Thought I would start a thread discussing some experiences/learning's we have all had this season. If I had this info summarized for me last year or the year before, I would have saved myself a whole lot of aggravation.
Here are some of the things I have learned, experienced or thought about:
1) For me there is nothing better than using Spag Moss to start your cuttings. Pardon the expression, its idiot proof. All I do is rinse the cutting under very warm water, then soak it for about 3-30 minutes (depends how much time I have) in very warm water. Then I put it/them in a Ziploc bag with about a handful and a half of wrung out spag moss and zip the bag up with a little air in it. Then I check on it about every 3 days or so. So far, 98% success (last year 5%), no mold, no sterilization needed which hurts the cuttings vitality, I can root dozens and dozens of cuttings in a very small area and no moisture management work. Ive found SM holds the moisture level perfect in the bags. Once I see visible 1/4+ plus roots I pot up. Be careful with the roots, they are tender. I leave some of the SM attached to the roots and pot them up with it.
2) I have been using a slow release fertilizer for all my smaller, non-fruiting plants. Since there are usually more of those than established fruiting trees at any given time, I find the slow release provides the convenience for the volume of plants. I still use regular water soluble MG for my larger plants.
3) Started using a very weak 1/4 strength 12-4-8 fertilizer once I saw roots in the cups about every 3rd water and I have had very good results so far. I never thought cuttings needed fertilizer so early, but from what I have seen, they clearly benefit.
4) Once the cuttings are in cups/containers, I have found the weight of the container to be the best gauge for the need for watering. I have heard many members of F4F warn about over watering young cuttings and its good advice. I guess this one is more feel, but once you start doing it, the feel comes pretty fast.
5) I could never figure out why I would lose cuttings in a matter of a day or so that were seemingly doing great . This year I cupped my cuttings from the top creating a mini greenhouse over every cup. I left the cups on until the leaves were bursting out and I saw tertiary root development. In the past, my leaves would fall off and the terminal bud would dry out because the the leaves were losing moisture quicker than the small roots could replace it. Worked fantastic this year and to me was a significant reason for the increased success.
6) I gave my cuttings growing in cups light from a simple fluorescent set up and again, I feel it helped tremendously. I was always told cuttings don't need light, but my gut was telling me they needed light to provide energy to the buds that often swell. Those buds are going to help feed the cutting so it can push roots. The cuttings in the SM Bags are near the lights, but not under them.
7) Established figs in containers need LOTS of water. I underestimated this last year. Of course media used, environmental conditions, etc affect this. This year I definitely watered more earlier in the season than last and I think it has helped with overall development.
8) Figs need patience. I still don't have any, but you need it. I'm working on it though. Its funny, I'm considered pretty impatient, but I take up gardening?
9) Not to be corny, but this whole fig collecting/growing thing is really amazing. Think about it: the collective knowledge of our fig community has been unmatched in history. The only reason most of this info exists is because we share our experiences and learn and grow every day. We all know the fig is way under represented in the annals of horticulture and without others like yourself, we would still be in the stone age so to speak.
Obviously I learn something new almost every week, but that is what makes it fun.
I hope this helps some how and I can't wait to hear about others experiences.