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Subject: Fig Hedge Under Construction Replies: 17
Posted By: GeorgiaFig Views: 1,591
 
Hi Herman.  Thank you.  That is very useful advice.  I was considering what I knew about the stated or observed natural growth habits of the various varities of figs, but had not considered this very important factor: That FMV would tend to dwarf any plant showing signs of infection.  And THAT is why you are a Master Gardener!  This will be very helpful in trying to set a good spacing for the hedge.

Our Hardy Chicago must have an unusual growth habit.  It is very upright in growth, not spreading, and smaller than other figs the same age without pruning.  There is no sign of FMV though, and it is otherwise a very healthy tree.  It has a wonderful taste and is very productive.  But maybe it is not a true HC.  I think I got it about 8 or 9 years ago from either Raintree or One Green World (can't remember for sure unfortunately).  Maybe it is a mislabeled variety very similar to HC but not a true HC.

We do have some very healthy growing HCs started from cuttings from yours though, and I will be sure and give these 7 feet as they are surely true HCs and will require this additional space.

I have learned a lot from you Herman, and I am still learning a lot.  Turns out, there is a lot to learn!

Thanks.

John


Subject: Winter Garden Replies: 20
Posted By: GeorgiaFig Views: 1,351
 
Hi Valerie.  We don't have a root cellar either (yet) for the same reason.  With three boys and neighbors, there's not that much left.  If I had a great crop of potatoes or sweet potatoes though, I would try a mini-root cellar (a metal trash can root cellar buried in a flood free highly shaded area).  I already have a new trash can, now I'm just waiting on the bumber root crop!  ;-)

I'm not one for dooms-day thinking, and I am very hopeful about the future.

But a look at the past, and the fantasy-like living of the last few decades of "easy credit" says that a garden is in everyone's future.  And that is a very good and positive thing.  Home gardening is good for everyone except the factory farm growers/sellers.

Locally, I'm on a mission to be the "Johnny Apple Seed" for figs, as figs are a perfect backyard fruit for everyone.  Some adults are convinced they don't like figs (without even trying them usually) but every kid that tries them loves them.

So every kid in our neighborhood is getting free figs and a free tree if they want one.

We build a better future one person at a time, starting with ourselves.

Best wishes.

John


Subject: Winter Garden Replies: 20
Posted By: GeorgiaFig Views: 1,351
 
Hi Valerie.  I enjoyed reading every word of your post, thank you.

And your goals are very admirable.  Further, you are way ahead of the curve historically.  A lot of people don't realize it yet, but soon, they will be doing what you are doing too.  Throughout human history, people have grown there own food not just because it's the only way to get top quality produce, and a great way to get regular exercise (why pay for an expensive membership to a sweaty, germ-filled gym when you can get free exercise in your own open aired backyard?), but they grew their own food because it was necessary economically.

Have you thought about a root cellar?  It's not a freezer, but it's a free mega sized refrigerator.  I have tested and you can keep cabbages and root crop for months refrigerated.  And drying fruit is a good way to save fruit.  Figs are an excellent backyard food crop, they dry easily and taste great.

Point is, where there is a will there is a way.

Keep your beds thoroughly mulched and composted (we don't use any land animal products, i.e., manure, but that's a personal choice; we only use plant based compost) and the earthworms will help with the tilling as your soil gets better and better each year.

We started with rock hard red clay too.  And coming from a place in Northern Indiana where we grew our gardens in old black soil peat moss bogs, the red clay here was pretty discouraging at first.  Keep adding the organic matter though, and every year it does get better and much easier to work.  Also, be sure you are practicing intensive gardening methods to grow more food in less area (which also means less work and expense).

Keep us posted on your progress friend.

Best wishes.

John


Subject: Fig Hedge Under Construction Replies: 17
Posted By: GeorgiaFig Views: 1,591
 
Hi Dennis.  I must admit I have thought, and continue to think a lot about what is the best spacing for these.

As they say: Failure to plan is a plan for failure.

But at some point after thinking it through as best you can, and considering all the variables you know about, you jump in and give it your best shot.

Success is great, but you learn no matter what the outcome.

And as I said earlier: Fortunately gardening is not parachuting.  If something goes wrong, you can just try again!  ;-)

Take care good friend, and let us know how it's going.

Best wishes.

John


Subject: Fig Hedge Under Construction Replies: 17
Posted By: GeorgiaFig Views: 1,591
 
Hi Ken.  On the spacing, Dennis in North Carolina is using a standard 7 feet.

I'm thinking about a more variable approach (5 - 7), but generally closer for a quicker hedge effect, but still no closer than 5 feet.

The plants in the test hedge are mostly the "Yellow Unknown" I have.  I planted them very close, pretty much side-by-side, just to see: 1) What the fig hedge effect would look like (very good when leafed out), and 2) How well the figs would shade the ground underneath and how much weeding would be needed (they shaded well and almost no weeding was needed).

When the figs grow together into a hedge and were well mulched, almost no weeding was needed underneath.  The figs are shading out and crowding out the weeds pretty well.  In contrast, the figs planted alone in the orchard had much more trouble with invasive grass that had to be pulled from around their base.

I also used the area underneath the larger figs to root cuttings and that worked very well.

But I never intended to leave the trees in the test area this closely planted.  I will leave one of them, but most of these are coming out and being relocated to other local growers in the Spring.

Best wishes.

John

Subject: Fig Hedge Under Construction Replies: 17
Posted By: GeorgiaFig Views: 1,591
 
Hi JD.  We get our mushroom spores from Fungi Perfecti http://www.fungi.com

And Eliot Coleman is a great resource for low-tech, high productivity gardening http://www.fourseasonfarm.com/

I would also recommend Jon Jeavons and Bountiful Gardens http://www.bountifulgardens.org as great source of low cost/high quality seeds and information about organic gardening.

These guys are doing amazing research that can be used by backyard gardeners right now to lower costs and improve results by working with rather than against nature.

Take care good friend.

John

Subject: Winter Garden Replies: 20
Posted By: GeorgiaFig Views: 1,351
 
Hi Martin and Ken.

I had a plastic mesh fence before I put up the pvc coated chicken wire one.

And then one morning I woke up to find a big deer shaped hole in it.

Apparently the deer had gotten under it to get it, but then couldn't get out, freaked out, and ran right through it!

The black pvc coated chicken wire fencing came in a big roll.  I unrolled it on the grass to straighten it out a little, but it didn't require any stretching.

And Ken, the real secret to vegetable gardening is organic matter in the soil.  We started with rock hard red Georgia clay, but after several years of adding all the organic matter we could find (leaves; straw; wood chips; ashes; peat moss; egg shells; etc.) it's starting to look much more like the good black Indiana soil we grew up with near Fort Wayne.  You can really tell the soil is good when you can smell the earthiness.  Lots of mushrooms and earthworms are a good sign too.

Hope you are well my friends.

Best wishes.

John


Subject: Fig Hedge Under Construction Replies: 17
Posted By: GeorgiaFig Views: 1,591
 
Thank you Rafed, and I will be very happy to share pictures from the project as it progresses.

I could rent a stump remover.  But honestly, I am really, really, let's say frugile!  ;-)

The mushroom thing really works.  The spore plugs (tiny dowel rods inoculated with various species of mushroom spores) are inexpensive, and more than pay for themselves just with the mushrooms you get.  I have done this with several stumps now.

An ideal solution is one that takes the problem and turns it into a benefit.

Stumps make a great food source for mushrooms, the stump is rapidly turned to compost, and you get to eat a lot of really great fresh mushrooms.

Hope all is well with you my friend.

Best wishes.

John


Subject: Fig Hedge Under Construction Replies: 17
Posted By: GeorgiaFig Views: 1,591
 
Hi Dennis.  I remember reading in an earlier post that you were spacing 7 feet, and honestly, I'm still thinking about it.

My thinking right now on the spacing though is that it's going to be somewhat variable, as I know that some varieties will tend to be more upright, and others more spreading.  The "Unknown Yellow" variety (figs on the left in the test mini-hedge) I am growing can grow very successfully in a smaller area, our HC is very upright in habit, and I am looking for a privacy hedge pretty quickly, so I am really thinking 5 (smaller and more upright) to up to 7 for known larger varieties.  I'm also going to have to work around the stumps.

The good news though is that this isn't sky diving: If it doesn't work, you get to try again and fix things as you go and as you see how the plants are growing.

I expect that it will be somewhat fluid in that some will die and have to be replaced (or just let the neighboring figs fill in, some of the varities tend to sucker a lot and spread (these runner plants can be taken out for new trees also).

But I'm sure that 7 feet is a very good spacing in general, and for ones that I know like to spread (like the LSU Purple), I will give them more space.

But I don't really want a just row of bushes, we want more of a hedge effect.  The Leyland Cypresses were there for a reason, and we want a little privacy hedge, at least in the summer months.

Keep us posted on your progress Dennis.

Best wishes.

John
North Georgia Piedmont
Zone 7b

Subject: Winter Garden Replies: 20
Posted By: GeorgiaFig Views: 1,351
 
My pleasure Goldie.

With the exception of the last few decades, people have always grown their own food.

And as Mahatma Ghandi said: If we forget how to garden, we forget who we are.

Our goal here is to find ways to live better, be healthier, happier, and do all of this for less money and with the least time and effort possible.  A garden is a great way to do that.  We have vegetables that are better than any you can buy at any price, just picked fresh, all organic, and practically for free.  And working in the garden is great exercise and good for relaxing.

And we have fresh vegetables now year round.  It's easier to do here in Zone 7, but Eliot Coleman (his book is Four Season Gardening; or something like that) is growing vegetables year round in Maine, Zone 5, with no heaters.

Hope some of this is helpful to those of you who are trying to live more independently and save money.

Best wishes to all.

John


Subject: Fig Hedge Under Construction Replies: 17
Posted By: GeorgiaFig Views: 1,591
 
Hi JD!  The deer fence goes around the adjacent vegetable garden, but we have never had any troubles with the deer bothering the figs.  They will eat almost anything (including tomato vines which I thought were poisonious) but there are two fruits they have never bothered (thankfully): Figs or blueberries, and we have lots of both.

The hedge runs North to South.  It will get full sun on the Northern two thirds of the hedge, but the bottom third will be shaded by the neighbors Leyland Cypresses in the afternoon (not much I can do short of cutting down his trees!).  ;-)

The birds don't bother the white figs much, so all the white figs will go on one end with the dark figs netted together on the other end.

I have just over 40 different varieties now waiting to be planted, so pretty much one of each.  I've got room for another North-South hedge on the other side too, but one hedge at a time!  ;-)

Hope you are well my friend.

Best wishes.

John

Subject: Fig Hedge Under Construction Replies: 17
Posted By: GeorgiaFig Views: 1,591
 
Now that the cool weather has arrived, I have started construction of the fig hedge.  This hedge is replacing a row of Leyland Cypress:

Step 1: Planted mini test-hedge last Spring.  Worked great; looked great (attached photo is from today; losing leaves; but looked great all summer).

Step 2: Cleared out trees.  Obviously the hardest part.  Took out 8 Leyland Cypress and one oak to make a 200 foot open run for the fig hedge.

Step 3: Prepare ground.  The stumps are being treated with mushroom spore plugs (cypress and oak require different species of mushrooms).  I've done this before and the fungus will turn the stumps to compost in just a couple years, and meanwhile, you get lots of tasty mushrooms.  For now though, I am going to have to work around the stumps rotatilling and planting, but when I add the peat moss/bagged garden soil on top you won't see them.

Step 4: In the Spring, plant figs (overwintering in the garden now) spacing about 5 feet apart (more or less depending on known growth habit of each type).  That's close, but this is meant to be a hedge and will be kept pruned each year to maximize productivity and keep a good shape.

Step 5: Maintenance and picking: Mulched very heavy to prevent weeds; watered with a soaker hose left down the length (just plug in and water); easy picking and mowing by going up and down each side.

John
North Georgia Piedmont
Zone 7b

Attached Images
jpeg Fig_Hedge_2010_2.jpg (949.63 KB, 136 views)
jpeg Fig_Hedge_2010_1.jpg (688.46 KB, 117 views)
jpeg Fig_Hedge_2010_3.jpg (941.47 KB, 100 views)


Subject: Winter Garden Replies: 20
Posted By: GeorgiaFig Views: 1,351
 
Winter Garden: We garden year round here, even though the temperatures commonly fall below freezing at night November-March and we get a fair amount of snow and ice.

Our garden system works like this:

1) High quality soil = healthy productive garden (add as much compost and organic matter as you can get every year)
2) Bare soil = Poor soil and lots of weeds: We rotatile fall and spring, but then the ground is always covered with either crops or heavy straw mulch.  We have almost no weeds, water less, and crops grow great.  All the mulch is tilled in to improve soil quality so it does triple duty (mulch; soil improvement; feed plants).  The paths are wood chips (so the kids know where to walk and don't walk on beds and compact soil)
3) When freezing weather comes I cover the crops with heavy plastic sheeting at night held down on the corners with cement blocks.
4) The support hoops are made from a roll of wire and connected/strengthened with a line of bailing twine tied along the top.

It stands up to several inches of snow pretty good, and we harvest cool weather crops through to Spring.  Last year we got over a foot of snow one day, so I did go out and sweep that off a couple times so it would not get to heavy.  Heavy snow areas might try pvc pipe or something heavier (stronger but bulkier to store and more expensive).

And all of this gives me something to do till fig season starts in the Spring!  ;-)

It's actually very easy, low cost, low maintenance, and super productive of tasty organic produce all winter.

Best wishes.

John
North Georgia Piedmont
Zone 7b

Attached Images
jpeg Winter_Garden_2010_1.jpg (768.12 KB, 57 views)


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

Sorry, the picture files were too big.  I had to crop them down to fit.  Here is the garden fence.

Attached Images
jpeg Garden_Fence_2010_10.jpg (814.73 KB, 79 views)


Subject: Winter Garden Replies: 20
Posted By: GeorgiaFig Views: 1,351
 
Hi everyone.  Earlier this summer I promised to send pictures of our anti-deer fence around the vegetable garden.  I am also sending a picture of our winter garden.  The garden doubles as the nursery for our fig cuttings and newest trees.

The Anti-Deer Fence: Deer are a MAJOR problem in our area.  They will practically fight you for the groceries on the way in from the car, so without a deer fence your garden vegetables don't stand a chance.  This is a 50 x 40 foot fence (2000 square foot garden).  It costs a total of $700 (all supplies plus shipping/delivery), it required very little skill (since I have very little this was good), and it's the best thing I ever made.  The deer haven't gotten one bite since this was installed, and our garden is now super productive.  The fence is constructed in this way:

Corner Posts: Untreated (we never use any chemicals of any kind) 12 foot cedar posts buried 4 feet down and surrounded by cement (8 feet above ground).  The in-between support posts are black metal (ordered on internet).

Fence: Roll of 7.5 foot tall chicken wire coated with black pvc (ordered on internet) tied on with black ties.

Gate: Built from cedar also; used leftover fence and added hinges and lock. 

I will explain the garden method in a follow up post (out of space).

John
North Georgia Piedmont
Zone 7b

Subject: Against all frost! Pix Replies: 9
Posted By: GeorgiaFig Views: 994
 
Hi Ottawan.  The LSU Purple has yet another odd quirk, in that its taste and even shape seem to be variable over time.

The first few years I was considering digging it up because the flavor wasn't that great, but as time past the flavor improved dramatically, and the fruits tended to be bigger and rounder than in the earlier years.

Now the flavor is very good.  Not as good as HC or VDB to me, but far more productive with larger numbers of fruit over a longer period of time.

So it is a winner here in Zone 7 and higher.  Our figs are all in ground, but with some extra care and the ability to move the plant inside to sunny window or greenhouse, you could still have good success with an LSU, but it's not an ideal variety North of Zone 7, I would think.

Hope you are well my friend and very best wishes for an early Spring way up North.

John
North Georgia Piedmont
Zone 7b

Subject: Against all frost! Pix Replies: 9
Posted By: GeorgiaFig Views: 994
 
Hi Vasile.  You never cease to amaze me my friend: Great figs in New Jersey in November!

Our LSU Purple is still cranking out good numbers of tasty figs, and there are a few from the HC and VDB still, but I expect this will all come to an end with the hard freeze predicted in a few days.

It has been a great year though.

Best wishes to all.

John
North Georgia Piedmont
Zone 7b

Subject: Happy National Fig Week! Replies: 3
Posted By: GeorgiaFig Views: 604
 

For some of us, every week is national fig week!  ;-)


Subject: Last VdB and Mission Figs Replies: 3
Posted By: GeorgiaFig Views: 650
 
Hi Martin.  That is pretty amazing, having figs this late in the season.

I used to live up there, and I've seen snow by now some years.

Hope your winter is short and next year is your best season ever.

Best wishes.

John
North Georgia Piedmont
Zone 7b

Subject: Direction for Fig Row Replies: 16
Posted By: GeorgiaFig Views: 1,258
 
Hi Pete.  My wife told me to plant the Leyland Cypresses!  ;-)

When I was planting them, I thought "this won't end well" and it didn't!  ;-)

Ten years later, and 20 feet taller, we both agreed that these needed to come out.

But since that means I get to plant figs there, no complaints from me.

It really is a lot of fun having some land and growing things.  Everyday I go out and see what is happening in the garden and the orchard.  Best "reality show" ever, and this one comes with free food.

Best wishes.

John


Subject: Direction for Fig Row Replies: 16
Posted By: GeorgiaFig Views: 1,258
 
Hi Ken.  I will be very happy to do this.  Right now there is just the short mini-test hedge I planted last Spring, and then 200 feet where I am clearing out trees, a row of Leyland Cypresses I never should have planted anyway. 

That's going to take a while as they are pretty big now, those grow very fast.  If I can get the stump out I do, but these are way past that size, so I use those little dowels inoculated with fungus.  That has worked well with other trees, turning the stump into compost pretty quickly.  But I have never tried this on Leyland Cypresses.  I got the right kind of fungus for these, so we will see. 

Either way, I cut the stump down just below ground level (by digging around it to make room for the saw cutting that low) and cover it so you can't see the stump at all.  My goal is to have the whole bed ready for planting this Spring.  I will take pictures. 

I will also take a picture of the deer fence I built around the garden and our Fall garden.  We have vegetables year round by using hoop tunnels.

Hope you are well my friend.

Best wishes.

John

Subject: Crown Replies: 15
Posted By: GeorgiaFig Views: 1,606
 
Well . . . since he wants to keep the tree, then digging it up would be a little ackward I guess.  ;-)

It will take a little longer with the cuttings, but that looks like a great fig Matt.  Hope they root well for you and that you will be picking figs before you know it.

Best wishes.

John

Subject: Direction for Fig Row Replies: 16
Posted By: GeorgiaFig Views: 1,258
 
Dennis' suggestion sounds very good.  I'm going with a little tighter spacing, 5 to 6 feet, just because I want a quicker, tighter hedge, and I have a lot of fig trees to plant. 

I will go with a little more or a little less space when I know that that particular variety tends to be more upright or more spreading; smaller or larger, but my main purpose is an edible landscape hedge, so I'm spacing a little tighter. 

The first hedge I'm putting in runs about 200 feet, so that's going to be a lot of figs.  And it will remain a work in progress.  I have about 40 different varieties ready to put in.  If there are any that we don't like, or that die, they come out to make room for another fig, either a new one or more space for a neighboring fig we do like.

Even at the tighter spacing, they will still have a lot more room than in a pot.  I also plan to put in a LOT of good soil amendments prior to planting the hedge, lots of peat moss and compost tilled in, topped with several inches of good quality bagged soil, then topped with lots of pine bark mulch, and then start planting.

But today, it's continuing to take out the rest of the trees.

Best wishes to all.

John
North Georgia Piedmont
Zone 7b

Subject: Crown Replies: 15
Posted By: GeorgiaFig Views: 1,606
 
I'm very much from the School of Nothing Ventured; Nothing Gained, so I'm with Debbie and Bass.  I would cut off some nice cuttings to start, and then plant what's left of the crown too. 

AND I would ask the neighbor if he wanted that stump out.  If it's no more than 6-8 inches across (much bigger and it's not worth the work; and you can't get enough good roots with it) you should be able to get it out with a shovel, determination, and some good exercise. 

I dig stumps this size up all the time with just a shovel.  Start about 1.5 to 2 feet out from the center and dig a circle around the stump, keep circling and working your shove under further and further, trying to save as many roots as you can, and after some circling, digging under, and lifting, you should be able to pull the stump out, shake off the excess dirt, and move it to your place in a wheel barrow. 

If the grounds not too hard, taking it out is not too hard either (but the opposite is also true).  If you can do this, transplant it into some good dirt in a good spot, and I'll bet you roots will continue to grow starting this Fall, in the Spring you will get some strong new shoots, and you will  have a nice fig bush and some figs next summer.  The cuttings will work too but it would probably be two years plus before you get many figs.

Let us know how it goes.

Best wishes.

John
North Georgia Piedmont
Zone 7b

Subject: Crown Replies: 15
Posted By: GeorgiaFig Views: 1,606
 
Hi Matt.  Back again.

Basically you want to weigh the effort of transplanting the stump against the chances it can be transplanted successfully.

If the stump was in pretty good shape, not too big, and I could get it out without any extreme effort, and with some good roots and at least a little of the truck on the stump, I would give that a try, along with starting a bunch of cuttings as well.

In the right situation it might work well, and personally, I enjoy a challenge in gardening, and often end up doing things people think are not possible, which is part of the fun.

If the stump is in bad shape and impossible to get out with any decent root though, that probably isn't worth the effort though.

The cuttings will be a sure thing though either way.

Best wishes.

John


Subject: Crown Replies: 15
Posted By: GeorgiaFig Views: 1,606
 
What about digging up the stump and replanting it in your yard?  If he wants the tree out, I'm sure he would want the stump out too.

That are a lot of variables here, but in some cases, digging up the stump might work, it will dig in with some good roots and top growth quickly in the Spring, and give you a big jump on a good size tree a lot quicker than just cuttings.

Even if you try this though, I would definately start a bunch of cuttings also just in case, as that is the only sure bet.

Best wishes.

John


Subject: Texas blue giant fig Replies: 5
Posted By: GeorgiaFig Views: 3,922
 
Just had a fully ripe Texas Blue Giant (sorry; I ate it before taking a picture).

The flavor was fantastic, sweet, and very rich, with a little bit of bight like HC or VDB.  This was the first year in-ground here.  It was put in the ground late, so the main crop set late this year.  So most of the main crop won't make it before the hard freeze which is just a few weeks away, but can't wait till next year.

It was affected by FMV especially right at first early in the season, but now it is looking pretty good.  It grew from about a foot tall whip to four feet tall with good branching.  Looks like another pretty good variety.  But I have no idea about cold hardiness yet.  We will see.

Best wishes to all.

John
North Georgia Piedmont
Zone 7b

Subject: Direction for Fig Row Replies: 16
Posted By: GeorgiaFig Views: 1,258
 
Hi everyone.  I am planting a long fig hedge North to South. 

Having them in a hedge row will make watering (with a soaker hose along the hedge row), weeding, and picking far more efficient. 

Mowing will also be far easier, which is a big deal in the Southeast, where heat and humidity make the grass grow like crazy, and make if really, really miserable to be outside cutting it in the hottest parts of the summer.

I will be planting the big row here in very early Spring (still clearing the trees right now), but the mini-test row (also North to South) worked out fine this summer.  It was far easier to mow up one side, and then down the other and be done, than trimming around each plant individually.  And the natural shading from the plants and good heavy mulching kept weeds down to almost none under the plants in the mini-hedge.

I am also planting all the white figs on one end (because our birds don't seem to bother the white figs; so no net is needed) and all the dark figs at the other end so the dark figs can be netted all together on that half of the hedge (the birds go crazy on the dark ones of course).

I have been growing blueberries in a North to South Hedge for years, and this has worked out great.  You can get more plants in less space, more fruit from less space, and mowing, watering, and picking are far easier and more efficient.  When all the plants are separated and its very dry, you waste a lot of water with plants here and there as the water disperses from the plant watered to surrounding soil.

Hedges are a very efficient plan, and I think they look great too.

Best wishes to all.

John
North Georgia Piedmont
Zone 7b

Subject: Recommendations for Zone 6? Replies: 6
Posted By: GeorgiaFig Views: 839
 
Thanks Ken.  That was LOL funny my friend!

It is a burden shoveling all that sunshine in the winter, but we will persevere!  ;-)

Subject: Overwintering New In-Ground Figs Replies: 3
Posted By: GeorgiaFig Views: 652
 
Thank you Jason.  That is a fantastic idea.  And it also eliminates the concern I had about the figs rooting all the way up the branches overwintering in the wet straw.

And again, congratulations on the new son.  I have three.  You are in for some wonderful times my friend.

And let me know if you need some help pruning in February.

Best wishes.

John

Subject: Another fig lover is born? Replies: 28
Posted By: GeorgiaFig Views: 1,426
 
Mazel tov!!!  That is wonderful news my friend.  Blessings on your new son, you, mom, and your whole family.  And thank you for sharing this great joy with your friends here.

All the best.

John

Subject: LSU Purple Power! Replies: 54
Posted By: GeorgiaFig Views: 5,836
 
Thanks Dan.  Can't wait to try the LSU Gold, and I will look for an LSU Golden Celeste as well.

We have a lot of LSU people here at UGA in North Georgia.  Good people and I was very happy to give them all starts of the LSU fig, a little bit of home in their backyard here.

Say hi to Mike the Tiger for us.  Our kids love that guy, and even check out his habitat on the webcam pretty often.  Many years ago when I was in Baton Rouge, Mike just had a simple cage, but now he has a great habitat, very impressive.

We will also be on the look out for more of those great new LSU figs too.  Dr. O'Rourke is doing some great work.  If you ever run into those guys please tell them the LSU Purple is solidly cold hardy here, and to keep up the great work.

Best wishes.

John
North Georgia Piedmont
Zone 7b

Subject: LSU Purple Power! Replies: 54
Posted By: GeorgiaFig Views: 5,836
 
Thank you Dan.  Your observations very much confirm ours.

And I didn't know about the cropping pattern, very interesting.  Thanks for sharing this.

We have a new LSU Gold also, and can't wait to try this one too.

I'm assuming you are in Louisiana, with very long summers and lots of heat, all of which figs love.

We get some serious heat here in Georgia too, but a little shorter season, and also some substantial snow and ice.  The LSU Purple stands up to these just fine.

Hope you have a great Fall there in LA.

John
North Georgia Piedmont
Zone 7b

Subject: Recommendations for Zone 6? Replies: 6
Posted By: GeorgiaFig Views: 839
 
Hi Ken.

My suggestion is that he needs to move further South!  ;-)

Just kidding.  I am always amazed at the success Northern growers have with figs, and my brother in Maine is now growing a Hardy Chicago.  And as others report the Marseilles VS is outstanding in quality, productivity, and cold hardiness, a real winner.  My mother is also going to try these near the Chicago area starting this Spring, in-ground (I know; a bold experient) in a well protected area by a South facing brick wall.

As a former Midwesterner though, the problem is not only cold, but wild swings in temperatures.  A few warm weeks in early Spring can commonly be followed by several feet of snow and freezing temperatures.

Nonetheless, I'm sure it can be done, and the rewards are well worth the effort.

Hope you are well my friend.

Best wishes.

John
North Georgia Piedmont
Zone 7b

Subject: Overwintering New In-Ground Figs Replies: 3
Posted By: GeorgiaFig Views: 652
 
To reduce freeze damage to new in-ground figs this year I plan to try this:

1) Withhold water to encourage dormancy (done);
2) Add a few inches of cedar chips as mulch (cedar chips are also to discourage nesting of mice);
3) Mulch very heavily with straw up to about 2.5 feet (the height of most of the newest figs);
4) Uncover in the Spring when the danger of a hard freeze has safely passed.

I hope this will both protect the younger fig trees from winter freezes and delay bud break some until hard freezes are over.

After a few years the figs fully acclimate to the climate and stop freezing back, but it would be nice to not see them all froze back to the ground the first few years.

So what do you think?  Will this work?  Any suggestions for better ways?  See any obvious problems I am overlooking?

Any comments and suggestions would be very welcomed, and helpful to others as well I am certain.

Best wishes to all.

John
North Georgia Piedmont
Zone 7b

Subject: LSU Purple Power! Replies: 54
Posted By: GeorgiaFig Views: 5,836
 
p.s. This variety is also said to be nematode resistant, and ours has never shown any sign of FMV.  The LSU Purple is a strong, healthy grower in our experience, and very heat and drought tolerant as well.

It is a bushy grower, not just upright, so we give ours a good pruning every year.  Depending on your preferences that may be a negative or a positive.

Subject: LSU Purple Power! Replies: 54
Posted By: GeorgiaFig Views: 5,836
 
The LSU Purple is still putting out a good numbers of figs, and the quality is still very good. 

Not the same as those that ripened in the intense heat of August of course, but very good for this time of year. 

We usually get a hard killing freeze in the next two or so, and I picked about two dozen nice figs yesterday, and another 15 or so today.

All the other figs have pretty much stopped producing, but the LSU Purple is still going strong.

The downsides to this variety are that it seems to take a few years before the plant starts producing peak flavor fruit, and it has a later ripening date, so it wouldn't be as good for short season areas.

But if you are in zone 7 or further south, this one is definately a winner.  The flavor and productivity are outstanding.  Definately one of our best here in the orchard.  The people at LSU know their figs.

Best wishes to all.

John
North Georgia Piedmont
Zone 7b

Subject: A Visit with Bass Replies: 8
Posted By: GeorgiaFig Views: 1,042
 
Hi Martin.  That was very funny!  ;-)

And seems to be proving true as well.

And Bass, the snow will surely come, as it comes even here much further South.  In the meantime, hope you have a great Fall, and we will all plan an even better year for next Summer.

Best wishes to all.

John
North Georgia Piedmont
Zone 7b

Subject: A Visit with Bass Replies: 8
Posted By: GeorgiaFig Views: 1,042
 
I've got two deliveries on the way . . . whoops, no make that three.

Is there a 12 step program for this?  ;-)

Best wishes to all.

John
North Georgia Piedmont
Zone 7b

Subject: A Visit with Bass Replies: 8
Posted By: GeorgiaFig Views: 1,042
 
Hi Noss.  They really are delicious and very healthy as well.

Among many other health benefitis, figs are a great source of anti-oxidants.

Take care friend.

John
North Georgia Piedmont
Zone 7b

Subject: A Visit with Bass Replies: 8
Posted By: GeorgiaFig Views: 1,042
 
Bass and his orchard are pretty amazing, especially growing all of this in Pennsylvania.  It just shows that where there is a will there is a way.

And I too keep telling myself I have plenty of figs, but then I discover another fantastic must-have variety.

So far my wife has been great about this, but only because she has no doubt already given up any hope concerning my sanity about the fig orchard!  ;-) 

I guess we could have far worse problems than growing figs, which is actually a very fun, positive, and productive hobby.

Best wishes to all.

John
North Georgia Piedmont
Zone 7b

Subject: Won't go dormant Replies: 11
Posted By: GeorgiaFig Views: 1,275
 
Thanks Ken.  That is very helpful. 

It seemed to make sense, and that's the way the plants were responding here to, but I am more confident with your confirmation. 

And I was pretty sure that this year, watering them might do more harm than good in the longer run.

It's been unusually warm very late in the season.  Today we have record heat of 85 degrees in October.  Even so, you can be pretty sure that by the end of October, in just a few weeks, we will get our first hard freeze as usual.  The Almanac, which in my experience is a more accurate about long-term forecasts than NOAA (watch the long-term NOAA forecast over the years and you will see that NOAA virtually always "predicts" that the current weather pattern will continue), but the Almanac predicts a cold winter again here.  It's not always correct, but usually is, and that means it's very likely we will have one of those hot them BOOM it's freezing weather changes, without much transition time.

So anything I can do to encourage earlier dormancy will help.

Hope you are well my friend.

Best wishes.

John
North Georgia Piedmont
Zone 7b

Subject: bananas Replies: 14
Posted By: GeorgiaFig Views: 1,333
 
Hi Jason.  Hope all is well with you my friend.

That sounds very exciting.  Growing bananas would be great fun.

People watch the news, and it's rarely good news, and become very negative.

To the contrary.  There is much to be thankful for, and even more to look forward to.

The days of easy credit and mass consumerism may be coming to an end, but for those of us who love to garden, grow, be more self-sufficient, and share with our community and neighbors, the fun is just beginning. 

More and more people are becoming serious about better ways to live and thrive based on real things, like gardens, orchards, and helping your neighbors, so I am very optimistic that most anything is possible.  Including growing some bananas locally.

Take care good friend.

John
North Georgia Piedmont
Zone 7b

Subject: Won't go dormant Replies: 11
Posted By: GeorgiaFig Views: 1,275
 
I would like to encourage our in ground figs to good dormant as much and as soon as possible to minimize winter freeze back.

Is withholding water a good idea? 

Or should I go ahead and water, as it's getting pretty dry?

My concern is that if I water, I may encourage more new grow rather than hardening off by the plant.

But if I don't water, I am harming the in ground figs?  Especially the newer ones? 

They aren't wilting, but lower leaves are dropping.  I'm thinking that may be a good sign, but I also don't have much experience with this yet.

Temperatures have been relatively cool (70s day; 40s night) but for the next few days we are going back up into the mid to upper 80s and it is getting pretty dry.

Some experienced advice would be greatly appreciated (by me and the fig trees who rely on me!)  ;-)

Hope everyone is well and that you are having a great Fall.

Best wishes.

John
North Georgia Piedmont
Zone 7b

Subject: bananas Replies: 14
Posted By: GeorgiaFig Views: 1,333
 
Great pictures Bass.  Thanks.

It actually gets pretty cold here in the North Georgia Piedmont (zone 7b), with snow and ice storms so fruiting bananas are definately out, but I have seen a lot of people growing bananas here ornamentally.

I'm far too pragmatic to grow them just for decoration, but using the leaves for cooking asian food is a great idea.

You have just given me an excuse to grow a banana tree!  Thanks!

Best wishes.

John

Subject: collecting cuttings from trees that are not dormant Replies: 12
Posted By: GeorgiaFig Views: 1,612
 
I looked for good figs in the area all summer.  You can only taste figs when they are ripe, which means the trees are not dormant but in full growth of course.

It's sometimes a little socially ackward to ask strangers "do you care if I taste your figs" and even more ackward to come back multiple times, so when a taste test confirmed I had found a great fig, I asked for a cutting right then, mid-summer, not dormant, and in full growth.

I stripped the leaves and just planted the cuttings in good quality soil right after I got each of them this summer.

All rooted well and are growing strong.

Best wishes to all.

John
North Georgia Piedmont
Zone 7b

Subject: 143-36 pix and other people experience with it ? Replies: 24
Posted By: GeorgiaFig Views: 3,051
 
Hi Herman.  Previously I posted the pictures below as a yellow unknown we purchased from a nursery as a "Celeste."  We knew very soon that it was not a Celeste.

Good news though, it proved to be far superior, and is definately one of our favorites now.

You thought it might be a 143-36 or other modern hybrid cultivar.  I looked over the pictures, and I think that is is very likely that it is a modern hybrid cultivar, possibly 143-36 or another.  I'm not sure the leaves on ours match yours though, and since you know that yours is 143-36 that makes me less certain about ours.

I would say though, that ours has excellent flavor, sugar sweet, with no hint of bitterness that I have ever detected.  And it has never split, or soured because of the tighly closed eye, is highly productive, very large figs, light breba and heavy main crop, early ripening (main crop starts ripening in mid-July) and grows like a weed unprotected in ground here in Zone 7b.  Whatever it is, I would highly recommend it.  Negatives?  It is a strong grower and suckers at the base quite a bit, but nothing a little annual pruning won't fix.  Overall this is a great fig, whatever it is.

Hope you are well my friend.

John
North Georgia Piedmont
Zone 7b

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Subject: LSU Purple Power! Replies: 54
Posted By: GeorgiaFig Views: 5,836
 
Hi Dan and Noss.

We planted our LSU Purple in ground and unprotected from day one, and it has fruited every year here in zone 7b.  And we can get some pretty nasty late season frosts, snows, and ice storms.  Even if it does get frozen back, our LSU Purple bounces back with a good main crop.

Best wishes.

John


Subject: Fig Branches In Water Replies: 14
Posted By: GeorgiaFig Views: 1,947
 
Hi Martin.  I always wondered if that would work, and turns out it did.  Thanks for sharing this.

Just got back from Northern Indiana, not that far from Chicago, and despite the unusually warm weather lately, Fall did seem to be setting in for good this time up North.

And back in Georgia, we are seeing definate signs of Fall as well.

But not to worry, Spring and Summer will be here again before you know it.

Best wishes.

John
North Georgia Piedmont
Zone 7b

Subject: Pawpaw Replies: 115
Posted By: GeorgiaFig Views: 10,848
 
Hi Bass.  Great pictures.  Thanks.

My Mom grows a big crop of Pawpaws every year in Indiana, enough for everyone.  We just visited and got some to bring home too.  And at least to our taste they are very good, kind of a smooth banana/sweet apple flavor with a hint of butterscotch.

I am growing some here in Georgia as well, and it does seem to take them a couple years to settle in before they start growing well.

But overall they are a very good, trouble free fruit.  No insect problems that I have ever seen, productive and easy to grow once established.

And Ken: I picked our first Jujube fruits just a few weeks ago.  They are still very small trees, but the fruit was good.  Unusual, but good.  They reminded me of dates a little bit.

And just to keep with the fig theme, our Hardy Chicago is still producing strong, as is the LSU Purple, even as other figs seem to be slowing down with the shortening days and cooling weather.

Best wishes to all.

John
North Georgia Piedmont
Zone 7b

 

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