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Subject: JON. Kick greenfin out. Replies: 20
Posted By: GreenFin Views: 988
 
I'm not a scammer, and it's absurd to call me that.  At WORST I'm simply understandably late on completing a mega-project for the community, and rather than give me any credit at all for overcoming all the setbacks and pushing the project through to a tardy completion, you just want to focus on the fact that I'm late, which you totally misrepresent as something sinister. 

Also, how am I supposed to raise the money to ship all those previous orders if you won't let me sell off any of my current inventory?  How does that make any sense to you?  If I'm not allowed to generate any income, then none of you can get your stuff because I don't have the money for shipping.  I don't have the money for shipping because the costs of growing all of this stuff for everyone has greatly exceeded the low prices I charged.  I have put in a ton of my own money to pay the extra bills for your trees/cuttings, and I have had all the rest of my money yanked from my accounts by people doing chargebacks, so there is literally no money left in my pockets to subsidize the project for you anymore. 

I can't go off-site and work for income because I have to be here putting in 70-100 hours a week doing all of the actual fig work here, so the only way I'm going to generate income is to sell off the extra trees and cuttings that are ready to go.  As orders come in and I immediately ship them out, I'll then have money to ship out previous orders that are overdue.  Do you see how this process allows everyone to get what they want and is a win-win-win for everyone?  What you propose (i.e. trying to prevent me from generating income) is a lose-lose-lose for everyone where nobody gets what they want. 

There are people who strongly want this project to fail (because of their own profit/power motives, or because they don't want to be proven wrong, etc), and who have worked very hard to create false narratives about me and manipulate you.  The closer this project gets to the finish line, the harder they will try to undermine it and defame me.  You know what they say about catching more flak the closer you get to the target...

Subject: pitangadiego Replies: 5
Posted By: GreenFin Views: 462
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaylyne
Jon. Would it be possible to block greenfins attempt in selling more trees and cuttings UnTIL he refunds or sends out previous tree orders since 2015? Can't you treat him like a scammer until he actually fulfills ALL his orders?

I'm not a scammer, and it's absurd to call me that.  At WORST I'm simply understandably late on completing a mega-project for the community, and rather than give me any credit at all for overcoming all the setbacks and pushing the project through to a tardy completion, you just want to focus on the fact that I'm late, which you totally misrepresent as something sinister. 

Also, how am I supposed to raise the money to ship all those previous orders if you won't let me sell off any of my current inventory?  How does that make any sense to you?  If I'm not allowed to generate any income, then none of you can get your stuff because I don't have the money for shipping.  I don't have the money for shipping because the costs of growing all of this stuff for everyone has greatly exceeded the low prices I charged.  I have put in a ton of my own money to pay the extra bills for your trees/cuttings, and I have had all the rest of my money yanked from my accounts by people doing chargebacks, so there is literally no money left in my pockets to subsidize the project for you anymore. 

I can't go off-site and work for income because I have to be here putting in 70-100 hours a week doing all of the actual fig work here, so the only way I'm going to generate income is to sell off the extra trees and cuttings that are ready to go.  As orders come in and I immediately ship them out, I'll then have money to ship out previous orders that are overdue.  Do you see how this process allows everyone to get what they want and is a win-win-win for everyone?  What you propose (i.e. trying to prevent me from generating income) is a lose-lose-lose for everyone where nobody gets what they want. 

There are people who strongly want this project to fail (because of their own profit/power motives, or because they don't want to be proven wrong, etc), and who have worked very hard to create false narratives about me and manipulate you.  The closer this project gets to the finish line, the harder they will try to undermine it and defame me.  You know what they say about catching more flak the closer you get to the target...

Subject: Tons of cuttings, 3gal trees, and 7gal trees available now Replies: 61
Posted By: GreenFin Views: 1,729
 
And here are the 3-gallon varieties:

Aaron's B&V
Albacor Comuna
Alma
Atreano Gold
Battaglia Green
Beall
Black Bethlehem
Black Greek
Black Jack
Black Mission
Brunswick
California Brown Turkey
CdDB
CdDG
CdDN
Conadria
Deanna
Dr. Monticello's
El Molino
Emerald Strawberry
Excel
Flanders
Florea
Galbun
Garnsey White Seedless
Giant Amber
Hardy Chicago
Hadoulis F White
Hollier
Igo
Improved Celeste
JH Adriatic
Kure Beach Unk.
Longue d'Aout
Lebanese Unk.
LSU Gold
LSU Purple
LSU Tiger
Malta Black
Maltese Falcon
Maroc Noir
Marseilles Black VS
Negra d'Agde
Negronne
O'Rourke
Osborne Prolific
Panache
Paradiso Bronze
Pasquale
Petite Aubique
Petite Negri
Raspberry Latte
Ronde de Bordeaux
Salce
Scott's Black
Sicilian Black Italian
Smith
Sorrento Unk.
St. Rita
Stella
Strawberry Verte
Sucrette
Sultane
Takoma Violet
Texas BA-1
Troiano Calabrese
Unk. Calderwood
Unk. Owensboro
Valle Negra
Violette de Bordeaux
Violette Soleis
Yellow Lebanese
Yellow Long Neck
Vista

Subject: Tons of cuttings, 3gal trees, and 7gal trees available now Replies: 61
Posted By: GreenFin Views: 1,729
 
Here are the 7gal varieties:

Variety
Abebereira
Albacor Comuna
Atreano Gold
Black Madeira
Black Mission
Bourjassotte Grise
Carne don Celia
CdDB
CdDG
CdDN
Conadria
Dark Portuguese
Emerald Strawberry
Falls Gold
Figo Preto
Giant Amber
Hardy Hartford
Hadoulis F White
Hative de Argentuiel
Hollier
I-258
Igo
JH Adriatic
Kathleen's Black
LaRadek's
Longue d'Aout
Lebanese Red
Lebanese Unk.
Maltese Beauty
Maltese Falcon
Maroc Noir
Mega Celeste
Melanzana
Negra d'Agde
Northland
Paradiso Bronze
Peterson's Prolific
Princesa
Red Israel
Royal Vineyard
Scott's Black
Smith
Sorrento Unk.
Sucrette
Verte
Violette Sepor
Violette Soleis
White Triana
Yellow Lebanese

Subject: Tons of cuttings, 3gal trees, and 7gal trees available now Replies: 61
Posted By: GreenFin Views: 1,729
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by figeater
You've got a lot of balls!  I can't believe you haven't been banned from the forum yet!  What a POS
You have false beliefs about me if you're thinking that way.

I'm not a POS, I'm the complete opposite of that.  Being late on a huge project while giving it one's all does not make one a POS, and you can't name a single instance when I've done anything other than give my all to do right by everyone.  If you've been imagining otherwise, you've been imagining falsely.

Subject: Tons of cuttings, 3gal trees, and 7gal trees available now Replies: 61
Posted By: GreenFin Views: 1,729
 
I have a wide selection of cuttings and trees available.  These are ready to ship now, no delay. 

USPS Priority Mail for the cuttings (2-3 days), and UPS Ground for the trees (2-4 days). 

cuttings

3-gallon trees

7-gallon trees

The sources were the best available:  Harvey, Jon, drivewayfarmer, kk, herman2, fignutty, Bass, FMD, rcantor, dfoster, and a few others.  I got the most important varieties from multiple quality sources to help ensure accuracy.

Quantities are limited.  There are only a few specimens available for many varieties, so they probably won't last long.  The inventory counts are built into the software buttons, so varieties cannot be oversold.

I need to prune the potted mother trees for cuttings and then sell/ship most of the mothers to clear space and to raise money for shipping and refunds.  If you have already placed an advance order for cuttings, you should receive your order during this Fall 2017 cuttings season.  I'll be shipping out the new orders immediately as they come in, and will also be packaging and shipping the older advance orders at the same time.  Some of the cuttings from harvest will be held back and rooted, so if you're waiting on an advance order of well-rooted starter trees, your order should be ready later this fall/winter.  I apologize again for the long wait, it has been a rough year.

Subject: How to reach people at FigCuttings.com Replies: 49
Posted By: GreenFin Views: 2,364
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigO
So what is the latest opinion on this endeavor. Still a scam, or a person took on more then he can handle and is still trying to fill his orders?

It was never a scam.

The latter option is true, but I'd like to emphasize that the project wasn't necessarily more than I could handle when I proposed it, but rather ended up taking a lot longer than planned because of a series of major setbacks.  If you knew the whole story, you'd see that this is a remarkable story about overcoming unexpected major setbacks time and again, sometimes through cleverness and sometimes through sheer willpower, never wavering from my commitment.  It's a story about refusing to quit, about refusing to cave to established powers regardless of the dirty tactics they use, and about never losing sight in my mind's eye of the many fellow collectors out there who were depending on me.

There are many on these forums who look down on me and disparage me.  As for me?  I am proud of this project and of my own efforts and commitment.  Could I have done better?  Of course!  But I'm still absolutely proud to have created such a great and well-meaning project, and I'm proud of myself for fighting through everything along the way to make it a reality.  This project will be completed soon, and the fig community will be better forever because of it. 

Subject: How to reach people at FigCuttings.com Replies: 49
Posted By: GreenFin Views: 2,364
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MyDogMike
I don't think it matters at this point.  I have yet to see a post from ANYONE who ordered from him saying they actually got what they paid for.

You mean other than the hundreds of people who got what they paid for from my previous sales before you joined the forum?

I had 2 successful sales with 100% satisfaction before the mega-tree sale.

It is also overwhelmingly obvious that I have been working on the current mega-tree project in good faith and that it is nearing completion.

Subject: How to reach people at FigCuttings.com Replies: 49
Posted By: GreenFin Views: 2,364
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tonytran
This is a scam created by James Sperman. Lots of folks around the country and world got their money taken by him. I don't know why Paypal unethically still let peoples order and pay through them. I am sure they had lots of complaints.

Tony

This is NOT a scam.  Not even close.    

I took on an utterly enormous task for the good of the fig community, and I have been incredibly committed to that task.  I have put around 7,000 hours of unpaid labor into this project, and have lost a mountain of money due to escalating costs and lost opportunity (I can't work off site or take consulting work when I'm working 100 hours/week every week growing your trees for you).  I have never quit, despite the setbacks and despite the over-the-top personal attacks in public and behind the scenes.  And soon I'll come thundering across the finish line, much to the chagrin of those haters.

I'm guilty of not getting thousands of trees grown by my estimated dates (which was totally understandable given the setbacks that occurred and were documented), and I'm also guilty of not being able to keep up with runaway emails/pm's/phone calls (because it's impossible to put in 100 hours of customer service requests each week when I'm already putting in 100 hours each week doing the actual hands-on farm work needed to grow your trees for you).  That's it.  At no point have my intent or actions ever deviated from doing my best to do right by everyone.  Unfortunately, this situation was a ripe opportunity for trolls to twist/misrepresent/lie about everything and to create wildly false narratives that then fed off of each other on unmoderated and hostile forums.  Almost everything I see written about me in those narratives is false, much of it absurdly so.  But many people fall for the nonsense, since they don't know the truth and can't understand why I don't come online and defend myself more often (the truth is that I've been way too busy doing the actual work, but people keep disregarding that hard fact).

There are hundreds of people who are still totally on-board with what I'm doing and are grateful for my efforts (telling me I'm doing something wonderful and heroic).  These same folks are disgusted with the trolls and disreputable competitors who have been smearing me throughout this project.

There are more people on my side than against me, but you can't tell that from reading forums dominated by trolls, because the good folks get disgusted with the trolling/smearing/hating and simply stay away from the forum.  The trolls don't just attack me, they attack everyone who believes in me and who wants the project to succeed; hence, when the good folks get sick of it and leave the forum, we're predominantly left with an echo-chamber of trolls who twist/manipulate everything and create nonsensical false narratives.  And then when noobs stumble upon the conversation they are misled into thinking that the echo-chamber of haters is indicative of the greater fig community at-large, which it isn't.  They're also tricked into thinking that the false caricature of me actually reflects me, which it doesn't.  If all the negative garbage being told about me were true, I would certainly agree that I'd be a very bad person.  But the fact of the matter is that the attacks are a bunch of vindictive nonsense, and I'm totally committed to doing right by everyone.

Subject: Any contact to James (GreenFin)??? Replies: 262
Posted By: GreenFin Views: 11,947
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by brianm
And people are going to trust his varieties are true to type after this?

I suppose that the people who were deceived by the long-running smear/defamation campaign against me might also be tricked into having unreasonable doubts about my varieties.  That is one of the chief goals of the smear campaign, is it not?

But I bet all the good folks out there who see through the smear campaign will continue to think for themselves and judge appropriately. 

Is my collection of ~250 varieties perfect?  I would probably wager that a mislabeled variety might have come in at some time and escaped my notice, same as what happens to every other collector.  But I certainly tried to mitigate against that by getting source material from the very best sources (~95% is from Harvey, Jon, drivewayfarmer, herman2, and kk), by getting important material from many different sources to allow for comparison (i.e. getting Black Madeira from 6 different sources, etc), and by researching/comparing online as much as possible. 

I've spent a ton of money on quality material (probably close to $20,000 with Harvey alone), and I certainly wouldn't have gone to such lengths if I didn't highly value accuracy.

Subject: Any contact to James (GreenFin)??? Replies: 262
Posted By: GreenFin Views: 11,947
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaylyne
i Love how s&h is 60 even if you buy only 1.... he cares about the customers not wasting money that he encourages you to buy 2 plants from him

UPS charges the same regardless of whether there are 1 or 2 plants in the box.  They're charging for the box, not the contents.  Shipping 3gal size plants is expensive.

Subject: Any contact to James (GreenFin)??? Replies: 262
Posted By: GreenFin Views: 11,947
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by fygmalion
Based on his last update, there seems to be some significant fig wood being grown of a number of varieties.... That wood will come to market in some manner and likely priced to recoup losses as quickly as possible... certainly not at $7 a tree... but sold under what identity is the question... I would imagine that a new selling identity would be needed since the current identity is somewhat tarnished and baggage laden. Perhaps an intermediary to "launder" the fig wood through? Will be interesting to watch...

That wood is going towards the late orders ($7 trees, late orders for other trees, and late orders for cuttings), just like it should.

Subject: Any contact to James (GreenFin)??? Replies: 262
Posted By: GreenFin Views: 11,947
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ortegojeffrey
This is not check kiting. All the money is good. Simply theft by deception. Whether he intended to steal from everyone from the get go is a different story, and completely negligible.

You're right about it not being check kiting, but it's also not theft by deception.  Nefarious intent isn't negligible, it is required, and the fact of the matter is that my intentions have been nothing but good this entire time, and there has never been any intent to deceive or to steal anything whatsoever. 

This is simply a case of me being way behind on my estimated delivery dates due to a series of difficult setbacks.  My estimated delivery dates were always my honest best estimates given all the information available to me at the time, and they would have been accurate if not for unanticipated problems that derailed them.  Those dates were only estimates, not promises; the only promise I made was that I wouldn't quit, and I have absolutely kept that promise. 

I stopped communicating in April because it took every bit of time and energy I had to keep everything alive and growing, and also because if I hadn't blocked out all the nonstop hateful emails/pm's/phone calls, I might have been too tempted to spit the bit and quit.  Was it a mistake to not even post updates?  Yes.  The haters still would have hated, but the good folks out there would have appreciated it, and I feel bad about letting them down.  

I have given my word that I'll keep working in good faith until everyone gets their stuff (yes you can do substitutions) or their refund, whichever they want, and I continue to stand by it.

Subject: $7 fig trees for spring/summer delivery, around 150+ varieties Replies: 1,421
Posted By: GreenFin Views: 53,173
 
I'm not going to cut off the bandages and buddy tape to take a picture of my toe, but I'll post the X-ray if I can get a copy. 

For those who are interested, I snapped my proximal phalanx in half like a twig.  One half almost came through the skin on top.  I straightened it some myself (not fun), but it was still askew with about 1/8th of an inch in between the two halves when I got the x-ray.


[031-bones-of-the-foot-dorsal-view] 

Subject: $7 fig trees for spring/summer delivery, around 150+ varieties Replies: 1,421
Posted By: GreenFin Views: 53,173
 
As many of you know, I have been rapidly scaling up to handle an avalanche of advance orders that were placed last year, and am behind schedule on deliveries of fig trees and cuttings.  Here's where things currently stand: 

Many of the orders for the $7 tree sale were ready to start shipping out last week (if yours was ready, I emailed you), but had to be temporarily delayed because I was hobbled with a broken toe.  Temperatures have now dipped back down into the low 20's again, which prevents shipping, but are due to warm back up late this week, so shipping should commence next Monday.  Many of those $7 tree orders will be shipped out over the next few weeks, but the orders with the rarest varieties (Black Madeira, Figo Preto, I-258, etc) won't be ready until the end of spring.

Most of the orders that had estimated delivery dates of February/March won't be ready until late spring, and will be shipped then, but some won't be ready until late summer.  The orders that will take the longest are the ones containing Ponte Tresa, Galicia Negra, Genovese Nero (Rafed's), and a few others.

These delays are frustrating, but we will work through them.  Thankfully they are short-term issues that won't recur once we get fully up to speed.  The hard work of creating a large in-ground orchard, growing thousands of mother trees, building a bunch of new greenhouses, and installing a lot of electrical and water infrastructure has now been done; next year should go much smoother.

As for the fig trees themselves, they are doing well.  Below are some pics from one of the heated tunnels:

[IMG_2508] 
[IMG_2527] 
[IMG_2514] 
[IMG_2524]

Subject: $7 fig trees for spring/summer delivery, around 150+ varieties Replies: 1,421
Posted By: GreenFin Views: 53,173
 
I broke the pinkie toe on my right foot earlier this week, and it's really slowing me down.  It was a bad break (the doctor said it was "impressive"), and I can't walk on it at all, so I'm on crutches.  I've been trying to make do as best as I can, but all I can handle right now are the basic necessary chores (watering, venting tunnels, etc).  I didn't realize how much I walk each day and how much heavy stuff I usually carry around until I got hurt.

Some of you were due to receive orders this week, but it will have to be next week or the week after.  This is very frustrating, and I'm sorry for the further delay.     

On the bright side, the plants are all growing great.  I'm excited to say that my big in-ground outdoor orchard (covered by all the new unheated tunnels) is already waking up, and should be bursting the seams of the tunnels by the time it's warm enough to take all the plastic off.  They're 2 months ahead of schedule compared to when my in-ground trees broke dormancy in past seasons.  The potted trees in those unheated tunnels are all starting to wake up now, too.

Subject: Black Beauty 10 Replies: 231
Posted By: GreenFin Views: 10,230
 
yeren -- No problem :)  Thanks for clearing up what you'd been thinking.

GregMartin -- Good idea.  Another possibility for the names would be to put the BB10 part first, like this: BB10 (Dan's) and BB10 Unk. 

Subject: Black Beauty 10 Replies: 231
Posted By: GreenFin Views: 10,230
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlie


[BB_10_2] 

 

Thanks for making these available, Dan.  I bought a bundle a few days ago and am really looking forward to growing them :)

Subject: Black Beauty 10 Replies: 231
Posted By: GreenFin Views: 10,230
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by yeren
Hmm, GreenFin (James) used to have Black Beauty 10 listed for sale on his site (I think it was for $12).  But now (within just the last few days or less), it seems to have been removed.  I wonder why?

Did he just run out - or start doubting what he actually had?

No I didn't, you are wrong.  I never had Black Beauty 10 listed for sale.  I didn't even own it, and only very recently bought some cuttings after seeing them mentioned on this forum.

There sure are a lot of lies being told about me nowadays.  Someone earlier today reported to me that someone was spreading a lie that I have been blacklisted by Malaysian customs, and yesterday I heard that someone was spreading a lie that I'm going to be shipping out green cuttings.  It's disgraceful that some people are stooping to such depths.

Subject: $7 fig trees for spring/summer delivery, around 150+ varieties Replies: 1,421
Posted By: GreenFin Views: 53,173
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Garlic_Mike
I see the site has November 2017 as start shipping dates for both cuttings and plants.

That's for next season's orders, not for orders that were already placed. 

The orders for $7 trees and the orders that were supposed to ship in Feb/March will be ready long before then.

Sorry about not being more clear there.

Subject: $7 fig trees for spring/summer delivery, around 150+ varieties Replies: 1,421
Posted By: GreenFin Views: 53,173
 
Here are some pics of the rooted trees being grown in my greenhouses this winter.  There are around 4,000 figs in rooting cups in these pics, and another 1,000 are about to be added.

[IMG_2364] 
[IMG_2366] 
[IMG_2367] 
[IMG_2369] 
[IMG_2379] 
[IMG_2386] 
[IMG_2372] 

I get many questions about when orders will be ready and whether I will ever be able to grow enough of the rare trees to fill everyone's orders.  The short answer is this: YES you will all get your orders soon!  Many of the $7 tree orders will start shipping out as soon as it gets warm enough, and even orders waiting on the very slowest growing varieties should be ready by the end of this spring (which is still 4 months away).  I will email you when your order is ready so that we can discuss shipping details and any possible substitutions you may want to make.

The variety I get asked about more than any other is Black Madeira, which was the #1 most ordered tree, so I'll use it as an example to demonstrate.  My potted Black Madeiras started waking up a couple of weeks ago, and my in-ground ones just started waking up a couple of days ago.  My current Black Madeira inventory is as follows:  5 in-ground in greenhouses, 5 in 7gal pots, 10 in 3gal pots, 18 well-rooted young trees that need up-potted, and 11 more that are rooting in humidity bins and are looking good.  Combined, that's 38 trees with a good shot at up to 49 very shortly (let's conservatively estimate 45).  That total is far short of what is needed to satisfy all of the Black Madeira orders to date, but that is about to change drastically in the next few months.

Since the growing season for these Black Madeiras has already begun, and since I should get 30+ cuttings per potted plant and 50-100 cuttings per in-ground tree over the next 4 months, I'm on pace to have enough Black Madeira wood to provide around 1,500 cuttings by the last day of spring.  I won't put all of that wood toward cuttings, since some of it will be air-layered off along the way to help create more trees as quickly as possible, but the point is clear:  very soon we're going to cross a threshold and have more than enough material to fill all orders for trees and cuttings.  That's the power of exponential growth.  

NEW HIRE ANNOUNCEMENT

Things are starting to proceed very fast here, and in the interest of doing my best to make sure that this endeavor succeeds, I have hired a professional horticulturist to work on-site for 5-10 hrs/wk.  He's very smart and creative, has a lot of experience managing pro greenhouses and fairly large hydroponics systems (~150 containers), has collected and grown orchids as a side hobby, and currently works for the Kansas Department of Agriculture, so I think he's got a lot to contribute.

Subject: $7 fig trees for spring/summer delivery, around 150+ varieties Replies: 1,421
Posted By: GreenFin Views: 53,173
 
Visceral was right, I made a mistake and refunded the wrong amount.  I just sent the missing $15 to get it square.

I think I'm current on all refund requests, so if anybody has sent a request that I have not yet responded to, please re-send it (and also please put 'refund' in the title to help make it easier for me to find).

Subject: $7 fig trees for spring/summer delivery, around 150+ varieties Replies: 1,421
Posted By: GreenFin Views: 53,173
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cponzi

(ii)  James is offering refunds and some have reported receiving their refunds with only one negative report of not receiving the shipping portion of their refund.

What/who is this referencing?  I have given a full and prompt refund to everyone who has asked me for one.  I have never intentionally given anyone less than a complete refund, and nobody has ever replied back and said that I didn't refund the proper amount on an order.  If someone slipped through the cracks and I somehow accidentally didn't give them the full amount, then I want to know about it so that I can correct it. 

BTW, not only do I return all of the money when a refund is requested, I also have to eat all the PayPal fees associated with the original transaction (~3%), because it's often the case that too much time has passed for PayPal to reimburse them to me.

Subject: $7 fig trees for spring/summer delivery, around 150+ varieties Replies: 1,421
Posted By: GreenFin Views: 53,173
 
Got the 2nd tunnel lit up--

[IMG_2335] 
[IMG_2340]

Subject: $7 fig trees for spring/summer delivery, around 150+ varieties Replies: 1,421
Posted By: GreenFin Views: 53,173
 
We had an ice storm this past week, but we missed out on anything too severe and sailed through it in fine shape.  I have 2 generators (I bought an extra one just for this storm), and had strategically positioned them ahead of time and built shelters for them, but they weren't needed.  We only lost power for about 15 minutes, and by the time I had completed the switchover to generator power, the electricity had returned, and I was able to switch back over and turn off the generators. 

Here are some updated pics from our winter operation.  The first pic shows the progress we're making on a 2nd 'grow room' area.  All of the grow lights in this area should be operational by late tonight or tomorrow:

[IMG_2320] 

The rest of the pics are from a neighboring tunnel that already has grow lights wired up.  The newly rooted baby trees are flourishing under the grow lights, and the established trees in 3gal pots that had previously slipped into dormancy are breaking out now, too:

[IMG_2326] 
[IMG_2328] 
[IMG_2329] 
[IMG_2332] 

Yesterday I checked on the 1,200 3gal trees that are overwintering in some other tunnels, and they were all alive and well.  They have all slipped into dormancy now, but with temps soaring into the 50F-55F range outside over the next week, I suspect they're going to start waking up very soon.  When they do, they will grow very fast, and should yield a large crop of air-layers (and some hardwood cuttings below the air-layers) by sometime in March.  Those air-layers, along with the thousands of rooted cuttings that we're growing right now, should be enough to cover the large majority of trees that have been pre-ordered.  So as soon as it gets warm enough to start shipping trees this spring, there will be a lot of boxing and shipping going on.

It should be noted, though, that there are some varieties that were in especially high demand and have been slow growers.  These will be delayed beyond March (possibly until late summer?) and include:

I-258
Figo Preto
Maltese Beauty
Abebereira
Bass' Favorite
Galicia Negra
Ponte Tresa
Black Madeira
Martinenca Rimada

If you have a chance to get any of those varieties at a good price from another trusted source, I would urge you to do so.  All of those varieties are worth having more than one of, so if you can get a good deal on any of them, I'd jump on it.  Then when our trees arrive at your door, you'll already have backups of some of the best and most expensive varieties.

Regarding cuttings:  in an effort to save tons of soft green wood that is usually lost, I am pursuing a strategy of air-layering just below the lignified/green boundary.  The goal is to save all of the green wood by having it remain as the top of the air-layered tree after it is separated from the mother tree, and to then be able to harvest lignified cuttings from the mother tree beneath where the air-layer was removed.  This means that many cuttings won't be able to be harvested until the air-layers can be removed in March.

Cuttings season was further complicated by the fact that our trees slipped into dormancy at many different times due to having about 6 or 8 different types of environments (outdoor versus indoor; heated tunnels versus unheated tunnels; pit greenhouses versus above-ground greenhouses).  Since all cuttings have to be ready at the same time for them to be shipped out together in orders, and since I want all cuttings to be fresh when they're shipped, the options were to either leave them all on the trees (where they could be damaged, depending on the environment), to prune and refrigerate them (which contradicts my desire for freshness), or to prune them and plow them back into the propagation operation.  I decided on the last option because it seemed like a good way to save and create more wood while still preserving the original cutting; that is, once the green top of the resulting rooted tree is air-layered off, the original lignified cutting (now a baby tree trunk) can be reclaimed.

Some people who live in exceptionally hot areas have asked that I send their trees right now so that they can get established in-ground before the intense heat arrives and kills them.  Most of these trees aren't ready yet, though, and the ones that are maybe ready are still tiny and would probably get beaten down by the elements if they were planted outside right now.  Since it may be too hot to plant the trees later this spring/summer, I am open to the option of growing the plants here for those people, and then shipping the resulting bigger trees later in the season if the person is willing to pay the extra shipping cost involved with shipping bigger trees.


Subject: $7 fig trees for spring/summer delivery, around 150+ varieties Replies: 1,421
Posted By: GreenFin Views: 53,173
 
The double-layers of poly on the new tunnels were all inflated around the end of November, well before the deep cold arrived.

Subject: $7 fig trees for spring/summer delivery, around 150+ varieties Replies: 1,421
Posted By: GreenFin Views: 53,173
 
Here's a new area we've just built. These tables have enough room to hold 3,000 young fig plants, and the space under the tables is enough to hold 4,000+ cupped up figs in humidity bins. The plan is to run 2x4 boards across the top and hang grow lights from them. We have 50 humidity bins stacked up in our house eagerly waiting for this space.

We experienced a deep freeze about 3 weeks ago where we got down to around -6F, which caused the young trees and cuttings in this area to be frosted (the ones floating in the swimming pools were not frosted because of all that bottom heat and water vapor). At the time, we didn't have any more electrical capacity to heat with; we were already maxed out. So we hired an electrician who replaced our 100 Amp breaker box with a 200 Amp version and added some more outlets. Now we have the ability to heat this area and keep it well above frost even on the coldest nights. And on a positive note: the plants that were frosted have rebounded and pushed out new leaves, so it looks like they'll make a full recovery.

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Here are some updated pics from some of the figs growing under grow lights in another tunnel:

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****************

I wanted to point out a few varieties that I'm furthest behind on.  If you have a chance to get these varieties from elsewhere, you may want to do so, because I might not have them ready for you until the Fall.  I intend to buy a lot of cuttings from Harvey to help fill the gaps on my own production line, and because of that wildcard it's hard for me to say when certain varieties will and won't be ready.  But given how far behind I am on these varieties and how pricey some of them are, it's likely that I won't be able to make up enough ground during Harvey's sale to get these to you this spring.

I-258
Figo Preto
NdA/HdA (I have lost dozens of these--strong tops but no or weak roots)
Maltese Beauty
Bass' Favorite
There may be others but those are the ones that are the biggest problem.

There are also some varieties that are growing and reproducing well, but that are behind pace due to sheer quantity:  Black Madeira, Ponte Tresa, and Galicia Negra are the main ones that spring to mind.

**********

I again want to apologize to the entire forum for all the stress and frustration that this project, and my far-from-perfect execution of it, has caused.  I continue to be 100% "all in" on this project, and remain fully committed to doing whatever it takes to make it a success, regardless of how much work or cost is required.

Things may look dark from the outside looking in, but here at ground zero there is a strong sense of excitement and optimism because of how well things are starting to go.  Things are really ramping up here, and with all the infrastructure improvements and added space, we should be able to handle it and keep everything growing at full speed regardless of the outside weather.

Subject: $7 fig trees for spring/summer delivery, around 150+ varieties Replies: 1,421
Posted By: GreenFin Views: 53,173
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThaiFig
What happened to all those young tender plants put into the ground in October?  No pics of those.

I planted my orchard long before October, and the only trees I put in-ground around that time frame were planted indoors in heated greenhouses. 

None of the potted or in-ground trees in any of my greenhouses are dead, they're all fine.  The only issue I've had is that small pockets of them went dormant at all sorts of various different times.  That creates a problem because I need all cuttings ready at the same time for shipping purposes.  So when something like that would happen, I would prune the dormant section and immediately root and grow those cuttings in order to continue growing and to maximize wood and plant production for shipping time in February/March.  For example, some of the cuttings I rooted in late October are already over a foot tall.  Not all of my trees are dormant yet. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ThaiFig
Back on September 10 he answered mfehmi's question of "If the 2016 project is very late in schedule, I would assume that the 2017 march project would also be late ... I want to know how this change could impact the 2017 march order (how many months could be delayed?) and what options could you give to us, the ones who ordered fig trees for 2016 and 2017?" with "It all depends on whether I line up land over the next couple of weeks for more winter greenhouses.  If I do, then the timeline is doable; if I don't, I'll need to change it."  

So two months later by November 7, when he answered macmike, he presumably knew he didn't get any new land and would have to use the existing greenhouses and hoophouses for the 2016 project.  So why was he still saying "2017 trees should ship in spring of 2017"?   Especially given this https://web.archive.org/web/20160909183449/http://www.figcuttings.com/p/custom-fig-tree-orders.html from Sept 9 vs this snapshot https://web.archive.org/web/20161229172259/http://www.figcuttings.com/p/custom-fig-tree-orders.html taken December 29.
 
The underlined portion is incorrect.  I had 4 existing greenhouses, and when I didn't get new land, I built 9 additional new greenhouses on my property in order to handle production.  Therefore, the reason I was saying that "2017 trees should ship in spring of 2017" was because I was building those 9 new greenhouses that I needed to make that deadline.  Failing to get new land didn't prevent me from building the necessary greenhouses, it just caused me to build all of the greenhouses on my own current property.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ThaiFig
Also there was no mention of this change of delivery date in his latest update, maybe he just forgot?  Didn't hear anyone else mention it on the forum either, perhaps because no one noticed?

The new order pages for Fall 2017 delivery are for new orders placed now and are for delivery at the end of next season.  They are for next season's plants/cuttings, not for past orders. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ThaiFig
You can go on his website and order 100 trees of each of the most troublesome varieties he's listed, and he'll gladly take your money.  No inventory limits.  No guarantees you'll ever get your plants, either.  Like I said in my first post here, if you find yourself in a hole, the first step is to quit digging.  James seems quite happy to keep digging away.

The order pages that are currently up are for next season, as noted above.  I am no longer accepting orders for the current season.  If someone really wants to order 100 Black Madeiras for Fall 2017, I've got enough starting material and infrastructure to handle it, but they'll have a long wait since that's almost a full year away. 

Subject: $7 fig trees for spring/summer delivery, around 150+ varieties Replies: 1,421
Posted By: GreenFin Views: 53,173
 
*UPDATE*

Lately I've been rigging up lighting to help the fig trees grow faster and better over the winter months.  The tunnel greenhouse below has 28 shop light fixtures, each of which is 4ft long and holds two T8 bulbs.  The bulbs are 32W, so their combined power usage in this tunnel is just under 1,800 Watts.

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Most of the bulbs are 6500K, some are 5000K, and two fixtures have purple "Gro-Lux" bulbs.
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The big tubs that I use as humidity bins, like the one with black handles below, hold around 40 figs each.  I currently have around 50 of these tubs filled with around 2,000 total cuttings in various stages of rooting.
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After the cuttings in the humidity bins start to show roots, I move them into shorter tubs that only hold 24 cups; that way the baby fig trees can get a bit more space and light, and the humidity bin can be refilled with the next batch of cuttings.
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Now I need to upgrade my breaker box so that I can set up grow lights in my Banana House/Pool House (the one with all the floating figs) and add more heat to some tunnels.  Last year I upgraded the greenhouse/shed/orchard area from 20 Amps to 100 Amps, and tomorrow I've got an electrician coming out to upgrade it to 200 Amps. 

Subject: $7 fig trees for spring/summer delivery, around 150+ varieties Replies: 1,421
Posted By: GreenFin Views: 53,173
 
Current tallies (approximate):

1,200 fig trees in 3gal pots
1,000 young fig trees in small containers
1,000 cuttings that are currently rooting in humidity bins
2,000 fresh cuttings in bags that are ready to start rooting
2,000 soon-to-be-cuttings about to be pruned from trees

...and 8 new tunnel greenhouses (so far) to hold everything:

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Subject: THANKS Drivewayfarmer Replies: 17
Posted By: GreenFin Views: 552
 
Drivewayfarmer is awesome!  He's a great source for good cuttings. 

Subject: Has anybody bought from figcuttings. Com? Replies: 34
Posted By: GreenFin Views: 1,414
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by macmike
I ordered some cuttings last year never received them. Ordered some cuttings this year and a tree and have heard anything yet. Hope to hear soon. I try to have the patience of Job as I know everyone is busy.

Hi Mike,

I just searched my PayPal database and see that I've received two orders with your name, one placed in February 2016 for two $7 trees and another in October for two 2017 trees.  I don't have any orders from you for my 2015 cuttings sales or my upcoming winter cuttings sale, just those orders for trees.  Were you thinking of the $7 trees as cuttings?  I'm certain that I shipped cuttings to everyone who ordered cuttings from those 2015 cuttings sales.

Your order for $7 trees should ship within the month, and your order for 2017 trees should ship in spring of 2017.  I'm sorry for the long delay on your $7 tree order, thank you for being so patient.

Subject: $7 fig trees for spring/summer delivery, around 150+ varieties Replies: 1,421
Posted By: GreenFin Views: 53,173
 
Here are some of the figs that are currently floating in wading pools:

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Here are some rooted cuttings that are growing in a greenhouse area that is being converted to shelving.  The shelves will hold propagation troughs that should be able to hold around 2,000 trees.  The lumber has been painted, now it's time to build.

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Here are some of the air-layers I've done recently.  Many of their leaves got crispy and fell off, but the trees are recovering nicely.  When I do air-layers in the future, I'll trim more of the leaves ahead of time and provide better shading to make the transition easier for the trees.

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Here are some pictures showing the progress in the fig orchard.  The frames are all finished now, so we'll start covering them with greenhouse plastic this week.

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Here's a pic of some figs from today.  The Hardy Chicago figs were good, and the Black Madeira was great.  I ate a few Improved Celeste today, too, but they don't get very sweet in our cool weather at this time of year.  I did have a good Florea, though.

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And this is Figlet, our new kitten.

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I was working in the fig orchard about 2-3 weeks ago when I heard a baby animal crying, and saw it stranded out in the intersection of the nearby highway. A passerby stopped his car and ran out to pick up the kitten, which was trying to drag itself with its front legs, unable to move its hips or hind legs. I went around our fence and met the guy at the side of the road. He said he couldn't take it home, and I said I would. So my family took her in and nursed her back to health, and now after just a few weeks she is healthy, happy, and active, with full use of all of her legs and no lingering ill effects :) :)  She loves to follow us everywhere we walk now, almost like a dog.  She's an awesome little cat!

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Subject: $7 fig trees for spring/summer delivery, around 150+ varieties Replies: 1,421
Posted By: GreenFin Views: 53,173
 
I've received a lot of pm's and emails lately, and have fallen behind on responding to them all because I've been putting so much time into the hands-on work of growing, rooting, air-layering, watering, building, etc.  If I were to take the time to respond to all the pm's and emails, none of these tunnels would be going up and a lot of other important work wouldn't get done, either.  I don't have enough time to do both the hands-on work and the emailing/pm'ing, especially since I'm racing against impending cold weather, so I had to make the decision to focus on the hands-on work rather than emails/pm's.  I will respond to all of them, but the hands-on work has to take precedence right now, so please don't feel stressed or ignored if it takes me up to a week or more to get back to you during this time.   

Subject: $7 fig trees for spring/summer delivery, around 150+ varieties Replies: 1,421
Posted By: GreenFin Views: 53,173
 
Here are some pics from yesterday:

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Subject: $7 fig trees for spring/summer delivery, around 150+ varieties Replies: 1,421
Posted By: GreenFin Views: 53,173
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sas
James, in those pictures, what do you use or recommend for ground cover?

Hi Sas, I start by laying down landscape fabric (the top-of-the-line fabric at Menards that is supposed to be best in terms of both blocking weeds and allowing nutrients/air to pass through), and then I cover the fabric with about 5 inches of wood mulch, since I want there to be around 3 inches of mulch after it settles.

Here's a link to the product: https://www.menards.com/main/building-materials/landscaping-materials/weed-blocker/yardworks-trade-duraweb-4-x-100-25-year-premium-landscape-fabric/p-1444427377218.htm

Subject: $7 fig trees for spring/summer delivery, around 150+ varieties Replies: 1,421
Posted By: GreenFin Views: 53,173
 
*UPDATE*

I'm currently in the process of building 9 new tunnel greenhouses to cover the newer portion of my fig orchard that I added this year.  The new tunnels are needed to extend the growing season and produce enough cuttings and air-layers to fill the 2017 fig orders.

The new tunnels will combine to reach almost 1,000 feet in total length and will be covered by over 1/3 of a mile of greenhouse plastic (double layered for insulation), which will be removed for seasonal storage in the spring.  The pics below show the 5' long 3/4" EMT metal conduit that we hammered into the ground to serve as footers for 20' long 1.5" diameter schedule 40 PVC pipes that will form the ribs of the tunnel.  The PVC pipes are due to arrive tomorrow, and should go up fast.  I set up one pipe as a rib in the first pic to show you what they'll look like  :)

Not all of the orchard has been planted yet, and a few of the empty planting locations that we had marked earlier will need to be moved slightly to get them inside the tunnels, as you can see in the first picture.  (The original line of planting locations had quite a bend in it, and when I made the tunnel line somewhat straight, it resulted in some of the old empty planting locations ending up outside of the tunnel line.)

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During this time we've also been pruning and potting up some nice air-layers that were set around 3-4 weeks ago.  Here are some pics of a few:

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I've also been rooting lots of cuttings in humidity bins, and they're starting to push out nice roots:

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Overall, fig propagation is proceeding pretty well right now.  Cuttings are rooting well, air-layers are setting well, and the new tunnels are on pace to be done perhaps a couple of weeks before first frost.  We should then be able to continue growing trees at a good rate as it gets cold, and will have ample space for holding as many additional trees over the winter as we need. 

As the trees for your individual orders become ready, I'll email you to let you know and to give you the choice of having your trees shipped at that time (late fall or winter, depending on the order) or waiting until the weather becomes warmer/safer in the early spring.  As of right now it looks like I'll be able to finish the trees for about 1/3 of the 2016 orders by sometime in November and will have the rest ready by early spring.  I'm also cautiously optimistic that we'll be on-time for the 2017 orders thanks to all the extra greenhouse space.

Subject: $7 fig trees for spring/summer delivery, around 150+ varieties Replies: 1,421
Posted By: GreenFin Views: 53,173
 
The first roots appeared a few days ago on some of the cuttings that I'm rooting in humidity bins, and today I saw the first roots poking out of one of the air-layers.  I've got many stacks of tubs about 5 deep with about 40 cups per tub, and I've got a ton of air-layers set.  I've still got a lot more cuttings to do, so today I started clearing out the space to stack a few dozen more tubs in one of my greenhouses. 

My neighbor decided not to sell his land, and a couple of other nearby possibilities didn't work out either (one had already sold, the other wasn't interested in selling yet).  I have an option that is about 25 minutes away, has water and power, and already has an electric fence around it to help keep out the wildlife.  I could probably put up 3 large greenhouses inside the electric fencing, and many more outside it, but I'm hesitant about investing so much into a property that is so far away.  So the plan I'm leaning toward now is to stay here on the homestead this winter and do this:

- build 7-9 new hoophouses, each approximately 60'L x 14'W x 7'H, that will cover my fig orchard and extend the growing season into late December or January;
- cover both of my 50'L shadehouses in plastic to convert them to greenhouses for the cold season;
- remove almost all bananas from greenhouses to create more space for figs;
- use heaters in some greenhouses to keep the troublesome figs growing all winter (easiest to do in my pit greenhouses and aquaponics tunnel);
- hang lots of growlights above the troublesome figs in the heated greenhouses to maximize their growth.

By doing all that, I should definitely finish all the 2016 $7 trees this winter and have plenty of wood for the cuttings sale that is due to ship out in February.   I would also have a reasonable chance of getting the Spring 2017 trees shipped out on time in the early spring, though that would admittedly require everything going pretty well.  At this point, Bass' Favorite is the one I'm most likely to be late on, since it's in pretty high demand and I only have 2 of them, but most of the other popular ones are pretty well covered (for example I have 8 Ponte Tresas and 7 Galicia Negras, and will be planting most of them in-ground inside my greenhouses to get max growth, hopefully getting 50-100 cuttings/airlayers per plant by mid-February like I've gotten from others under similar conditions). 

Subject: $7 fig trees for spring/summer delivery, around 150+ varieties Replies: 1,421
Posted By: GreenFin Views: 53,173
 
I've been cupping up cuttings into humidity bins and doing air-layers.  Here are some pics of the air-layers that were set today:

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Subject: Shout Out to Harvey/James & Friends Replies: 69
Posted By: GreenFin Views: 1,164
 
That looks awesome!  What a perfect backyard :)

Subject: $7 fig trees for spring/summer delivery, around 150+ varieties Replies: 1,421
Posted By: GreenFin Views: 53,173
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rayrose
James,
Is it possible for you to list all of the troublesome varieties?

I'll start a list here off the top of my head, and I'll come back and add to the list over time as I see what I missed.

The top group is the 'high demand' group, most of which has been troublesome.  The bottom group had low-to-medium demand and isn't necessarily troublesome, but I have a low supply for various reasons.

Black Madeira
Figo Preto
I-258
Abebereira - almost all cuttings leafed but didn't root
Maltese Beauty
Maltese Falcon -- growing fine now, but lost a lot of cuttings early on
Bourjasotte Grise -- my big mother died early in the spring, and many cuttings failed :(
Lebanese Red (Bass)
Native de Argentile - somewhat like Abebereira for me

CdD Blanc, Gris, and Noir - tons were ordered, but I've got a lot going (haven't been too troublesome), so they're behind but not way behind

LdA - most would leaf and start to root, but never get vigorous, and eventually die
Niagara Black and Nordland - same problem as LdA
Hunt -- weird, I know; I lost a whole gallon baggie of cuttings, don't know why
Negronne - have 3 plants, but they're growing soooo slowww
Peter's Honey - befuddled as to why most of my cuttings died
Sal's Gene - accidentally killed my big mother tree
St. Rita - only have a couple of these, didn't get enough initially
Verdal Longue - had trouble with moldy cuttings
White Triana - only have one, though demand is low

Subject: $7 fig trees for spring/summer delivery, around 150+ varieties Replies: 1,421
Posted By: GreenFin Views: 53,173
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by brianm
So basically, any of the harder to root varieties will now be shipped next year?

It unfortunately looks likely.  They're growing slow enough that I don't think we should count on those varieties being ready until winter, so they probably shouldn't ship until it thaws out next year.

Subject: $7 fig trees for spring/summer delivery, around 150+ varieties Replies: 1,421
Posted By: GreenFin Views: 53,173
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mfehmi
James, I have two questions:

1. I ordered 10 trees for 2016, 4 of them maybe fall in the category of troublesome and 6 of them maybe don't fall in the category of non troublesome (Those 6 are not the types that you mention). If the problem are the troublesome species, why not ship to people who want the non-troublesome fig trees first? 

2. If the 2016 project is very late in schedule, I would assume that the 2017 march project would also be late ... I want to know how this change could impact the 2017 march order (how many months could be delayed?) and what options could you give to us, the ones who ordered fig trees for 2016 and 2017? 

1)  That's a good and reasonable idea, and it was what I had been intending to do.  But I ran into issues (explained in post #520 above) that caused me to pot up all of the potentially shippable mothers and put them outside under shade cloth, which took that option off the table.

2) It all depends on whether I line up land over the next couple of weeks for more winter greenhouses.  If I do, then the timeline is doable; if I don't, I'll need to change it.  I'm giving myself a couple of weeks, and will edit and update my website at that time if necessary.  I discussed one piece of property with a neighbor earlier this week, and discussed another with a business about a mile away; there's also a 3rd property I'm considering that is owned by a friend and already has water, power, and an electric deer fence around it, but it's about 25 minutes from my house.  I'll investigate some other properties in the coming days, too, and hopefully get something lined up and finalized in a couple of weeks.

Subject: $7 fig trees for spring/summer delivery, around 150+ varieties Replies: 1,421
Posted By: GreenFin Views: 53,173
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dkirtexas
All parties involved have entered into a contract with a deliverable, the instant a deliverable is violated,  the contract is breached.  The lack of remedy is disturbing.  

Hope, promises, and understanding, is not a remedy.

It will take time for the best remedy (getting everyone their trees), but I also have a lesser remedy available, which is a standing policy to refund any order at any time for any reason.  I know that isn't an ideal remedy for folks, especially since they've already invested so much time, but I want to make sure everyone knows that it's available (just email or pm me if you want one).

Subject: $7 fig trees for spring/summer delivery, around 150+ varieties Replies: 1,421
Posted By: GreenFin Views: 53,173
 
I just read back through the last 2-3 pages, and I feel sick about having caused all this stress and frustration.  It's awful seeing folks venting at each other and knowing it's my fault.  Let's turn the page and get back to talking figs. 

There were a number of posts with questions that I hadn't seen and addressed yet, I'll try to work through them now in some ensuing posts.

Subject: $7 fig trees for spring/summer delivery, around 150+ varieties Replies: 1,421
Posted By: GreenFin Views: 53,173
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mfehmi
I want to give James the benefit of the doubt, but it's kind of hard for me. As you can see, I asked James on August 5 if the end of August was still the date that the trees will start to ship and as you can see he replied to my question saying that yes...


Quote:
Originally Posted by GreenFin
Yes, I do think I'll be able to start shipping out orders at the end of the month.  Most of the trees should be ready by then, and the slower ones can finish growing while I'm busy packaging and shipping out the ready ones.  It's going to take a while to package and ship them all out (200 hours?), so it may be a few weeks beyond the end of the month before you get your trees.  I'll email each person before shipping to verify their address and to make sure that it's a good time to ship :)

Everything I said to you was true, mfehmi:

- I was planning to start shipping orders out by the end of the month (which did in fact happen);

- Most of the trees (or maybe half) were in fact ready by the end of the month, and were already growing in their shipping containers: mostly the non-troublesome ones; 

- I was sincerely and justifiably thinking I'd be able to ship your order approximately a few weeks beyond the end of August.

In early August I knew that the troublesome ones were lagging what seemed to be a few weeks behind the others, and that I'd have many but not all of the non-troublesome ones by the end of the month.  So my plan was to ship out orders that contained only non-troublesome varieties, and to do so by supplying those orders with recently pruned mothers (which were growing in shipping containers), that way I could be shipping out those orders while rooting the rest of the non-troublesome cuttings from those mothers, and while waiting for the troublesome mothers to reach a point where I could prune and do the same thing with them.  I figured that I'd be able to prune all the troublesome mothers around mid-September, keep most of those mothers and all of the cuttings to continue propagating, and start shipping out the earliest orders that contained the troublesome varieties.  When I took the time to look up when you ordered and where you were in line, I saw that you ordered pretty early, and that you would probably be one of those folks to receive the first of the troublesome varieties (in the form of recently pruned mothers).  So at that point in early August when I wrote you, I did sincerely believe I'd be able to ship your order a few weeks after the end of August, and I felt I had good grounds for believing that estimate. 

I didn't realize the growth/mortality was so poor on the troublesome ones until much later in August because I had allowed a lot them (unsorted, with names I couldn't see) to keep growing undisturbed rather than prune/root/grow them.  There were two reasons for letting 'the seas of figs' keep on growing undisturbed.  First, they had a high proportion of green wood in late June, and the experimenting I had been doing with rooting soft green cuttings had produced poor results, so I thought it would be better to keep growing those mothers until they were better lignified.  Second, since I was lacking horizontal growing space, I thought I'd get the most total wood by letting them grow upward and not disturbing them.  It seemed to be working somewhat okay (a much higher percentage of their wood became lignified as they grew taller), but when I pulled them all out and did a thorough check later in August I found really bad news: many cups with dead Black Madeiras, Pretos, etc that looked to have died long ago and been hidden in the forest.  I had realized earlier that some cups had dead plants, but there were more than I thought, and they almost all turned out to be the high-demand varieties.  I also found that many of the smaller/runtier members of the unsorted trees turned out to be high-demand varieties.    

So in late August I was hit with that info, which shell-shocked me, and while I mulled over what to do I started working on the non-troublesome orders like I had planned.  By the time I was done with maybe the 2nd one it was already clear that I was being very wasteful: the mothers were going into the shipping boxes, and I was pruning them back to fit, but the wood that was left over outside the box had such a high proportion of soft green wood that I had to suddenly revise sharply downward how many viable cuttings I was going to get if I were to prune them at that time (I had done some experimenting with soft green cuttings, with very poor results), which would have left me too far short.  You can see what I mean in the pic below of an order I was boxing up in mid/late August:

[IMG_1716] 

So at that point I knew I needed to keep from wasting all that soft green wood, and I also had another major problem of needing to get all those cupped mothers out of the way immediately so that I could give their greenhouse space to new rootings (I can put ~150 cupped up new rooters in each floating wading pool, with 4 wading pools per swimming pool, and 6 wading pools in my garden pond when covered).  The best idea I could come up with was to up-pot everything into 3gal and 5 gal containers and move them outside so that 1) they'd be out of the way of upcoming rooters, and 2) they'd hopefully lignify better/faster under shade cloth than under plastic.  The tradeoff was that it has rendered me unable to send partial orders (i.e. the non-troublesome portions) or to ship out many of the non-troublesome orders, since almost all of the non-troublesome mothers were up-potted into big containers (the only exceptions being a few I had already sorted out for such orders, and a few varieties that I had lots of extras of and didn't bother to up-pot them all).   

There is nothing insincere going on, there's just a whole bunch of real-world obstacles and challenges that are slowing things down.  I've been wrong about some time estimates, but I've always been sincere and tried to estimate accurately.  It's like looking at a field you've never crossed and thinking you could run across it in 30 seconds, and then you get out there and you realize it's a bog in the middle and you're sinking to your shins.  At that point you realize 30 seconds was a naive estimate, but you also know you're darn well going to get to the other side eventually if you just keep pumping your legs and don't quit.  That's me right now.  I'm about 3/4 of the way through the bog and just sank in to my knees, but I'm still sloshing along toward the other side, and the muck should be getting shallower soon.  (One good sign: after a long wait due to not being in stock, my 2nd big shadehouse finally arrived today!!)   

Subject: $7 fig trees for spring/summer delivery, around 150+ varieties Replies: 1,421
Posted By: GreenFin Views: 53,173
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by adipose
James,

Pictures look great.  I know you are busy, but maybe you could take some time to post a bit more details about the status?

1. How many trees were ordered for 2016, and how many do you estimate will ship in September, November, etc.?
2. How many individual trees do you have growing in their own containers (for these orders)?
3. Same questions for i-258, galicia negra, black madeira.
4. Are early 2017 orders still on schedule, in your mind?


Well over a thousand trees were ordered, I think the total's around 1,400.  About 1/3 to 1/2 of them were the troublesome varieties.

I'm just finishing up-potting around 1,200 figs into 3gal and 5gal containers, so none of them are in their own shipping containers right now.  Over the next couple of weeks as I prune, the cuttings will go into rooting cups that I can ship them in which will look like this:

[IMG_1264] 

So a couple of weeks from now close to 100% of the 'non-troublesome' varieties should be growing in their shipping containers, and they would be ready to ship about 6-8 weeks after that.  The troublesome ones might take two more prune/root/grow cycles before I'd have enough for 100% to be in their final containers, which would mean they wouldn't be ready until sometime in January.  Due to freezing temps, that would probably be a rough time to try and ship young plants, so I'd probably have to hold them a while and ship them out as each individual person's weather becomes warm enough in the late winter/early spring.

If my neighbor agrees to sell me some of his land as we discussed (or if I can line up an alternate property in the next few weeks), then I think I have a good shot at being on time for 2017.  If not, then the 2017 orders would probably be delayed because I'd be using all of my current greenhouse space to hold the 2016 orders.  I say "probably" because I could set up a couple more greenhouses on our property and expand a third one, which *might* give me the capacity to meet the deadline even without any extra land.  My first choice is to get some extra land, though, and I'll be talking to a number of other folks in the area to inquire about other nearby possibilities.  I should have a much clearer idea in a few weeks.

Subject: $7 fig trees for spring/summer delivery, around 150+ varieties Replies: 1,421
Posted By: GreenFin Views: 53,173
 
Sorry about the lack of updates, here's a link to an update I just posted: http://www.figcuttings.com/2016/09/fig-propagation-project-update.html

I'll re-post it here later after I adjust the formatting so that it will look right.

Again I'm very sorry about the lack of good communication, I know it's important.  I'll get back to doing weekly updates from now on.

I promise that all of you will get your trees, and I will do whatever I can to make it up to you for them being late.

************************************

Fig Propagation Project update

Covered figs--

Here are a bunch of potted figs that were up-potted and moved into this shadehouse a day or two before this pic (which is why they're pouting a little bit).  There are around 600 trees in this pic, and there are about 600 more that are this same size/age that aren't pictured.  

[IMG_1758]

I still have plants from multiple generations floating in wading pools inside swimming pools in one tunnel, here's what they look like (note that I've lowered the water level to give them more headroom).

[IMG_1762]

In-ground under plastic:

[IMG_1766]

[IMG_1768]

Aquaponics trees (growing in gravel) and more potted trees:

[IMG_1772]

Outdoor figs--

The 2nd and 3rd year figs that I have outside in-ground have been flourishing.  Many are over 7' tall and loaded with fruit.  All of this wood will be pruned at dormancy and used to supply cuttings and rooted fig trees.
[IMG_1750%2B-%2BLSU%2BTiger]

[IMG_1752]

[IMG_1757]

Here's a pic showing part of the outdoor orchard expansion.  I've got around 150 varieties planted in-ground so far. 
[IMG_1793]

**************************************************************************

Notes

I am behind pace, but the project is still progressing and looks like it will be a success.  There have been a number of obstacles that sprang up and had to be solved along the way, and those slowed me down, but they didn't derail the project, they just slowed it down.  So even though I'm behind pace, the amount of fig wood is starting to accumulate very fast at this stage, and soon I'll have enough to prune/root/ship to everyone.

There are around a dozen varieties that have grown slowly and are primarily responsible for the delay (Black Madeira, Figo Preto, I-258, Maltese Beauty, Native de Argentile, Abebereira, etc).  There's a 'double whammy' effect, too: not only are these the slowest rooters/growers, they were the most requested, too, so they affect the vast majority of orders.  The most salient example is Black Madeira.  I have around 20 Black Madeira mother plants that range from 1-4 feet tall, and I need to produce around 150 small well-rooted Black Madeiras to ship.  If I get an average of 7 cuttings per mother plant and root them all, I would have about the right amount.  But whereas my success rate rooting the vast majority of varieties is around 90%, Black Madeira is more like 50%.  That means that I might just get around 70 new Black Madeira plants to survive the rooting process out of the 140 cuttings.  But while the slower propagation rate is disappointing, it certainly isn't the end of the world!  The total number of Black Madeiras is still growing exponentially, and down the road a little bit when I prune those 90 Black Madeiras (the 20 existing mothers plus the 70 new ones) and get perhaps 500-600 cuttings, that poor propagation rate should still yield 200-300 new Black Madeira trees.  So there should be more than enough Black Madeiras to go around soon, it'll just take another rooting cycle.  Even in a worst case scenario in which it requires 2 more rooting cycles, I would still be able to finish them this winter and get them shipped out as soon as weather permits, since I'll be growing in heated greenhouses all fall and winter.

I openly admit that I have failed to uphold my end of the deal by failing to have the trees ready on time, and I fully recognize that I therefore owe you all something extra, not just as fair compensation for your long wait, but as an apology, too.  I am open to all ideas and would appreciate input.  What I want to have happen is for everyone to get enough 'extras' that they feel like they still got a good deal overall in spite of the long wait.  I was thinking that free cuttings might be good, maybe giving everybody vouchers or coupons for some number of free cuttings down the road.  Giving partial refunds is another idea, although with $7 trees I'm already selling them at cost with no profit.  Another idea is to do special favors, like allowing people to make substitutions on their orders (for example if folks have acquired some of their ordered varieties from other sources during this wait and no longer need them).  That last idea seems like a potential logistical and bookkeeping nightmare, but I'll throw it out there and see what you all think.  A slightly less terrifying idea would be to allow everyone who participated in this $7 tree project to participate in a similar project next year, just for them (maybe $7 trees again?  or maybe drop it to $5 trees as a special apology?).

I want to stress that I have been working extremely hard on this project and that it is the focus of my entire life right now.  I get up and start working around dawn every single day, and I work all day until I run out of daylight or energy.  Often times I strap a headlight on and keep working after dark.  Since I am this committed, I feel very confident telling you that the project will indeed be completed successfully, and that it is only a matter of when, not if.

I also want to stress that I'm not selling any of your fig stock to anyone else.  Every fig you see in these pics is being grown for you: none of them are for sale to other people, and when people come by and want to buy them, I tell them "Sorry, no; those are all spoken for and are being grown for other people."  I have given away a handful of extra Hardy Chicago plants, but aside from that, these plants are all off-limits for other people because they're all being grown for you.

Over the next couple of weeks I'll be doing a lot of pruning and will be packing my humidity bins with thousands of rooting cuttings.  Most orders will be ready when that generation of rooted cuttings is ready.  In the meantime I will continue shipping out a slow stream of orders that do not contain any of the troublesome rooters/slow growers.  Please note, however, that I up-potted most of the fast-growers and will be trying to prune/root them in sync with the troublesome ones so that they'll all be ready around the same time and can ship together.

Exciting update:  As some of you know, my plan when I started this project was to expand into an empty 10 acre field adjacent to my house.  I had already discussed leasing it with the realtor for an affordable $400/mo, but when I called about it recently I learned that the land had just sold, and that the new owners want $455,000 for it as a commercial property and aren't interested in leasing.  That's more than I can afford, and it threw a wrench into my plans, but a couple of days ago I had a positive meeting with a neighbor about buying a different piece of adjacent land, and submitted a bid that the neighbor seemed pleased with.  He said he needed to take some time to think it over and discuss it with his family, so nothing's finalized, but I'm hopeful.  If I get this land, I'll have the space to put up another 6-10 large greenhouses, which will give me more than enough space for current needs and for future expansion.

Subject: Cuttings listings are up, ~230 varieties Replies: 24
Posted By: GreenFin Views: 1,127
 
It's both: I'm still taking orders for plants for March, and I'm also taking orders for cuttings for February.

The main reason that I posted the cuttings page now was that several people had recently emailed me and asked if they could have cuttings instead of trees for 2017.  I put the page together for them so that they could order, and decided to just leave it posted for everybody to use in case anybody else wanted to reserve their cuttings early.

Subject: Cuttings listings are up, ~230 varieties Replies: 24
Posted By: GreenFin Views: 1,127
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TGO
I wondered why none of the 2017 plant offerings sold out and now cuttings are being offered (and yet the 2016 plants were not delivered when they were projected to be delivered)

That's due to a couple of factors.  The first is straightforward: I received a lot more orders for 2016 than I've received so far for 2017.  The second is that I can scale up to meet demand that is far out in the future like that, mostly thanks to the power of exponential growth (1 plant begets 7 which begets ~50 which begets ~350, etc).  The inventory numbers ramp up pretty fast once you get a few cycles into a "grow/prune/root/repeat" program.  Since I only started that program around 7 months ago, the 2016 tree project didn't get to be helped nearly as much by the power of exponential growth as the 2017 trees and cuttings will.

 

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