ~$50 for 3cuft... I figured I would try the Freys for $15.



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johnnyq627

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Reply with quote  #28 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ampersand
Wind is amazing...and destructive!

Let me know you ever need help, I'm not far away, as you know.


Thanks Kelby!  Just keep thinking warm thoughts!

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rafed

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Reply with quote  #29 
The local Hydroponics store has these $29.99 ea. or 4/$100.

[image]

Try searching for some Hydroponic stores in your area or search for the small ma and pa nursery stores.
I got my UPM from my uncles place and I paid cost so it was really cheap. But look to pay roughly $15 for a bag. That would be the very large bag.
Fafard 52 mix should be about the same too.

Good luck
johnnyq627

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Reply with quote  #30 
Rafed, if you want something to keep the moisture in, try cocoa shells.  The potting mix I made up with them is great at holding moisture, just be careful not to over water like I did.

The mixes I've used in order of their ability to retain water:

Cocoa shells; even with pine bark and perlite held a tremendous amount of water



Miracle Grow; tried potting a couple of figs in just miracle grow, it was too easy to overwater and the fungus gnats were terrible



Frey's; pictured above

Orchid Mix; picked up at Home Depot, has a real nice porous mix, extremely well draining.







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johnnyq627

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Reply with quote  #31 
Rafed, if you want something to keep the moisture in, try cocoa shells.  The potting mix I made up with them is great at holding moisture, just be careful not to over water like I did.

The mixes I've used in order of their ability to retain water:

Cocoa shells; even with pine bark and perlite held a tremendous amount of water



Miracle Grow; tried potting a couple of figs in just miracle grow, it was too easy to overwater and the fungus gnats were terrible



Frey's; pictured above

Orchid Mix; picked up at Home Depot, has a real nice porous mix, extremely well draining.







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johnnyq627

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Reply with quote  #32 
37 degrees this morning headed to 55. Going to start the fig shuffle. A bit chilly still, but I figure the garage was in the low thirties or high twenties the last few months, so it shouldnt be too big of a change. The green figs in the office will need to wait a while still.
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Reply with quote  #33 
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnnyq627
No problem guys, feel free to go off topic anytime as it's all good information for folks to learn from, including myself!  I checked several nurseries trying to find fafard, UPM, or ProMix.  None of them had any.  A couple of them could order it, but the price was ~$50 for 3cuft... I figured I would try the Freys for $15.




To the best of my knowledge no one in this area carries pro-mix due to the insane freight. If I recall, Freys is out of Lancaster, never seen their soil but their other products are good.
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Reply with quote  #34 
Kelby it can't be any worse than the miracle grow I used on a few of my figs!
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Reply with quote  #35 
Hi Johnnyq627,
Never forget to lock the door of your gh - if the wind sets in, the gh will act like a balloon and try to fly.
Is the gh against a wall or your house? If so, it is better .
Nice project ! Did you mention somewhere the size of the gh ?

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johnnyq627

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Reply with quote  #36 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sppsp
Nick, where do you get the Freys and how does it cost?


Levengoods nursery in Douglassville,Pa. It was somewhere around $20.

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johnnyq627

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdsfrance
Hi Johnnyq627,
Never forget to lock the door of your gh - if the wind sets in, the gh will act like a balloon and try to fly.
Is the gh against a wall or your house? If so, it is better .
Nice project ! Did you mention somewhere the size of the gh ?


It's 10x12. About a foot of it is behind the house, the rest is in the open.

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johnnyq627

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Reply with quote  #38 
Hopefully this warm weather keeps up!

Pulled the figs out for the second day.



They have green tips and are starting to leaf out...



Unfortunately, my conadria is just too large to shuffle, so she'll have to wait a bit longer.



I'm still debating if I should trim her to just the main branches. Thoughts?

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Reply with quote  #39 

Nolt's Produce has the best price on Promix you will find. Not sure if you need a BIN or not, the Amish like cash so I doubt that will be a problem. 

Frey Bros make good mixes and their pine bark soil conditioner was always perfectly sized, expensive but very nice. I switched to Agway PBM but would rather use Freys pine bark for mixes in smaller containers, hard to find in the last couple of years. 


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johnnyq627

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Reply with quote  #40 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hoosierbanana

Nolt's Produce has the best price on Promix you will find. Not sure if you need a BIN or not, the Amish like cash so I doubt that will be a problem. 

Frey Bros make good mixes and their pine bark soil conditioner was always perfectly sized, expensive but very nice. I switched to Agway PBM but would rather use Freys pine bark for mixes in smaller containers, hard to find in the last couple of years. 



Thanks Brent, the next time I'm headed to Lancaster I'll have to check them out!  I've been checking all the local agways looking for their pine nuggets, but so far none have them in stock.

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hoosierbanana

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Reply with quote  #41 
You will need to call Nolts ahead so they can pick your order. Sometimes you need to call a few times for them to answer, especially this time of year.

I remembered there is another place closer to you called Griffin Greenhouse Supplies, have never been but heard good things. It looks like their selection is great.

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Reply with quote  #42 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hoosierbanana
You will need to call Nolts ahead so they can pick your order. Sometimes you need to call a few times for them to answer, especially this time of year.

I remembered there is another place closer to you called Griffin Greenhouse Supplies, have never been but heard good things. It looks like their selection is great.


Thanks I'll have to look it up!

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Reply with quote  #43 
I tried a new rooting method a couple of weeks ago... when I put tip cuttings into spaghnum moss, the tips always seem to rot. So this time, I tried cupping the cuttings with the tip out and put them in a 2 liter greenhouse. So far, both cuttings are showing roots and the black madeira is leafing out!





The cuttings that I rooted in spaghnum moss and then put in the orchid mix are doing well also. One lesson learned... don't wave a newly leafed cutting trying to get a fungus gnat away from it... the leaves WILL fall off!

I also received a package today to try another rooting method with some of the UC Davis cuttings that I received.



The figs in the office have started to spit out figs like crazy! I think I need to cutoff their thrive supplement... it appears to be fig crack!

Black Madeira


Green Ischia


Sodus Sicilian


Sodus Sicilian #2


Ronde de Bordeau



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Reply with quote  #44 
Good morning figgers!

I'll be interested to see if this fig I left on my negronne last year and overwintered will actually swell and ripen this spring!



Also, does anyone know the approximate stagnant period on Black Madeira and RdB figs?

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Reply with quote  #45 
Nick been there done that with figs from previous season in curiosity and it never works.
B.Madeira can take up to 120 days here from time you see it appear on plant Ronde little less also depends on how
much heat and sun plant is given.
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Reply with quote  #46 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dieseler
Nick been there done that with figs from previous season in curiosity and it never works.
B.Madeira can take up to 120 days here from time you see it appear on plant Ronde little less also depends on how
much heat and sun plant is given.


Thanks Martin,

What happens to the leftover figs, do they just drop at some point?

120 days would mean the large BMs would ripen around July and the small ones around August.  Maybe I'll leave them on the tree then and let them do their thing.  I guess I'll see if the BM continues to branch as I would like to get a few branches on it as well this year.  If the figs cause it not to branch, I may need to pull a bunch of them off.

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Reply with quote  #47 
I had a productive day of figgin today!

My Violette Soleis and Black Madeira that I cupped in orchid bark / potting mix are putting out some real healthy roots.



Levengoods nursery called and the coarse perlite I ordered came in. A nice big bad for $24. It wasn't as coarse as I had hoped, but coarser than what the normal HD stuff is at least.



I was able to cup up a Col de Dame cutting as well as another Black Madeira from UC Davis



I picked up a plastic bin to put my root riot figs into



Cut the cuttings into a few nodes each...



Then I poured some clonex into a bottle cap...



I dipped the top end of most in wax and the bottom end in clonex. Then made a label for each fig and did my best to write on the cuttings with a paint pen as well. Fifty cuttings later...



For my wife, I put three tip cuttings into small pots with two liter bottles over them as well.



Not a bad day! I also got a text from my contractor that he hopes to be out this week to start the foundation for the greenhouse... fingers crossed but breath not held.

It is supposed to get cold again tonight so the figs will need to come in. Most are about to leaf out. My negronne is a bit behind the others it seems. My big conadria that I couldnt shuffle must feel left out because it is starting to leaf out in the garage as well.

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Zone 6B/7A - Douglassville, PA
Wish list - Galicia Negra, Paritjal Rimada, Black Ischia UCD
johnnyq627

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Reply with quote  #48 
Looks like we will finally have a few warm days and nights in a row! I pulled my large conadria out to soak up some sun. It is taking a surprisingly long time for the figs to leaf out, they must be looking for that 60+ degree stuff.



Inside, figs are still going full speed. The root riot cubes aren't putting out any noticeable roots yet, but the tops are putting out buds faster than normal. The Nazartis are putting out figs that I will have to remove.



The cupped cuttings that I rooted in sphagnum are growing as well. The Black Madeiras sure are slow when it comes to root growth. I may need to try to hit them with some fertilizer.



My large Black Madeira has hit a sweet spot and stopped putting on a ton of growth and instead is putting on a ton of figs!



It looks like with any luck I will get a ripe main fig off of my Sodus Sicilian so I can try to ID it this year. I hope to plant one in ground this year to see if it is as cold hardy as its parent.



My Malta Black (25) is still putting out additional figs all down it.



Just for fun, here's a picture of my fungus gnat warrior!



It doesn't really solve my gnat problem, but it gives me great joy to see all the gnats being digested!




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Zone 6B/7A - Douglassville, PA
Wish list - Galicia Negra, Paritjal Rimada, Black Ischia UCD
Ampersand

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Reply with quote  #49 
Try putting mulch on your containers for the gnats, I did that for mine and haven't seen any gnats since then. Unless the cats are eating the gnats...they sure like stink bugs.
johnnyq627

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Reply with quote  #50 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ampersand
Try putting mulch on your containers for the gnats, I did that for mine and haven't seen any gnats since then. Unless the cats are eating the gnats...they sure like stink bugs.


I think I've tried just about everything at this point. The bug bombs worked the best, but I would need to do one every few days and I just can't get the dog out of the house for four hours during the work week. For the most part, I haven't seen them do much damage, but they sure are annoying!

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Nick- Youtube: PA Figs | eBay: tdepoala
Zone 6B/7A - Douglassville, PA
Wish list - Galicia Negra, Paritjal Rimada, Black Ischia UCD
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