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Subject: Black Madeira Replies: 23
Posted By: Matt_from_Pittsburgh Views: 759
 
I had one outstanding Preto this year. it was the only one I picked. It didn't even look ripe. There was still a lot of green to the skin and the neck was still firm, but the inside was syrupy, almost purple, and absolutely delicious. I do not expect the rest to ripen. Hoping next year will be better.

Subject: 1st home grown fig - San Pietro Replies: 13
Posted By: Matt_from_Pittsburgh Views: 682
 
Nice work, Ed. That's a good looking fig, and definitely ripe. Sort of an unusual combination of colors with the purple skin and amber-ish flesh. I know Beall and Wuhan have a similar light on the inside/dark on the outside coloration. I wonder if the flavors are similar.

Subject: chicago hardy, mini apple & giant hornet Replies: 10
Posted By: Matt_from_Pittsburgh Views: 583
 
That is so cool. What does it taste like?

Subject: chicago hardy, mini apple & giant hornet Replies: 10
Posted By: Matt_from_Pittsburgh Views: 583
 
Do you need the hornets to be intact to make the vodka? Or do people use squashed ones?

Subject: Fig growers near Pittsburg Replies: 3
Posted By: Matt_from_Pittsburgh Views: 316
 
I got one of my unknowns from the Floros.

Subject: Bunch of figs and ratings Replies: 44
Posted By: Matt_from_Pittsburgh Views: 1,243
 
Art--I'm impressed as always. I also like that the ratings go up to 12.

Subject: Gave up hope months ago Replies: 13
Posted By: Matt_from_Pittsburgh Views: 539
 
Last winter was a bad winter. Temperatures in Pittsburgh went down to -9F.

Although I applied the same moderate winter protection that worked just fine in previous years, my four year-old LSU Tiger (my only in-ground tree) died to the soil this past winter. I cut the tree down over four months ago, and I haven't seen any signs of life since.

So I was surprised and happy to see a few new shoots poking up through the mulch this morning. Sort of miraculous.

LSU Tiger.jpg 


Subject: heresy alert - muscadines Replies: 16
Posted By: Matt_from_Pittsburgh Views: 590
 
Pino--I reallly like Muscats. None of the supermarkets around me carry them, but I see them at ethnic grocers sometimes and at this one little produce store in West Virginia.

Subject: heresy alert - muscadines Replies: 16
Posted By: Matt_from_Pittsburgh Views: 590
 
I know that muscadines are mostly rated for zones 7 and up. Just curious to see if anyone has tried them in zone 6, anyway.

Subject: heresy alert - muscadines Replies: 16
Posted By: Matt_from_Pittsburgh Views: 590
 
Anyone grow muscadines in zone 6?

Subject: Figo Preto Replies: 55
Posted By: Matt_from_Pittsburgh Views: 2,309
 
Nice work, Art. Your figs are way ahead of mine. I don't expect any Figo Preto to ripen this month.

Subject: Below average temps Replies: 18
Posted By: Matt_from_Pittsburgh Views: 672
 
This is a bad year for figs, but I've never gotten so much use out of my sunroom. It's usually uninhabitable this time of year. Also unusual to smell people burning wood in their fireplaces in August.

Subject: Almost daily here in Pa Replies: 13
Posted By: Matt_from_Pittsburgh Views: 513
 
I thought you were going to say rain. No color on my main crop figs yet. Nice haul.

Subject: Message to Jon and my friends (update post #$49) Replies: 160
Posted By: Matt_from_Pittsburgh Views: 6,925
 
There are a ton of great people on this forum. There are very few who have contributed as much as Rafed.

I don't know the whole story here, but I find it troubling and just plain sad that a guy like Rafed--who clearly loves the hobby, who has taken a leadership role in the success of the forum and the foundation, who has made lots of friends here, and who has demonstrated kindness and generosity over and over again to members old and new--would choose to walk away.

Rafed--I hope you don't go, I'll be sad to see you go if you do, but I know you have your reasons and I respect that.

It seems like a lot of the best people have dropped out lately. I don't know what we can do to fix that, but I really hope we can figure it out.

Subject: Auction to benefit the Foundation? Replies: 130
Posted By: Matt_from_Pittsburgh Views: 3,691
 
Wow. When I started reading this thread about a cutting board, I never expected to end up here. Cheers all around. It's been a wild ride.

Subject: When did Hardy Chicago start to ripen where you are? Replies: 23
Posted By: Matt_from_Pittsburgh Views: 946
 
JDS--I was just looking get a rough sense of where people were in their seasons, so I didn't think that level of detail was necessary. It's a five-year old tree in a pot. As you may have inferred from the leaf stems below the figs, these are main crop. I fertilize the tree once a week until I stop fertilizing. I water it a couple of times a day unless there's rain. No idea when the figs appeared. I'm sure the tree would be more relaxed and at peace with itself in the ground and in a better climate. It's got about 150 figs on it, which I expect to be perfectly tasty as in past years, so to be honest, I'm not super worried about it.

Subject: When did Hardy Chicago start to ripen where you are? Replies: 23
Posted By: Matt_from_Pittsburgh Views: 946
 
I'm in Pittsburgh. Still a couple weeks away at least. 

I'm curious to see where everyone is in their fig season. I figured Hardy Chicago would be a good measure since it's an early fig that's also pretty common.

Post pictures if you have 'em. It'd be cool to see the variation.

EDIT: Here's where mine stand as of five minutes ago (there are some slightly bigger ones, but the ones at the tip of this branch were the easiest to photograph and it's raining):

HC 8-2-14.jpg 

Subject: Where's Martin? Replies: 13
Posted By: Matt_from_Pittsburgh Views: 743
 
I miss Martin. Hope he's well.

Subject: Breakfast and Dinner Replies: 19
Posted By: Matt_from_Pittsburgh Views: 678
 
Wow. Those look great.

Subject: Lucca White Unk Replies: 7
Posted By: Matt_from_Pittsburgh Views: 433
 
Very nice. Still waiting on my brebas to ripen.

Does it have a main crop?


Subject: OT: look at the size of these blackberries Replies: 34
Posted By: Matt_from_Pittsburgh Views: 802
 
Anyone try Kiowa? They're huge, but I've heard mixed reviews of the flavor.

Subject: Preto or Black Madeira? Replies: 21
Posted By: Matt_from_Pittsburgh Views: 1,332
 
Preto on the right?

Subject: People who lost in ground trees this winter--will you try again? Replies: 15
Posted By: Matt_from_Pittsburgh Views: 1,092
 
I only had one in ground tree, and it died this winter. I had been planning to plant a few more trees in the yard once they got big enough, but I'm thinking no at this point.

Subject: Free Trees in Pittsburgh Replies: 23
Posted By: Matt_from_Pittsburgh Views: 1,763
 
Hey mbm,

Some of the nurseries around town sell fig trees. I've seen them at Brenckle's, Hahn's, and Soergel's in the North Hills and Trax and Bedner's in the South Hills. Lowe's usually has some for $10 or under. I've seen trees labeled Hardy Chicago and Brown Turkey. Some places don't name the variety. I haven't bought trees from any of them, so I can't vouch for any place in particular.

Personally, I'd recommend buying a tree from a reputable mail order place or a forum member. Hardy Chicago and Violette de Bordeaux have both done well for me. They're both widely available and relatively cheap.

If you're still looking for something in the fall, send me a pm. I'd be happy to send you some cuttings.


Subject: Free Trees in Pittsburgh Replies: 23
Posted By: Matt_from_Pittsburgh Views: 1,763
 
Travis--the in ground tree is a four year-old LSU Tiger. It's been in ground since 2011. The roots may still be alive, but everything else died over the winter.

Subject: Free Trees in Pittsburgh Replies: 23
Posted By: Matt_from_Pittsburgh Views: 1,763
 
Pittsburgh people--

How'd your in ground trees fare this winter? My one in ground tree died to the roots, despite some moderate protection.

Subject: Encounter at the farmers market Replies: 31
Posted By: Matt_from_Pittsburgh Views: 1,144
 
Dennis--this is awesome news. Good luck in your ventures. Sounds like you're off to a pretty strong start.

Subject: Danny's Delite and Desert King Replies: 1
Posted By: Matt_from_Pittsburgh Views: 408
 
I started a Danny's Delite in 2009. It produced (but dropped) a couple of brebas in 2010. Since then, nothing. The buds just broke and it looks like there won't be any brebas this year, at all. Never a main crop. I was holding out a little hope that the green Danny's Delite might just be a mislabeled Desert King.

Anyone have any luck with Danny's Delite?

People who grow Desert King--how long does it take to come into production? Are the twigs thin? Thoughts on whether they're the same?

Subject: World's Hottest Pepper - OT Replies: 76
Posted By: Matt_from_Pittsburgh Views: 2,700
 
Hot peppers generally and ghost peppers in particular need a long season to ripen. Overwintering is great way to increase your yield if you have the climate outside or the space inside. I've been growing the same ghost pepper plant since 2011. It requires very little effort to do. I keep a few plants in a sunny room over the winter. I have a plant bulb in the overhead fixture and I keep it on for 12-14 hours a day. If you hand pollinate the flowers, you can harvest peppers all year long.

Subject: My oldest inground tree is alive Replies: 29
Posted By: Matt_from_Pittsburgh Views: 744
 
Side note: if anyone in Pittsburgh's looking for burlap coffee bags, stop by Prestogeorge in the Strip. They sell them out front for a dollar sometimes, and sometimes they'll give them away if you ask.

Subject: My oldest inground tree is alive Replies: 29
Posted By: Matt_from_Pittsburgh Views: 744
 
Nice work, Art. My only in ground tree died back to the roots this year. It's a four year-old LSU Tiger. It's usually fine wrapped up in a burlap coffee bag underneath a plastic tarp, but this was no ordinary winter.

Subject: OT - Lychees and Longans Replies: 6
Posted By: Matt_from_Pittsburgh Views: 451
 
I love lychees. Longans seem to be available more often, and while I don't like them as much as lychees, they're still pretty good. That said, I bought the best bag of longans I've ever had yesterday. They're soft, sweet, and super juicy. I really didn't know they could get so good. I think they're in season in Florida now. If you see them in the store, I definitely recommend giving them a try.

Subject: Winter-Kill...Tree Death, and Tissue Damage....Prevention???? Replies: 21
Posted By: Matt_from_Pittsburgh Views: 1,198
 
This extra-cold winter has actually been okay for the trees I have stored in my garage. My garage is attached but off to the side and unheated. This is the first year for me where everything stayed dormant all the way through March. It might be a coincidence, but I think the frigid temperatures kept the trees dormant longer.

Subject: Using Reiki Energies To Identify Three Fig Types: Common Figs, Caprifigs And San Pedro Figs And Also Their Cultivar Names Replies: 133
Posted By: Matt_from_Pittsburgh Views: 4,796
 
I enjoyed this thread. Tam--thanks for trying something a little out there. It was fun to watch.

Subject: OT: Paw Paw Varities Replies: 19
Posted By: Matt_from_Pittsburgh Views: 2,019
 
Check out Peterson Pawpaws: http://www.petersonpawpaws.com/index.php

They're responsible for some of the most popular cultivars. There are pictures and descriptios of the varieties on the site, and they have a list of sellers, some of which Bill mentioned above.

Subject: OT: Sushi Replies: 14
Posted By: Matt_from_Pittsburgh Views: 716
 
I love sushi. There's a documentary called "Jiro Dreams of Sushi" that I really enjoyed. It follows this 80-something sushi master who runs a small restaurant in Tokyo. The guy is absolutely obsessed with making his (already renowned) sushi better. Maybe he takes it a little too seriously, but it's sort of inspiring to see someone put everything they have into improving something they've been doing so well for so long.

Subject: I thought I had heard it all, and had seen most!!! Replies: 11
Posted By: Matt_from_Pittsburgh Views: 802
 
Curry ketchup is so good but it's never really caught on in the U.S.

Subject: How many ripe figs make a productive potted fig tree Replies: 60
Posted By: Matt_from_Pittsburgh Views: 6,170
 
My most productive fig tree last year was a four year-old Hardy Chicago in what I'm guessing is a 7-10 gallon pot. It ripened 90 figs. Most of my other three or four year-old trees in similar-sized pots ripened 30-50 figs.

Subject: OT - Recommendations Appreciated For Excellent Tasting Goose Berries Replies: 12
Posted By: Matt_from_Pittsburgh Views: 778
 
I have a poorman that I got from Hartmann's a few years ago. The berries are delicious. They're pretty sweet when fully ripened. They have a kiwi-type flavor. I've had no issues with mold or parasites.

Subject: Georgia White Replies: 22
Posted By: Matt_from_Pittsburgh Views: 1,720
 
I have this fig. It needs some heat to ripen fully.

Subject: Hardy Fig Prospects/Etiquette Replies: 16
Posted By: Matt_from_Pittsburgh Views: 1,434
 
Thanks, Ed. It should be the same one that Jon has. I sent him some cuttings when I cut them from the mother tree.

Subject: Hardy Fig Prospects/Etiquette Replies: 16
Posted By: Matt_from_Pittsburgh Views: 1,434
 
Thanks, Mike. The fruit is main crop. It's pretty small and can dry on the tree, which reminds me of celeste. So far, no brebas, but last year was just its second season. The tree is pretty well protected in that spot. You can see the shadows from a nearby evergreen hedge, too. Can't remember the eye color. The most consistent feature is the long, skinny neck. Skin color is red or brown.

Subject: Hardy Fig Prospects/Etiquette Replies: 16
Posted By: Matt_from_Pittsburgh Views: 1,434
 
I did eventually get cuttings from this tree. The owner brought the tree from Italy but didn't know the name. Below is a picture of the mother tree and then the leaves and fruit from the tree I grew. The owner does not protect the tree, and the year that I took the cuttings and the picture of the tree we had a low of 4F. If I had to guess, I would say it's Celeste, but I think it might be different. Very tasty. For now, I've been calling it Hardy Pittsburgh. Any thoughts on the variety?

HP Tree 1 2-20-12.jpg 
HP Leaf.jpg 
HP 2.jpg 

HP 1.jpg 


Subject: Crown Replies: 15
Posted By: Matt_from_Pittsburgh Views: 1,606
 
Here's another update of an old unknown fig post. I only managed to rooty one of the cuttings that I kept for myself. I accidentally planted it upside down, which seemed to slow down the growth. This year was the first that I got figs to ripen. Very tasty.

I missed the replies from Gorgi and Bugs from 2011. Sorry, guys.

FTG2-2.jpg 

FTG2-1.jpg 
FTG2-3.jpg 


Subject: Unknown White Italian Replies: 11
Posted By: Matt_from_Pittsburgh Views: 1,244
 
I'm going through and updating some of my old posts for the unknowns I've grown. This tree produces a good breba crop and usually two main crops. The fruit is usually a little more of a gold color and the interior is a deeper amber. It's an unknown honey type. I call it Macchione after the guy I got it from.

Macchione Tree.jpg 

Macchione.jpg 
Macchione Interior.jpg 
Macchione 3.jpg 
Macchione 2.jpg 


Subject: OT Monarch in Jeopardy! Replies: 15
Posted By: Matt_from_Pittsburgh Views: 776
 
For anyone who's interested in invertebrate conservation, check out the Xerces Society: http://www.xerces.org/

Subject: OT: blueberries Replies: 83
Posted By: Matt_from_Pittsburgh Views: 3,140
 
You should be able to grow northern highbush and rabbiteye in 7b. If you pick out a mix of early, mid, and late season varieties, you should be able to ripen blueberries from late June/early July through early September. Birds love blueberries and will take them all if you don't cage or net them. I like chandler and jersey for northern highbush. They don't sell retail, but Fall Creek Nursery has a good guide to varieties: http://www.fallcreeknursery.com/nursery/variety/nursery_northern-highbush

If your soil's all clay, dig the holes extra big and add some peat. It takes the plants a few years to ramp up to good productivity, so I think it's worthwhile to buy bigger plants.

Subject: woo hoo! went over 5000 post! Replies: 25
Posted By: Matt_from_Pittsburgh Views: 857
 
Thanks for picking up some of the slack for those of us still in the low three digits.

Subject: OT - Rooting Gooseberry Cuttings Replies: 6
Posted By: Matt_from_Pittsburgh Views: 539
 
I agree that in ground is the best and easiest way. I just received the cutting yesterday and the ground is frozen here. So my options are rooting it indoors or storing it in the fridge until spring.

Gene--what kind of soil do you use when you root in a pot?

Thanks, guys.

Subject: OT - Rooting Gooseberry Cuttings Replies: 6
Posted By: Matt_from_Pittsburgh Views: 539
 
I have one gooseberry cutting that I want to propagate. Can anyone recommend a reliable mid-winter rooting method? I tried sphagnum moss last year with no luck. Thanks!

 

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