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Subject: The Sweetest fig of 2013 - Violet Sepor Replies: 20
Posted By: robertharper Views: 2,278

Dennis, I think the last time you and I talked, I think I remember you saying that White Traina and Celeste was your two top sweetest figs you have ever tasted.

Is the Violet Sepor in your opinion sweeter then White Triana?

Bob @ T. Pine zone 5b/6a Connecticut

Subject: Ronde de Bordeaux Replies: 15
Posted By: robertharper Views: 2,438

While checking our inventory of Ronde de Bordeauxs, I noticed three 7 gallon pots among the 10 or so one gallon pots of Ronde de Bordeaux, and other selections, that had not been picked up by an out of state customer.

There were several figs on one of the 7 gallon Ronde de Bordeaux. So, I got a chance to taste my first Ronded de Bordeaux, in five years It was okay. But, in my opinion not as good as our version of Abruzzi. Which ripen about a week earlier, this year.

Plus, the Abruzzi was only about three years old. Were the Ronde de Bordeaux was over 5 years old. But, of course it all depends on what one expects in a fig. Most of the time I like a fig that is very figgy, and very sweet. The Abruzzi had both of those qualities this year.

Bob @ T. Pine Connecticut zone5b/6a


Subject: Ronde de Bordeaux Replies: 15
Posted By: robertharper Views: 2,438
Our trees are 5 to 10 feet tall.

Bob @ T. Pine zone 5b/6a Connecticut

Subject: Improved Celeste and Florea,The earliest varieties to ripe,here. Replies: 56
Posted By: robertharper Views: 5,519
Don't know Herman. All of my postings are conditional. I Have not been testing figs long enough to draw any conclusive facts. I was surprise to see them ripening very late August - early September.

There could be some factor that I'm over looking

I do know we are about three to four weeks behind you on all figs ripening here.

There are many figs called Abruzzi. I hope this happens to be a variant that is extra early.

I will take some pictures of the leaf and the fruit and post them later, for your identification.

Bob @ T. Pine zone 5b/6a Connecticut

Subject: Improved Celeste and Florea,The earliest varieties to ripe,here. Replies: 56
Posted By: robertharper Views: 5,519
Herman, I know your looking for reports on the earliness of in ground figs.

But, I would like to make note that out of all our potted figs,Our Abruzzi selection ripened before Improved Celeste, this year, 2013.

Our potted Improved Celeste is still green. But, I have been picking Abruzzi now for over a week.

I hope this is going to be true also, when we place Abruzzi in ground.

I will know better next year.

Bob @ T. Pine zone 5b/6a Connecticut

Subject: Ronde de Bordeaux Replies: 15
Posted By: robertharper Views: 2,438
Bugs, we are testing our figs in ground. We bend the figs to the ground.  We cover with about 4 inches of dry soil or dry compost. Then we cover that with the aluminum type of insulation, to keep the top and the roots dry during the winter.

We do have new arrivals in pots that over winter in our basement. But, that is until they are large enough to become hardy enough to be planted outside.

Bob @ T. Pine zone 5b/6a Connecticut

Subject: Ronde de Bordeaux Replies: 15
Posted By: robertharper Views: 2,438
Ryan, We got our start of Ronde de Bordeaux from Bass. So they should be Identical.

The rest of us our always complaining about the rain spoiling our figs. But, from Martins pictures, it looks like he has found a way around the rain spoiling his figs when they are ripening.

We started out acquiring figs to test for cold hardiness. But, now we are also testing and looking for figs that can ripen like Martin's figs, even when it rains.

Herman, seems to think Nero 600M, just might be that fig.

Bob @ T. Pine - Connecticut Zone5b/6a

Subject: Ronde de Bordeaux Replies: 15
Posted By: robertharper Views: 2,438
We have had Ronde de Bordeaux now for about 5 years. But, I have never had a chance to taste the fruit.

About four years ago before ours started to bear, we started getting so many advance request for Ronde de Bordeaux, that for the past four years or so I have been all but cutting our one in ground tree down to the ground, to make enough one gallon potted plants for our customers.

Plus, we have had a lot of customers who bought a Ronde de Bordeaux three years ago, are coming back looking for one or two more.

So, I would say that is a good testament to the flavor of this fig. Fig collectors don't buy the same fig a second time unless it has really out standing taste.

If I can learn how Martin gets such fantastic looking fruit from his potted Ronde de Bordeaux, I'm going to try and hold unto at least one potted plant for my self this year. Because it looks like our in ground stock plant will never get a chance to bear.

Bob - Zone 5b/6a Connecticut


Subject: Sal's EL Replies: 17
Posted By: robertharper Views: 1,363
Back in the middle of the 90's, one of the people who got me interested in growing and testing northern climate, cold hardy figs, was Paul Tracesky. He and Hanc Matthies introduced Sal's EL.

After years of testing I have read that Paul got rid of all his figs, except his Sal's EL.

Here, our testing has confirmed it is a fig tree that will ripen sweet fruit even if the summer was cool. It has also proven to be northern climate, old hardy fig here in Connecticut's zone 5b/6a.

It became a heavy bearing fig in it's fourth year here.

Does not have a sophisticated taste like Danny's Delight. But, because it produces sweet figs even after a cool summer, and it is a heavy bearing fig. It should be in every collectors collection for those bad cool summers we have at times in the Northeast. It is a keeper.

Bob @ T. Pine Connecticut - Zone 5b/6a 

Subject: Black Maderia vs Ronde de Bordeaux Replies: 42
Posted By: robertharper Views: 2,665
Herman, the last time I talked to you, you were trying to determine whether or not Danny's Delight and Malta Black were the same fig.

Have you been able to make a determination yet?

Bob @ T. Pine - Connecticut Zone 5b/6a

Subject: Black Maderia vs Ronde de Bordeaux Replies: 42
Posted By: robertharper Views: 2,665
We, grow and sell both. But, like Herman said, for the Northeast I think Ronde de Bordeaux is the best.

However, Martin says that he is getting very good results growing Black Madeira in a pot on his drive way.

I have never been able to get a sizable harvest from pot grown figs, like Martin does. They always end up getting stressed from to much heat, not enough water, not enough nutrients, or all three.

Martin could you detail how you get such good results using pots verses in ground. Are you using self watering pots, and what type of potting mixture do you use to provide the plant with all of its nutrient requirements?

Bob @ T. Pine - Connecticut Zone 5b/6a 

Subject: Ronde de Bordeaux Replies: 15
Posted By: robertharper Views: 901
A high quality fig. It has been one of our best sellers this year. Out of the fifty one gallon pots we started, we sold about forty already.

Once it starts bearing it is a heavy bearing fig, that is more then just a sweet fig.

We have had our's in ground now for four years. It bends to the ground very easily without breaking.
We were able to bend four year old trunks to the ground without breaking.

This is a very important feature for those who have to winterize their figs.

Bob @ T. Pine - Connecticut Zone 5b/6a 

Subject: souther brown turkey Replies: 59
Posted By: robertharper Views: 4,273
Here is another picture of a leaf of a variant of Southern Brown Turkey. This is what Hanc Mathies called his English Brown Turkey.

Much later after seeing pictures of the fruit, Herman Identified it as a Southern Brown Turkey.

As you can see from the leaves, Hanc's English Brown Turkey aka Southern Brown Turkey, can produce some massive leaves. Plus, here in Connecticut it's a very strong grower. It seems also to be able resist FMV with ease.  

Our plant is only two years old. But, it is already over six feet tall.

We got our start from a good friend and fellow collector, who got his start directly from Hanc.

Bob @ T. Pine - Connecticut Zone 5b/6a

Attached Images
jpeg FIGS_&_PECAN_7-1-13_007_(640x480).jpg (219.58 KB, 110 views)
jpeg FIGS_&_PECAN_7-1-13_004_(640x480).jpg (236.84 KB, 107 views)

Subject: Background and Hardiness possibility of Fico "Valle Negra" Replies: 31
Posted By: robertharper Views: 2,864
I think that Giuseppe's experience with cold hardy figs, confirms what i have noticed here in Connecticut.

We have been growing & testing cold hardy figs here now, for around 8 years.

I'm starting to notice that deep cold is not the only problem in getting figs through our cold northern winters. Figs must also be protected against winter wind, and winter and spring sun.

Giuseppe's closest weather station is Rochester. Rochester showed a winter low of minus 12 degrees Fahrenheit, in 2004. To me Spencerport is possibly a 5b/6a, zone. Giuseppe is keeping his figs in a detached, unheated garage. So, I can't see the inside of his garage being warmer then the outside, minus the winter wind.

The first time I saw of Giuseppe reporting on Valle Negra, he indicted that it was able to keep it's breba, while enduring his winters, in his detached, unheated garage. My experience has been if a fig can keep it's breba at minus 10 degrees and lower, there is a pretty good chance that it can produce a main crop of figs in a zone 6a most of the time. That is if it is protected from winter wind, and winter and spring sun. Plus, the other winter survival techniques that must be used in growing figs in cold climates. 

On top of being cold hardy, some collectors are indicating that our Northeast rainy fall weather does not water down it's flavor. That's a big plus.

Of the two dozen or so cold hardy figs that we are currently growing, testing and or selling, I would put Valle Negra in the top half dozen figs, that show a lot of potential for us northern growers.

Are there any growers who have been growing Valle Negra and Nero 600M side by side?

I'm hearing from some growers that they are the same. But, have heard other growers say they are not. Is it possible there are different strains of Valle Negra?

Can any one else add their experience gowning these two, side by side? 

Bob Connecticut Zone 5b/6a 

Subject: Background and Hardiness possibility of Fico "Valle Negra" Replies: 31
Posted By: robertharper Views: 2,864
Thanks for the additional info Maggie.

Have a few questions.

# 1. Any idea of how far up the mountain from Breno, does Valle Negra grow.

# 2. Is there more then one Valle Negra, or are there different strains?

# 3. Any idea of how far from Breno, is Robbia, Switzerland?

# 4. In checking my source for historical weather, the closest I could get for a weather station, for Breno, was Robbia, Switzerland.  They have a recorded a low of 3 degrees February 1, 2010.But, I could not find any weather data for the area beyond 2007.

Has any one been able to get the lowest  winter weather readings for Breno it's self?

Thanks again for the research on this.

Bob Connecticut - zone 5b/6a

Subject: Do you have main crop embryos ,visible at this time? Replies: 79
Posted By: robertharper Views: 4,175
I Reported on 6-1-13, that Abruzzi was our first potted main crop fig to show embryos. Have to make a correction. Behind the Abruzzi were I did not at first notice it, there was a Hardy Hartford. It to has embryos, about the size of a grain of rice.

So, that would put Abruzzi and Hardy Hartford as our first main crop figs to appear, for 2013. But, in the past Hardy Hartford has not ripened it's crop until September. But we are at least 200 miles north of Herman

Bob - Connecticut - zone 5b/6a 

Subject: Do you have main crop embryos ,visible at this time? Replies: 79
Posted By: robertharper Views: 4,175
We have in pots, Marseilles Black VS, Atreano, Hardy Hartford, Gino's Black, Improved Celeste, Fortisi, Ronde de Bordeaux, Abruzzi, Sal's EL, just to name a few.

So far, Abruzzi, is the only one that has figs starting.  It appears our strain of Abruzzi, may be the earlist of the figs we are testing.

The only other fig that has impressed me this year, is Laradek's English Brown Turkey. It was held in storage like the Abruzzi. But it has breba as large as small peaches, and it is only 12 months old.
It looks to me like maybe LaRadek's English Brown Turkey, just might end up being the Desert King for the north.

So, for us the earliest for embryo development for main crop figs is Abruzzi, and LaRadek's English Brown for breba.

Both are in pots, and out of the two dozen or so of our cold hardy figs we are testing, these are the two standouts so far, this year.

Bob - Connecticut - zone 5b/6a 

Subject: Do you have main crop embryos ,visible at this time? Replies: 79
Posted By: robertharper Views: 4,175

Subject: those growing Kathleen's Black... Replies: 7
Posted By: robertharper Views: 754
I have been told by some well known collectors, who know their figs, that Kathleen's Black, just might be a very cold hardy sport of Black Mission.

I do not have Black Mission growing. So, I can not compare it to our Kathleen's Black. But, It sure acts like a Mission fig here in our zone 5b/6a. It's first two years here it froze back to the ground. That was after it was bent to the ground and covered. Then this last winter, it still lost 75 percent of it's top. It is with out a doubt, the most cold sensitive in ground fig we have.

I only keep it because Gene Hosey once told me that, once I tasted his Kathleen's Black, I would feed my Hardy Chicago to the pigs. 

So, with an endorsement like that, I keep hoping it will become more adapted to our cold location.

But, for any one who is lucky enough to live in a zone 7 or warmer area, they are lucky that Gene brought this, maybe Black Mission, to our attention.

Bob Connecticut Zone 5b/6a

Subject: Fig cultivars cold hardeness , differences!? Replies: 29
Posted By: robertharper Views: 2,639
What I have noticed here in Connecticut, is that there are ninet things that dictate whether or not a test fig plant makes it through the winter, without dying.

Number one is the main factor. It must be a fig that has cold hardiness in it's DNA

Number two: protection from winter wind.

Number three: How much green growth has been allowed to stay on the plant going into winter. Pinching helps tremendously in harden the tips of limbs, and branches. 

Number four: How wet is the ground going into winter.

Number five: The use of to much nitrogen, has caused rank growth.

Number six: Was the plant allowed to carry to many green figs into the first frost day.

Number seven: How healthy was the plant going into winter. Did it have strong growth. Or did it have stunted growth.

Number eight: Late winter and or early spring sun, will kill parts of the plant that survived the winter cold. Come early spring the plant is warmed by the sun hitting it and sap starts to flow upward. Then at night when the temperature starts to drop back below freezing, the parts with all that sap in it freezes, on the side where the sun hit it. All of our plants that were ever alive through the winter, but died during the spring, you can see the dead parts are all on the south side of the plant. But the tissue on the north  side of the plant, is green.

Number nine: Did the plant ripen it's fruit early enough to have time to divert energy toward building strength, instead of ripening fruit. 

Bob  Connecticut zone 5/6a

Subject: Fig cultivars cold hardeness , differences!? Replies: 29
Posted By: robertharper Views: 2,639
Herman, I have noticed here also that the hardiest figs tend to leaf out later then the more tender figs.
We appear to be always about 10 degrees colder then you are during the winter months.

Here in our location it only got down to a low of 0 degrees, this last winter.

I too have also noticed that it takes more then just being cold hardy for figs to be successful in the north. So, there is something else at play, besides just being cold hardy.

I have noticed that the most cold hardy figs here will break bud a month later then the more tender figs.

The latest figs to break bud here, have been Marseilles Black VS, and Gino's. I suspect that Gino's just might prove to be one of the most cold hardy figs that we are testing.

I'm still not impressed with Hardy Chicago's cold hardiness. 

The most cold tender in ground fig this last winter, was once again Kathleen's Black. Even with a lot of insulation it still lost a lot of stems to cold.

I see your having good luck with Malta Black also. Keep us posted after this summer, and let us know if you still think that Danny's Delight and Malta Black, might be the same fig.

Bob Connecticut Zone 5b/6a

Subject: Bayernfeige Violetta / Violet Bavaria Replies: 20
Posted By: robertharper Views: 3,308

Bayernfeige Violetta, is considered a English Brown Turkey by many collectors.

Here it's a very sweet, large, late fig. Needs a lot of management. 

Not sure about the claim of it being very frost resistant. I think they mean it's resistant against early fall  frost.

Don't see how it can be spring frost resistant. As it is one of the first to break bud here.

In my opinion, Marseilles Black VS, and Gino's are what I call frost resistant. Both of those two break bud as much as a month later then Bayernfeige Violetta.

I don't consider Bayernfeige Violetta a fig for the conissuer . Here it has a very sweet figgy taste. Nothing sophisitcated in taste, like maybe Danny's Delight.

Nor, do I consider it overly cold hardy. Maybe cold hardy to minus 4 to 6 degrees Fahrenheite.
A zone 6b maybe, without winter protection, once it's mature?

Our biggest problem with it has been the very sweet fruit draws tons of flies, in the fall. So, we have to put mosquito netting over it to keep the flies off the fruit.

It's are sweetest fig.

Bob Connecticut zone 5b/6a

Subject: COLD HARDY FIG WINTER TEST RESULTS 2012/2013 Replies: 17
Posted By: robertharper Views: 3,320
Calvin - No all winter snow cover. The snow comes and goes.

Austin - Never tested Vista because it has been said that it is not a cold hardy winter fig.

Mike - When most people think of a cold a hardy fig, they think Hardy Chicago. All the collectors I know do not consider Hardy Chicago the most cold hardy fig. I rate Hardy Chicago, a zone 6b fig. Hardy Chicago, died back to ground level or almost ground level, for at least 5 years. This happen although it was planed in our best micro-climate. The V of our chimney is south facing. Even with cold hardy figs winter wind protection is a must.
The fifty percent of the Brooklyn White that was lost, was all above the top of the boulder, it is planted next to.  

Greg - Glad to hear your MBVS, is doing well. Your reserved Danny's Delight is about 8" High. It should be ready to ship, some time in June.

Remp - Didn't I email you  a list of our other figs we are testing?

Andy - Here Hardy Chicago will not put on more then a half dozen or so figs, unless it gets at least 8 hours of direct sun light. Marseilles Black will produce a least a hundred, with less then 6 hours of direct sun light. I know of collectors who are getting as many as 200 figs from three Year old Marseilles Black VS plants.

Harvey - Given enough direct sun light all the figs we are testing are productive. But, the most productive would be Bayernfeige Violetta. Like a lot of English Brown Turkeys, about 80 percent of the figs have to be removed. But, you would still end up with at least 100 fruit.

Bob - Connecticut zone 5b/6a

Subject: COLD HARDY FIG WINTER TEST RESULTS 2012/2013 Replies: 17
Posted By: robertharper Views: 3,320
This is our cold hardy fig winter test results report, for winter 2012/2013.

While uncovering figs spring of 2012, I noticed that in our rush to cover up the figs, start of winter 2011, I over looked one Marseilles Black VS, seven month old, 12" Tall sucker. Then upon checking the seven month old sucker, I was surprise to see that it was green, and alive right up to it's tip.

Although, our winter of 2011/2012 did not get any lower then 5 degrees, I thought that was impressive, for a plant that was no more then seven months old. We were planning on starting our winter uncovered figs testing, after our figs reached five years of age. But since this one little sucker did so well, we decided to start our cold hardy fig testing earlier. So winter of 2012/2013 we left uncovered one of three, five foot tall, Marseilles Black VS, one of two Hardy Chicago plants, and one Brooklyn White.

Brooklyn White and Marseilles Black VS, are planted about ten feet apart next to a four foot tall boulder. The Marseilles Black VS, is about five feet tall, and the Brooklyn White is about four feet tall. The Hardy Chicago was pruned down to about three feet at the start of winter, and occupies a microclimate, in the V of our chimney.

The Brooklyn White lost 50% of it's top. The eight year old Hardy Chicago did not suffer any winter damage. The four year old, five foot, Marseilles Black VS, did not suffer any winter damage either. Our 2012/2013 winter did not get any lower then 0 degrees. It has been rather warm the last two winters, in our cold Connecticut, zone 5b/6a location.

We are growing and testing around 25 or so figs. Figs that have been classified as cold hardy. Paul Tracesky, tested Hardy Chicago, Sal's EL, and other figs for several years, in this part of Connecticut, during the middle of the 1990's. Paul had come to the conclusion after his trial testing, that Hardy Chicago was not the most cold hardy fig, and that he thought Sal's EL, was more cold hardy the Hardy Chicago. After his testing period, he kept only one fig, his Sal's EL. I agree with Paul, on his test results.

Marseilles Black VS, is superior to to Hardy Chicago, being able to withstand more cold, then Hardy Chicago. Plus Marseilles Black VS, does not need as much direct sun light, as Hardy Chicago needs to to produce a large crop of figs.

Although, we have many more cold hardy figs being grown and tested here. Plus, several that look like they may even do better then Marseilles Black VS, and Sal's EL. The two that we still recommend to our new gardening customers, in cold areas like ours, is Paul's selection, Sal's EL, and it's now replacement, Marseilles Black VS.

Attached, our winter pictures of Hardy Chicago, and Marseilles Black VS.

Bob - Connecticut zone 5b/6a


Attached Images
jpeg MARSEILLES_BLACK_VS_2012-2013_-_-0F_(480x640).jpg (219.52 KB, 176 views)
jpeg HARDY_CHICAGO_2012-2013_-0F_(480x640).jpg (168.20 KB, 160 views)

Subject: LaRadek's EBT in the winter Replies: 14
Posted By: robertharper Views: 2,083
Ed - Not sure. But, my impression is it ripens it's breba most years. The owner has had his tree for the last 17 years.

Peter - We have only been able to identify about 4 figs that might have the potential to be grown in a zone 5, with out winterizing, once the tree has reached maturity. Marseilles Black VS, LaRadek's EBT, Hanc's EBT, and Florea. But, we have just started testing in ground trees with out protection the last two years.

Kerry - Thanks for the support.

Frank - The only commercial source I know of is Adriano's in Canada. That is if you call back yard business's like Adriano's and ours, commercial. Most of the above 4 can be started by obtaining cutting form F4F members.

If one Googles LaRadek's English Brown Turkey, you will see a European fig home page called, "Figovniky".There are members there who are willing to trade. Of the four we only have Marseilles Black VS ,ready as one gallon plants.

It will not be until 2015, that we will have enough one gallon plants of the other three. It takes a long time to build up stock.

Bob - Connecticut Zone 5b/6a

Subject: LaRadek's EBT in the winter Replies: 14
Posted By: robertharper Views: 2,083
Attached is a picture taken by the owner of LaRadek's English Brown Turkey.

The picture was taken during one of it's winters in Kjyovice, Czechoslovakia, zone 5b/6a.

The most amazing thing is that the owner does not pinch the plant. Nor does he remove any of the late green fruit. Yet the plant is able to produce and ripen a breba crop most years. One of the  lowest winter temperature recorded in Kjyovice, has been minus 18 degrees Fahrenheit. My understanding is that the minus 18 degrees Fahrenheit did not damage the plant.

In the winter of 2011/2012, it is reported that the temperature got down to a low of minus 23 degrees Fahrenheit. LaRadek's EBT lost 70 percent of it's top. But still managed to produce a crop of figs in 2012.

This makes one wonder just how low a winter temperature LaRadek's EBT could take, if it was pinched, and the late green fruit was removed before frost set in.

Although, one should not allow a fig to carry fruit it's first year, I wanted to see what they tasted like. Our cold hardy fig, winter test sample plant, produced figs it's very first year, while still in a one gallon pot.They were surprisingly good for a plant that was no more then 6 months old.

Some believe that this just might be the true English Brown Turkey.

We're hoping that this EBT, will prove to be another fig for growers in zone 5a, who want to grow figs with out winterizing. But, only time will tell. In the mean time we will post our yearly progress with it.

Bob - Connecticut Zone 5b/6a


Attached Images
jpeg LOCATION_IN_KJYOVICE,_CZECH.jpg (994.17 KB, 233 views)

Subject: List of Mt. Etna type figs Replies: 51
Posted By: robertharper Views: 3,932
DNA Testing has confirmed that Abruzzi, is related to Hardy Chicago. Of all the cold hardy figs we grow, Abruzzi is the only one that sprawls along the ground, verses growing straight up.

I'm hoping that means this Abruzzi selection we have, is going to be exceptionally cold hardy.

Hardy Hartford has leaves a lot like Hardy Chicago, and Marseilles Black VS. Plus, it appears to be as cold hardy as Hardy Chicago. 

Bob - Connectcut Zone 5b/6a

Subject: Any truth to this? End of season - remove leaves and tips to ripen figs faster? Replies: 14
Posted By: robertharper Views: 1,657

Pinching, does indeed help in getting fruit to ripen faster. Plus, it starts the bush/tree to start hardening off earlier.

By late summer, the pinched Marseilles Black VS plants have already converted it's green branches to branches that have started to harden off with wood more like maple virses branches that look like celery stalks.

Pinching is a must with the English Brown Turkeys we have been growing and testing. If you don't pich them and remove all the green fruit before frost, they will look like celery with hundreds of green fruit, going into the fall. Fruit that will never ripen. But, will make the bush more likely to sustain winter damage.

This is one of the reasons why some of us are so excited about LaRadek's English Brown Turkey. The owner in the Czech Rep., does not pinch or remove the green fruit going into the fall. Yet this English Brown Turkey is able to produce a breba after lows of minus 18 degrees Fahrenheit.

For us fig growers in the north, pinching is one of the things that really help us to have figs to ripen before first frost, in the north.

Bob Connecticut Zone 5b/6a


Subject: Kathleen's Black additional information Replies: 24
Posted By: robertharper Views: 2,757
Frank, our Kathleen's Black died to the ground last winter, again. But, put on about four feet of growth, during the summer. It has FMV. But. still puts on very a strong flush of growth for a plant with FMV. Each winter when I winterize it, I end up breaking some of the suckers. It appears that after only two years the wood is already to brittle to bend down easily.

Ours still has not bore any fruits. This fig is suppose to be one of the best tasting figs one can grow. But, I do not feel it's a fig for a beginner or a casual gardener.

At this point, I can't see it being grown in ground any farther north then maybe a 6B. If it's planted in a very protected location where the soil is dry going into the fall, and the plant is well winterized. At this point, I feel this fig, will require a lot of management for any one growing it in a location farther north then zone 7.

Bob Connecticut zone 6a/5b

Wish list:any fig that has been growing in ground unprotected in zone 5 for the last 50 years or more


Subject: MARSEILLES VS BLACK question Replies: 4
Posted By: robertharper Views: 1,263
For a zone 6b; after they have become mature, and planted in a protected location: Hardy Hartford, Hardy Chicago, Danny's Delight, Sal's EL, Blue Celeste, Sweet George, and Bayernfeige Violetta, and a few more. Check the old post on F4F.  

For zone 6a through 5b: Marseilles Black VS, the new gold standard for cold hardiness. LaRadeks' English Brown Turkey, has endured lows of minus 18 degrees F. Hanc's English Brown Turkey, has been said it has been grown as far north as 4b, with winter protection.

But, keep in mind that  fig trees cannot be grown like an apple or pear tree in these zones. They have to be protected the first 3 to 7 years, while the wood is becoming cold hardy.

But, if you want a trouble free fig for your zone, Marseilles Black VS is excellent.

Bob zone 5b - 6a Connecticut

Subject: Danny's Delight Replies: 12
Posted By: robertharper Views: 1,964
There are only three figs that I'm aware of that might succeed in a Canadian zone 5 location, without winter protection. Hanc's English Brown Turkey, Marseilles Black VS, and LaRadek's English Brown Turkey.

All three have been reported to be have taken temperatures as low as minus 18 to 19 degrees Fahrenheit. we have not had our three  long enough to grow unprotected, for the winter. Our oldest is Marseilles Black VS., at three years old. It has another two years before we can leave it unproteced for the winter, for testing.

Adriano's nursery in Canada has LaRadek's, and I would think there should be some Canadian growers who have had Marseilles Black VS, long enough to have extra cuttings, if you ask on this forum.

Getting the real Hanc's Englsih Brown Turkey, might be more difficult, since it has gotten confused with Miller's Brown Turkey.

Thanks for the advise JoAnn.

Hope this helps.

Bob zone 5/6b Connecticut

Subject: Danny's Delight Replies: 12
Posted By: robertharper Views: 1,964
Kerry, I think it might be about the same in cold hardiness as Hardy Hartford.

But, not in taste. Hardy Hartford is a zone 6b fig.

But, for your location, and my location I would not recommend Hardy Hartford for any part of zone 5. That is, for any one wanting to grow figs without winter protection in a zone 5

Bob zone 5b/6a

Subject: Danny's Delight Replies: 12
Posted By: robertharper Views: 1,964
Peter, when I first started looking for figs that would do good here, the first thing I would ask is what does it taste like. Most growers had a problem explaining what different figs tasted like.

I now have the same problem, once I got beyond looking for figs that had a honey and fig taste. I also, only wanted figs that had a fig taste, and or honey and fig taste.

Danny's Delight does not taste anything like Hardy Chicago. Or at least the Hardy Chicago we have. Hardy Chicago is only good here, when rain has been light for the summer. Then it is a good fig. This year Hardy Chicago was nothing special. But, then I really don't think that everything out there that is being called Hardy Chicago, is in fact the original Hardy Chicago.

So far our Hardy Chicago and Danny's Delight looks like they are going to have about the same cold hardiness. In that case I would select Danny's Delight over Hardy Chicago, for taste alone. Plus, it seems to be able to handle wet soil better. 

For me, our Danny's Delight taste a lot better then Hardy Chicago and better then Marseilles Black VS. I like the taste of our Hardy Chicago, when it ripens during a dry summer. But, the summer of 2012 was one of the wettest summers we have every had.  Our Hardy Chicago was twice as large as it was during dry summers. With all that water the taste was okay. Since Marseilles Black VS, has only been in ground here for three years it, it could simply need more time to taste as good as Danny's Delight.

I was planning on having more pictures of Danny's Delight. But, my wife's sister and her husband stopped in the same time Danny's Delight was ripening. So I thought  I would get his opinion. Since he was born and raised in the south. Then before I realized it he had eaten most of them, stating that it was a really good fig for a northern grown fig, and that it was one of the best figs he had ever tasted.

But, back to an attempt to try and describe what it taste like. To me, sweet mulberry juice mixed with sweet Pomegranate juice???. Up until I tasted Danny's Delight, I thought that I would not like any fig that was not super sweet and had a strong fig taste This fig changed my mind.

John, I will post pictures, if I can figure out how to reduce the MB size of the pictures.

Bob zone 5b/6a Connecticut 

Subject: Danny's Delight Replies: 12
Posted By: robertharper Views: 1,964
Among the dozen or so in ground figs we are testing for cold hardiness, Danny's Delight was our best tasting fig for 2012. Which came as a complete surprise. We are in a zone 5b/6a part of Connecticut. We decided to try and track down cuttings of it about 3 years ago, after reading that it had been discovered in a zone 5b/6a, in Michigan.

The more we read about Danny' delight the more confusing it was, in trying to figure out were the real Danny's Delight might be. We learned that it was originally purchased wholesale from  Hartman's Nursery, by a grower who repackaged 100 of them and then sold them to other growers.

Then we started reading different evaluations of it. Some growers said it was a green fig that was a dude. Some said it was a shy bearing fig. Then some growers reported that it was a dark fig and bore heavy crops. After sending out a lot of emails we felt we had maybe, finally located the right one.

After growing it for two years we asked a well known fig expert to identify it. He Identified it as the fig that Hartman had originally sold as Danny' Delight. Still not certain as to what it would be like we kept only one plant, and sold the other rooted plants. Explaining to customers that we thought it was Danny's Delight. But, could not be certain that it would be as cold hardy as it was listed.

Now after three years, what we do know is that it has been identified as the fig that was once sold by Hartman's Nursery, as Danny's Delight. It's a very heavy bearing fig. It had 80 figs on a three year old plant. It starts to bear heavily after three years in ground. In 2012, it had ripe fruit about three to four days before Marseilles Black VS. It's a dark fig. Seems to be very resistant to FMV. Lastly, I wish we had kept more of the plants. So far ,it is among the best tasting cold hardy figs I have ever tasted.

Now all we have to do is to confirm if it's as cold hardy as it has been advertised, minus 4 degrees Fahrenheit to minus 6 degrees Fahrenheit.

So far, it has survived minus 11 Degrees Fahrenheit, and minus 10 degrees Fahrenheit, planted outside with winter protection. We bend it to the ground and cover it with soil and then a sheet of insulation. Although, it's first winter it was killed to the soil line. Then in it's second and third winter it suffered no die back.

I would rate Danny's Delight as a number 10 for taste, and a must have for any one trying to grow figs in a cold part of the country, through maybe a zone 6b. That is, If it's planted in a protected spot away from winter winds, and in a spot that does not retain a lot of water.

We will be sending cuttings to Jon for future distribution, and hope to have a big enough supply of cuttings to sell, by fall of 2013.

Bob Zone 5b/6a Connecticut 


Subject: Brunswick from Jason Replies: 16
Posted By: robertharper Views: 1,165
Jason, are all the fruit on your MBVS that small?

Bob -Zone 5b/6a Connecticut

Subject: Best tasting figs 2012 Replies: 39
Posted By: robertharper Views: 8,372
To my surprise, our best tasting fig here for the 2012 growing season was, Danny's Delight.

It beat out Marseilles Black VS, Hardy Hartford, Hardy Chicago Sal's EL, Bayernfeige Violetta, and Brooklyn White. I gave it a 10. But, one has to keep in mind although I gave it a number 10, I have never tasted any figs, other then cold hardy type figs.

My wife's sister and her husband stopped in two days after I picked Danny' Delight. He was born and raised in the south. He surprised me, by stating they were among the best figs he had ever tasted.

Danny's Delight started ripening it's main crop around the end of the third week of September here. It was earlier then Marseilles Black, and all others.

It started raining here the last week of September and then rained every other day, if not every day for three weeks. Just when all the figs were ripening. So we lost 90% of our main crop figs. Danny's delight was the only fig to ripen early enough to deliver some figs before everything else was totally saturated with water.

Then on top of all the rain, we got hit with an early freeze. it came three weeks earlier then  usual.

Now I think I know why it was named Danny's Delight

Bob - Zone 5b/6a Connecticut

Wish list: Valle Negra

Subject: Main crop ripening Report IN New Jersey and East Coast. Replies: 68
Posted By: robertharper Views: 4,229
As of, 09-16-2012, In ground main crop figs starting to swell & turn color, here in our zone 5 location.

In this order, Marseilles Black VS, Danny's Delight, Hardy Hartford, Hardy Chicago.

These are all classified as cold hardy type figs.

Marseilles Black VS - Heavy crops    Danny's Delight Heavy crops on small bush    Hardy Hartford starts producing good tasting fruit it's second year
 in ground    Hardy Chicago Good taste.

Since these four seem to ripen at about the same time we will eventually get rid of some and keep the most cold hardy, and the best tasting.

Bob Zone 5 Connecticut

Wish List: Any figs growing without winter protection in a northern zone 5 location, the last 50 to 100 years.

Subject: Winter 2010,Fig Cultivars Cold hardeness results! Replies: 15
Posted By: robertharper Views: 2,079
Ox, I have also read in many different places that Hardy Chicago can be top winter killed, and then come back, and ripen a main crop of figs.

Our Hardy Chicago is between 6 to 8 years in ground here. Half the time it has died back to ground level. Each Spring it would indeed re-grow, and produce a main crop of figs. About two or three.

In our case we felt that statements suggesting that one could plant Hardy Chicago and not protect it, and then harvest a good crop, was not true. 

I have also read a lot of articles in blogs, and magazines stating that Hardy Chicago was the most cold Hardy fig available.

We did not find this to be true. At least not in our zone 5 location.

In my opinion, to many people write articles base on them selves reading a hundred articles about a subject, and have never really tested what they have read them selves

The other  thing we noticed is that Hardy Chicago, in our location needs around 8 hours or more of direct sun light, each day. Or it simply will not produce anything more then a few fruit per year.

Bob Zone 5 Connecticut

Wish List: Any figs that have been growing unprotected in a northern zone 5 location, for the last 50 to 100 years.  

Subject: Main crop ripening Report IN New Jersey and East Coast. Replies: 68
Posted By: robertharper Views: 4,229

Barry, have you tried Magness pears? They are as disease resistant as Seckle, and taste like a larger version of Seckle.

Barry after posting this earlier, I decided to go out to the orchard and bring in some Seckle, Magness, and Warren to compare. Brought in some that had ripened on the tree. I would say both Warren and Magness are as good as Seckle, if not better. There is a slight difference in flavor profile. But, all three are very close to being perfect, if you like high quality sweet pears. Plus, there was no scab on any of them, without one once of spray. I would rate them as a must for any one who likes sugar pears. But does not like spraying.

Bob Zone 5 Connecticut

Wish List: Any figs that has been growing unprotected, in a northern zone 5, for the last 50 to 100 years.

Subject: Main crop ripening Report IN New Jersey and East Coast. Replies: 68
Posted By: robertharper Views: 4,229
Herman, which cultivar do you consider infinitely rain tolerant or the one you consider the most rain tolerant for your location, in New Jersey?

Last year you thought that your Nero 2000 was the most rain tolerant. How did it compare to Kathleen's Black during the same rainy period, at your location?

Bob - Zone 5 Connecticut

Wish List: Any cold hardy figs that have been growing unprotected in zone 5, for the last 50 to 100 years

Subject: Niagara Black cutting in progress. Replies: 8
Posted By: robertharper Views: 883
Has anyone been growing Niagara Black long, enough to compare the fruit and leaf to Kathleen's Black, and or Mission fig?

If you have been growing those three side by side, do they look like they might be from the same family, if not the same?


Bob - Zone 5 Connecticut

Subject: my 1st florea fig Replies: 4
Posted By: robertharper Views: 836
Hello Brahms,

Glad to hear that Florea does well for you in South Korea.
We get different reports here on it's quality. The original finder of this fig does not think it taste as good in america as it did in his home land.

But, he has a more refine taste for figs then most of us. Yet others in the north are reporting it to be a good tasting fig.

So, your evaluation is greatly appreciated.

You mentioned that the fruit test out with a brix of 16, using a glucose mete. Here we use a glucose meter to measure the glucose in a persons blood.

Do you mean you used a refractometer for the brix test?

I was asking because it would indeed be nice if a glucose meter that diabetics use, could be used to also test the brix level of fruits.

Has any one else been able to use a glusose meter to measure the brix level in fruit?

Bob - Zone 5 Connecticut

Subject: Which Cultivars have the highest Sugar Content? Replies: 12
Posted By: robertharper Views: 1,160

We do not have a refactometer. So, cannot attest to the brix of Bayernfeige Violleta.

But, last year, in it's third year we noticed that the main crop was so sweet it was attracting tons of flys. The individual breba crop fig for that year, was very large. But, was not as sweet. 

This year we are finding the breba crop to be very sweet also. Now this year, we have had to provide fly protection, for the breba crop also.

We have Marseilles Black VS ripening at the same time as the breba, on Bayernfeige Violetta. But, it does not have any fly problems, at all.

I have not tasted enough different figs to say for a fact that this is a fig that would be classified as very sweet. But, to me it has been the sweetest fig I have ever tasted. Plus, it is very juicy. Kind of like eating the syrup from canned figs.

So, because of it's high sweet taste and it juciness, it might be a good fig for making wine. Or at least deserve more reseach to see if it Could be a fig for wine making.

Bob Zone 5 Connecticut

Subject: Another Newbie Asking for Advice (Ohio Zone 6a) Replies: 12
Posted By: robertharper Views: 807
After they have reached maturity, five to 7 years, and planted in a protected spot, Marseilles Black VS, Hanc's English Brown Turkey, and LaRadek's Englsih Brown Turkey. should be able to handle a zone 6a location, without winter protection.

With some winter protection. Danny's Delight, Bayernfeige Violetta, Hardy Chicago, Hardy Hartford, Sal's EL, and Brooklyn White.

Bob Zone 5 Connecticut

Subject: Hardy Chicago Ripens in 6A! Replies: 10
Posted By: robertharper Views: 919
Hardy Chicago Is considered by some fig experts/collectors, to be one of the most flavorful figs there is.

It was the fig that got us interested in trying to grow figs in a zone 5 location.

We bought ours 6 to 8 years ago.We planted it in our number one micro climate location, in the V of our chimney. For the first 6-7 years it kept dying back and or would only produce a couple of figs. As it got older, it got tired of me not being able to figure out what it wanted to grow well. So, it migrated from it's original location to about 3 to4 feet out of the V of the Chimney. The ground in the chimney V location, never froze. So I thought it would be perfect for figs. But it also, meant it would only receive about 5 hours of sun light a day.

I was planning on pulling it out this last Spring. I was thinking I had a miss-labeled fig.

I cut the new sprout down to 2 to 4 feet, and it is now loaded with figs. I left the one in the original location alone. It still produces a very small amount of figs.

So, I'm thinking that Hardy Chicago must have at least 8 hours of sun light to produce a heavy crop of figs. Or it does not like being planted in warm soil. Also, Paul Tracesky, a fig collector who did cold hardy fig evaluating, in Connecticut, in the 1990's, felt that Hardy Chicago was not as cold hardy as others, such as Sal'e EL.       

Would those of you who have Hardy Chicago planted in the deep south, please chime in.

Bob - Zone 5 Connecticut

Subject: Delicious Abruzzi Picked This Morning Replies: 7
Posted By: robertharper Views: 1,165
Hello Paul, We received a cutting of Abruzzi last Spring.  We have it planted in a pot. But, it will go into one or our test plots this fall.

Was wondering where you got your start, and whether or not you have it planted in the ground?


Bob - Zone 5 Connecticut

Subject: Main crop ripening Report IN New Jersey and East Coast. Replies: 68
Posted By: robertharper Views: 4,229
Herman. would I be correct if I said that your Tacoma Violet, ripens, about three weeks after your Marseilles Black VS?

Ottawan, which is your earliest ripening fig cultivar, and do you have any figs in ground?

Bob - Zone 5 Connecticut

Posted By: robertharper Views: 654
We picked our first Bayernfeige Violetta breba fig today, 8-25-12. This  Bayernfeige Violetta breba, was sweet and juicy. But, not as sweet as last years's main crop.

This was our first in ground breba for the year. We also picked yesterday and today some Marseilles Black VS breba. But, the Marseilles Black VS, was being grown in a pot, not in ground.

So, this year Bayernfeige Violetta produced the first breba crop for us.

Bob - Zone 5 Connecticut

Subject: Main crop ripening Report IN New Jersey and East Coast. Replies: 68
Posted By: robertharper Views: 4,229
Herman, the Improved Celeste cuttings that we bought from you last Spring, rooted and are producing now in their second year, and we look forward to enjoying them. We really appreciate your early testing. It has saved us a lot of time in finding and testing for cold hardy selections.

Herman, have you been able to determine approximately, how cold hardy Improved Celeste is going to be, say compared to Hardy Chicago?

Also, how cold hardy Improved Celeste is, compared to your Blue Celeste, and other Celeste?

Bob - zone 5 Connecticut

Subject: Main crop ripening Report IN New Jersey and East Coast. Replies: 68
Posted By: robertharper Views: 4,229
Bayernfeige Violetta, has started to ripen it's breba crop as of today,       8-21-2012.

Marseilles Black VS, which is in a five gallon pot, has started to ripen, it's breba crop figs, here also.

Every thing else either in ground or in pots, is still green and hard, here.

Kerry I'm happy to hear that  your in ground Florea, has started to ripen it's main crop, for you.

That means our florea should be maybe a week ahead of yours.

Herman, says it is even earlier then Marseilles Black VS. Which is good news.

Kerry, please keep us posted as to how it taste for you, in New Hampshire.

Bob zone 5 Connecticut


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