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Subject: my early start project Replies: 12
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 876
 
Yes, very nice! You may need to drop that "newbie".

Subject: Breaking Dormancy Replies: 19
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 1,714
 
Joe--were any of them protected? Just wondering why your Black Mission NL & LSU Purple were affected while the others escaped damage. We dropped to18 degrees in Tucson and my in-ground trees got quite a bit of damage, but I won't know exactly how much until they start leafing out. However, most branches any thinner than my thumb seem dead and brittle. The potted figs went into the garage before each freeze so they look fine, and about as you've described--ranging from swelling green buds to some with tiny new leaves. Black Madeira & Black Mission NL seem slowest to wake up.

Subject: Giant Amber Replies: 6
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 1,601
 
Thanks, everybody, for your comments. Jon, if it didn't even make your Top 100 list, I probably shouldn't give it space under my bird netting, given there are so many proven winners available. My memory now is foggy on why I ordered it in the first place, but it was probably the name. Initially I really wanted at least one large variety, and I think someone I spoke with at UCD had good things to say about it. Maybe I'll keep it in a pot or give it a try outside the cage, where it can serve as a decoy to keep the critters distracted while I enjoy the varieties growing on the inside--that way I can protect a few GA figs and see if I like them. After all, to my uneducated palate, Brown Turkeys still taste like heaven until the beetles arrive! ;-)

Subject: Giant Amber Replies: 6
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 1,601
 
I haven't been able to find much info on Giant Amber, other than it has a closed eye and is a pretty vigorous rooter/grower. Can anybody give a first-hand description of its fruit size, production, and quality?

Subject: "fig shuffle" TM Patent Martin beginning! Replies: 7
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 1,437
 
It is a great feeling when spring starts to get the upper hand on winter. We've had a good run of warm days (it's supposed to hit 80 today) despite a couple mornings with a little frost on the windshield. Although the in-ground figs are still totally dormant (with probably a fair bit of die-back due to some hard freezes), my potted figs are soaking up the sunshine and right on the verge of leafing out, with a few little breba bumps here and there. Looks like the start of a great year!

Subject: Just had a visit by the FBI Replies: 32
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 2,020
 
Well said, Sattelitehead. I tried to joke about it as well, but in hindsight my comments weren't funny or helpful. The unfortunate truth is that innocent people can't help but attract attention from law enforcement when they're engaged in certain activities, and I don't see how it could really be otherwise. There are people out there who cause grave harm to society, and stopping them is not a simple process. I wish Bass or anybody else who gets an unnecessary visit didn't have to go through it, but at the same time I'm glad to know the FBI is checking up on what, from their perspective, looks like a possible red flag.

Subject: Just had a visit by the FBI Replies: 32
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 2,020
 
Free "Bags O' Poo" sounds like a great deal, as long as you're close enough and it isn't full of weed seeds. I've recently gotten a couple of nice loads of free mulch delivered by a generous local landscaping company; maybe I'll try to find some free manure as well.

I doubt if you could make WMDs from horse or pig manure, Bass, but you never know--so maybe in the interest of our national security and expanding these agents' intellectual horizons, you could keep a few sample bags on hand to offer them, just in case they return to request further assistance.

Subject: Plant Tags Replies: 28
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 2,236
 
Thanks all, for sharing your great ideas. I had been making permanent plant labels out of strips cut from aluminum cans, but it's kind of a pain. On my walk this morning, I asked my neighbor if I could have the set of white, aluminum mini-blinds sticking out of his garbage can, and now I have a big supply of perfect plant tags. I wouldn't have even thought of it if I hadn't read this thread!

Subject: You won't believe this! Replies: 22
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 1,540
 
Jon, I guess it must be paradise after all. I suppose even if Mother Nature ever decides to deliver a dusting of snow to your neighborhood, your front yard fig forest is too dense for much of it to reach the ground!

Subject: You won't believe this! Replies: 22
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 1,540
 
I guess that's what Jon gets for posting pictures of "paradise"!

Sue, we also got a little snow last night in Tucson--not as much as you, but enough to make my little figs wonder why I had left them outside all night. It's supposed to to hit 27 tonight, so it's time to bring them all in off the wall.

Attached Images
jpeg chilly_Black_Madeira.jpg (85.90 KB, 32 views)
jpeg on_the_wall.jpg (108.32 KB, 35 views)


Subject: Fig Trees Starting to AWAKE Replies: 30
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 2,525
 
A few green fig buds, but no leaves yet. I'm often surprised by how long it seems to take for spring to arrive in Tucson.

Subject: Celeste disappointing? Replies: 19
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 1,332
 
Thanks, everybody, for the great input. That's what I love about this forum--people who don't just read the books, but could write them. I will definitely plant my little UCD Celeste in the ground and see how it does. If it goes too many years without a dependable crop then maybe I'll start looking for another Celeste variation, but hopefully giving it adequate water, some deep mulch, and a little afternoon shade from an adjacent tree (and maybe a shadecloth canopy while it's getting started) will be enough to convince it that Tucson is a great place to call home.

Subject: Celeste disappointing? Replies: 19
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 1,332
 
I read the following on the Encanto Farms varieties descriptions for Celeste: the same quote also appears on the Alabama Cooperative Extension's Fig Production Guide (linked from Encanto Farms http://www.aces.edu/pubs/docs/A/ANR-1145/):

"Very cold hardy. Excellent fig -- arguably the finest Southern fig, but usually disappointing in California and the Southwest."

Since I only recall ever hearing quite good things about this variety; I'm wondering--what disappointments have people had with Celeste in the southwest? Anything serious?

Subject: Just for fun! Replies: 16
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 1,183
 
I can't imagine anything that looks that good wouldn't taste just as good!

Subject: Just posted a new fig video! Replies: 27
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 1,240
 
I enjoyed your video, Little John--something to tide me over till the figs are ripe again.

Subject: Fig in Phoenix?? Replies: 28
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 5,329
 
Hey Bill--glad you bumped the thread. It's been a while. As paulandirene noted, Willcox has a different climate than Tucson. I don't know how it is for growing figs, but it's well-known locally for growing other fruits, with several "you-pick"-type orchards.

As far as what I've learned about which figs perform well in Tucson, I'm still at the research end of the question--although I'm forming some (undoubtedly premature) opinions. I currently have about 15 closed-eye varieties (the only defense against those tiny beetles) in pots--mostly last year's UCD cuttings, so still very small. But--based on people's personal recommendations and what I've read on F4F from others who know a lot more than I do, the varieties I'm most optimistic about are Black Mission NL, Violette de Bordeaux, LSU Purple, Conadria, Kadota, Celeste, and Excel. These will all go into the ground this spring inside my "anti-aviary." I'll also plant a few others in there to see how they do--Black Madeira (sounds amazingly delicious but maybe a bit difficult), Tena, and Georgiafig's White Hybrid Unknown. Space is scarce so most will either be in a hedge as Georgiafig and others have done, or simply kept pruned to a compact size. I'll report on what works best as I find out.

Glad you enjoyed the artwork--most of it has gotten considerably too big for the fridge, but that was a great place to start! However, given the slow economy I've had to rethink my career direction, and so will likely be discontinuing the website before long. But--it was fun while it lasted!

Subject: Natural air layer? Replies: 20
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 1,556
 
I've had similar experiences hacking other plants into pieces and getting them to grow again, but except for a few cuttings and a large airlayer (the jury's still out on that one) hadn't tried it on figs. However, this one was such a natural candidate, I couldn't resist. Too bad it wasn't a Black Madeira or something a little more exciting!

Subject: LSU Purple Power! Replies: 54
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 5,836
 
Thanks JCA--the soil bank is a great idea, and seems pretty foolproof. I'll definitely add it to my arsenal of things to do when it turns really cold, as it seems to do every few years.

Subject: Natural air layer? Replies: 20
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 1,556
 
I separated these this morning. I had girdled it in the fall, and since it already had a substantial root in the ground decided to try something close to Gogi's "hack" suggestion. The small section came away without much damage to the main rootball (I hope the little one still has enough root to rebound from the "operation"), so I just repotted both and will keep my fingers crossed.

Attached Images
jpeg giant_amber_girdled.jpg (127.50 KB, 71 views)
jpeg giant_amber_separated.jpg (82.96 KB, 78 views)
jpeg giant_ambers_repotted.jpg (68.41 KB, 63 views)


Subject: LSU Purple Power! Replies: 54
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 5,836
 
It was fun to re-read all of this--I'm really looking forward to seeing how the LSU Purple performs in Tucson. It seems ideal for Arizona, and Dan, that sounds like the perfect "eye" to baffle the tiny fig-souring beetles that have made my Brown Turkey virtually worthless. The weather here finally seems to be warming up after some very cold (by our standards) spells this winter. We got down to about 18 degrees, ruining our almost-ripe orange crop, and all of the citrus foliage in the whole neighborhood got frost-killed; the dead leaves are piling up under the trees. I was hoping for at least enough "global warming" to give mangoes another try!

Subject: Drying Replies: 7
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 846
 
Jason--yes, I've dried Brown Turkeys, and they can taste pretty good, if the fruit is good to start with--ripe, with no trace of souring. However, they're so big that I always cut them in half first so the inside won't rot before drying (it also lets me check for mold). I guess I'm a wimp, but I prefer them peeled (whether fresh or dry). I've also experimented with drying a few Black Missions, which were much smaller and worked better, but since my tree is small most of the fruit gets eaten fresh.

I had a successful experiment drying a few hachiya persimmons this year, and once my big fruit tree cage is finished and I can keep the birds away, I'm hoping to dry apricots, peaches, and apples as well. And of course, as last year's fig cuttings continue to grow, I hope to figure out which varieties are best suited to Tucson, and try drying some of them. I'm guessing that smaller types with relatively smooth skin will be best, since they could be dried whole without peeling.

Subject: Fig Most likely to succeed next year Replies: 30
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 3,503
 

At any rate, the price is right!


Subject: Rooted cutting,fruitting the same year? Wich Cultivar,was able to do it? Replies: 19
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 1,894
 

Thanks, Noss--I'm looking forward to seeing how it does in 2011 with a full growing season.


Subject: Rooted cutting,fruitting the same year? Wich Cultivar,was able to do it? Replies: 19
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 1,894
 

My UCD cuttings arrived fairly late in the spring, but nearly all of them started trying to develop fruit at some point during the growing season. I removed most of these but often left a single fig per plant to see what it would do. I was surprised yesterday to see that the lone fig on an otherwise bare Violette de Bordeaux actually looked ripe, so I picked it and cut it open, and then ate it. Not quite ripe after all, and too small to be worth the trouble, but still an edible fig in December!

Attached Images
jpeg VdB_cutting.jpg (51.61 KB, 39 views)
jpeg VdB_split.jpg (66.09 KB, 32 views)


Subject: Squirrel Chaser Repellent Replies: 31
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 3,069
 

Sue--don't kow if it would be right for your situation, but you might consider an electronic "invisible fence" for a squirrel guard dog. See http://www.invisiblefence.com/ & http://www.dogfencediy.com/


Subject: Frost Sensitivity of Different Varieties with Photos Replies: 15
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 2,005
 

Joe--interesting post. Thanks for the info! Down here in Tucson it tends to be a little cooler than Phoenix, both summer and winter. That recent cold night got down to the high 20's, so of course all the leaves on my inground Brown Turkey & Black Mission froze and shriveled up. My rooted cuttings were in the garage on the workbench, so they stayed warm enough to keep their leaves, though some are starting to drop from lack of irrigation. That's more than enough cold weather for me--I'm already looking forward to spring!


Subject: Pics a few figs still ripeninng Replies: 5
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 1,356
 

I have one last black mission fig that's almost ripe, and at least nine brown Turkeys that are very close--with quite a few more that will make it if it stays warm enough. I picked six ripe BTs this morning and they tasted great--no bug problems this late in the season. In prior years I've stopped irrigating the BT in October to force it into dormancy, but since the tree is as big as I want it to get, I figure I might as well let it keep going until cold weather hits, and if the new growth gets frozen back, that's fine--I'd be pruning it in the spring anyway.


Subject: Fig Hedge Under Construction Replies: 17
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 1,591
 

John--Thanks so much for the photos and detailed description. What spacing did you use in the mini-hedge? In the photo, they look like they're just a few inches apart. At any rate, the hedge idea sounds like a great way to get the most out of your space!


Subject: Winter Garden Replies: 20
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 1,351
 

John--Congratulations on a beautiful, functional set-up! Those are healthy-looking plants. My wife and I are not nearly so successful with our vegetable-growing, but it's still great fun.


Subject: planting depth Replies: 6
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 849
 

That's pretty ingenious! I don't think I'll try that extra-deep hole (where it has to be filled in over the course of a couple of years) with my rooted cuttings, but planting them deep enough so that only a few inches stick up above ground might work really well in my yard, since it would allow them to start off with their roots down in cooler, moister soil, and would encourage all that extra rooting along the buried stem. Thanks for sharing the idea!


Subject: planting depth Replies: 6
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 849
 

Thanks, Gorgi & Jon--Come spring, I'll plant them deep enough to bury the crooked parts, with the trunks straight up. (Since it's so late in the season, I assume it would be best not to try planting them this year, but to wait until spring after any danger of frost has passed.)


Subject: Dalmatie Replies: 18
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 1,543
 

I haven't tried to stop squirrels with bird netting, but my guess is that they'll just chew a hole in it and swipe your figs anyway. If the trees are small enough, maybe a chicken wire cage would do the trick.


Subject: Fig Most likely to succeed next year Replies: 30
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 3,503
 
Obviously, rate of growth is no predictor of fruit quality, but I assume any varieties that can grow well in Tucson's hot sun and poor soil will also ripen well. So, of the 12 varieties of UCD cuttings that survived my fumbling efforts to get them rooted and established in pots, the two that have grown the largest are UCR135-15S (photo; 26.5 inches of new growth) and Tena (18 inches). Wimpiest was Black Madeira (photo) at only 3.5 inches, but it put out a lot of leaves and branches so I'm hoping that next year, in the ground, it will break out of its FMV-induced "dwarfism" and make some real progress.

Attached Images
jpeg UCR135-15S.jpg (92.83 KB, 80 views)
jpeg Black_Madeira.jpg (105.48 KB, 76 views)


Subject: planting depth Replies: 6
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 849
 

I don't anticipate planting anything in the ground till spring, but I'm curious about planting depth. I clipped most of my UCD cuttings in half before rooting them, so those that didn't have a terminal bud have grown from lateral buds, resulting in a "dog leg" angle to the trunk. I'm assuming, since fig stems root so readily from any part in contact with soil, that I should be able to plant the "bent" trees a little deeper, with the angled part of the trunk below ground level so the exposed part is straight and vertical--without any worries about them being too deep. Is this correct, or would it be best to plant them at the same depth that they are now, in their pots?


Subject: Happy Ending Replies: 26
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 1,386
 

My hat is off to all of you who deal with such cold winters, and still manage to grow figs! That's dedication!


Subject: Moving a larger in-ground fig tree Replies: 12
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 3,278
 

I once worked at a facility where the botany department had to box and relocate trees and shrubs from time to time. They would often "side box" a plant several weeks before making the move. The idea was that by trenching around the rootball and cutting all of the lateral roots that would not fit into the box (but leaving any roots that went down) and then watering it for a few weeks, it would have time to grow some new feeder roots inside the box before the bottom roots were cut and it was lifted out of the hole. Although this fig tree probably doesn't need such an elaborate approach, I wonder if it might be helpful to at least cut around it with a shovel now, and then come back in a month to finish digging it out? It might be worth a try.


Subject: too much HEAT ? Replies: 2
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 562
 
Stephen--

My inground Brown Turkey always takes a vacation when the really hot weather hits (and this sumnmer didn't seem any hotter to me than normal). Vegetative growth stops, although the fruit continues ripening. A few weeks later, once things cool off a bit, the branches start growing again, and it puts out a new crop of baby figs that won't amount to anything because they don't have time to ripen. This year has been a little different in that I'm seeing some ripening in the second main crop. Many of the figs look big enough to make it, although ripening is much slower now. It takes more than a week to achieve what would happen in a couple of days in mid summer.

My UCD cuttings, on the other hand, seemed to love the hot weather and grew quite nicely in full sun, once they were fully-acclimated and as long as I kept their pots in an inch or so of standing water--they really suck it up during the heat. The growth wasn't as impressive as many of the examples posted by other formum members, but I was pleased with how they did. We'll see how the summers affect them once they're in the ground.

Attached Images
jpeg Brown_Turkey_--_Oct.jpg (107.52 KB, 24 views)


Subject: First Mead fig Replies: 2
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 775
 

Nice looking fig--I hope it does well for you!


Subject: Direction for Fig Row Replies: 16
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 1,258
 

John, if you're ever in the mood to take photos of your fig hedge thus far, I'm sure many of us would like to see them. It sounds like a good strategy for finding out what works best, even when you don't have a lot of room, or a lot information from other local growers.


Subject: What's the problem? Replies: 17
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 1,298
 

Just guessing, but I wouldn't think so. The malformed leaves would still contribute nutrients through photosynthesis, so it would seem to me that they're still of benefit to the plant. I have a little UCD Black Madeira cutting that has grown a dense bunch of leaves and several new, short, branches--and all of the foliage shows the effects of FMV. Otherwise, however, it's quite vigorous and healthy-looking. I'm optimistic that once it gets in the ground and grows for a while, it will show a more normal appearance--and even if it doesn't lose the symptoms of FMV, I expect the figs will still be delicious!


Subject: Air-Layering Replies: 70
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 7,717
 

Makes sense to me--thanks very much for the input. I don't have access to a greenhouse, but I'll improvise something to raise the humidity and temperature, once the leaves drop and I cut it loose from the parent.


Subject: Air-Layering Replies: 70
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 7,717
 

Jon--would you suggest leaving it on the tree, then, until the bottle is really packed with roots, even if it means waiting till mid-next season to remove it? Or would it be best to make the separation while the tree is dormant and the risk of water loss is reduced because there are no leaves? Will roots continue growing even during winter when the branches are bare?


Subject: What's the problem? Replies: 17
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 1,298
 

Noss--as a follow-up, here's how it looks today.

Attached Images
jpeg Celeste_22_Oct_2010.jpg (112.07 KB, 33 views)


Subject: Air-Layering Replies: 70
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 7,717
 

After more than three months, it looks like my first attempt at an air-layer might work after all. The branch I chose was likely too big (44 inches from tip to bottle neck), but I'm guessing that if I wait till the leaves drop before cutting it from the parent plant, and then prune off the lowest branches to balance transpiration with uptake, it might be able to establish a strong enough root system to support next year's foliage. But--I'll definitely select a much smaller branch next time!

Attached Images
jpeg blk_mis_airlayer_3_mo.jpg (114.42 KB, 142 views)
jpeg blk_mis_airlayer_branch.jpg (125.77 KB, 125 views)


Subject: LSU Purple Power! Replies: 54
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 5,836
 

The LSU Purple's productivity and early, nearly continuous bearing sound very appealing, and well worth the wait for full flavor to develop. Maybe I'll have to give it a try!


Subject: Recommendations for Zone 6? Replies: 6
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 839
 

John--a move south would be the best plan, but some people just hate having to shovel all that sunshine when they could be enjoying the snow! Thanks for the input, and good to hear from you, as always.


Subject: Another fig lover is born? Replies: 28
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 1,426
 

Wow! All the best.


Subject: Recommendations for Zone 6? Replies: 6
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 839
 

Thanks much, Ottowan & Joe--I'll pass the word along.


Subject: Recommendations for Zone 6? Replies: 6
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 839
 

A grape grower 35 miles east of Kansas City, MO, asked me to recommend the best fig varieties for his area--particularly those that would ripen earliest. I have no idea, so I'm hoping some of you might be willing to share your experience. Any suggestions?


Subject: Pruning a Brown Turkey fig bush? Replies: 6
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 3,429
 

Glad to help. Another point several forum members have made is that things often change as a tree gets older, such as improvements to fig flavor or more consistent production. Here's hoping your trees "settle in" to a long life of ripening plenty of great-tasting figs! You might also want to read a few of the recommendations others have made about their favorite varieties and add some different types over the years. I started with a Brown Turkey and a Black Mission, but am in the process of adding several other kinds based on excellent reports from F4F members. It's a lot of fun!


 

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