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  • This year's harvest

    I'm somewhere in the middle of this year's harvest, and enough time has passed for an appraisal. There have been many variables this year, but out of a possible 10, I'd give it a 5. I have about 60 bearing plants, most in 15 gallon containers.

    Because of the drought, last year I pruned very harshly, and in the winter, transplanted almost all the berries into a mix that holds more water, but still drains well. And this year the birds have been very aggressive in harvesting the crop - enough to make me build a quick shelter so they can no longer get to the plants.

    That said, my crop is less than usual, but it's impossible to know exactly why. I think a big part is that we had an unusually warm winter and because of the very few chill hours, there were nowhere near as many blooms. (Leafing out on some varieties has been slow too.) Bloom time was also odd. Plants of the same variety grown close to each other did not all bloom at the same time. Some very early, some late or not at all. I still have a few branches with lots of flowers right now.

    Also there were fewer pollinators. I saw only one or maybe two bumble bees working the flowers, and the honey bees were reduced in numbers, which also could be from the drought. And humming birds were not working them either, unlike other years.

    A work-horse like Emerald had not only fewer berries, but many of the berries are smaller than usual. The new leaves however are ample and strong, so I think that's a pollination issue. A few plants of other varieties had virtually no berries, or only very small ones.

    Jewel, another work-horse, has almost as many berries, but they are smaller than usual. The plants are also vegetatively strong, so I don't think the small fruits are the result of culture.

    The young Sweetcrisps had a better than expected crop (their first year to bear), and some still have a few flowers.

    There are still a good number of plants that are just starting to ripen, so I'm hoping it's going to be a very long season. The picking season started a few weeks earlier than usual too. I'd rather have a very long, slow season for more fresh fruit. There has been more than enough fruit for eating, but just not very many to give away or dry or freeze.
    Last edited by Gina; 05-07-2015, 10:37 AM.
    SoCal, zone 10.
    www.ourfigs.com Invite your friends.

  • #2
    Good info Gina. I wish I could contribute but just purchased my first two plants today. Do you know if bb like to be root bound? I got these in five gal pots and I would like to move them to ten gal pots.
    newnandawg 7b Newnan, GA

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    • #3
      In my location the flowers are mostly still in bloom, with some of the plants showing the start of tiny berries. We have had no rain (except a tiny shower) in over 2 weeks. I have been hand watering with acidified water, but probably not enough. Hopefully this dry spell will break soon.
      Phil
      Zone 7A - Newark, DE; Zone 8A - Wilmington, NC;

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      • #4
        Lack of required chill hours will reduce yield and make the blooming erratic. Smaller fruits without a heavy load indicates that they may have been self pollinated. SB are self fruitful, but cross pollination will increase berry size. Sounds like the warm winter skewed your bloom and the lack of pollinators didn't have other varieties in bloom to choose from.
        PPP
        Eatonton, GA zone 7b/8a

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        • #5
          Originally posted by newnandawg View Post
          Good info Gina. I wish I could contribute but just purchased my first two plants today. Do you know if bb like to be root bound? I got these in five gal pots and I would like to move them to ten gal pots.
          Congrats on your two new berries. I don't know if they like to be root bound - most things do better when they are not. But that does not mean you won't be successful growing in smaller pots. Most of mine are in 15 gallon, and a few I moved up into larger pots (25 -30?). But I won't be doing that again - they are just too difficult to move or do anything else for that matter. The plants in the larger pots definitely grow larger, but you don't have to have the largest plant possible to be successful. At this stage, I'd rather keep more in the 15s than fewer large ones in pots that are unmanageable. I also kept a good number of younger ones in 5 gallon pots. I don't often use 10 gallon pots, but I would if I had them.
          SoCal, zone 10.
          www.ourfigs.com Invite your friends.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by pppldj View Post
            Lack of required chill hours will reduce yield and make the blooming erratic. Smaller fruits without a heavy load indicates that they may have been self pollinated. SB are self fruitful, but cross pollination will increase berry size. Sounds like the warm winter skewed your bloom and the lack of pollinators didn't have other varieties in bloom to choose from.
            I figured lack of chill was a big factor. We rarely even get to 100 hours in a 'cold' year. But this year was even warmer than usual and blooming has certainly been erratic. Plus the few pollinators... Hope next year it's better. I do prefer larger berries - they are just easier to pick.
            SoCal, zone 10.
            www.ourfigs.com Invite your friends.

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            • #7
              To entice bees into your gardening area try mixing a tablespoon of water and a few dribbles of honey. Pour that into a teacup saucer and place the saucer in the center of your garden. Honey is a fuel for bees to fly, if they know there is a fueling station in your garden they will work the area longer gathering the pollen before they have to return to the hive to unload the pollen, gas up again by eating hive honey and heading back out for more pollen. I have done this for years and it seems to help a lot in getting bees to my gardens. They can smell the honey water but sugar water not so much. Try experimenting with the idea, It has worked for me. Bring the saucer in before sundown so you are not enticing critters that feed in the evenings.
              Floral City, Fla. Zone 9A

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              • #8
                Try experimenting with the idea, It has worked for me. Bring the saucer in before sundown so you are not enticing critters that feed in the evenings.
                Thanks for the idea. I'll do some experimenting. Might try hanging a plastic lid or something.
                SoCal, zone 10.
                www.ourfigs.com Invite your friends.

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                • #9
                  Gina, thanks for the info. I found a good deal two summers ago on the squatty 10 gal pot and really like them.
                  They are still a good size to handle vs the 15 and 20 gal pots. I have a lite weight hand truck that I use to move
                  most all of my 10-20 gal pots. I am putting most of my figs that are not going in ground in 10 gal pots. The link
                  below is like the pots I got a good deal on, not the $5+ at this place.

                  https://www.bambuzo.com/us/pro-cal-p...-per-pack.html
                  newnandawg 7b Newnan, GA

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                  • #10
                    Gina,

                    Agree it is a pollination issue on the small berries. Lack of chill you usually see more in the sporadic or slow leafing. Harvest here is done, would be kind of nice to have a more spread out harvest window.
                    Cutting sales have ended for the season. Plant sales will start March 1 at 8 eastern time. If it is still too cold in your area I can hold your plants till a date of your choosing.

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                    • #11
                      Wow, I can't believe your season is over. Hope it was a good one. I think our no/low chill climate is partly responsible for the long season here. (usually April thru June) I'm still having a few odd branches blooming on plants with ripe berries now.

                      As for smaller berries, I am noticing that the fruits ripening now, are beginning to size up better - perhaps reflecting greater pollinator activity later in the blooming season. In general however, there simply were fewer pollinators observed.
                      SoCal, zone 10.
                      www.ourfigs.com Invite your friends.

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                      • #12
                        Wills. Your season is over? How were the SCs this season? Was there a particular variety that was better than expected?
                        jimmie aka JD | tallahassee.fl | zone.8b | davistating.eBay

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                        • #13
                          JD,

                          Yep over. We had the last of the fresh berries on Friday I guess. Ok there are a few berries out there still ripening maybe 5 or 10 a day but not anything worth more than grazing on as you walk by. The harvest window here is very tight, about a month.

                          We had a LOT of rain this spring. Some years we go the entire harvest season with no rain at all. This year at least 2-3 days a week it would rain. It made the berries more prone to rot and I have never tossed so many to the ducks as this year. The excess water also made the Sweetcrisps not as crisp as in previous years but still far above everything else in quality. No real surprises here or at least no good surprises. The fruit set on the sweetcrisps was below average even for them. Not quite sure why. Don't know if it was because I pinched too late into the summer or if it was a fertilizer problem or what it was.

                          Made it through the entire season without seeing a single mockingbird, there are tons of them around me but just not in my neighborhood. At the end of the season I did have a raccoon or possum become a pest and he was breaking limbs to get the berries. I blame Mike for that as he had one causing him problems and I told him I had never had an issue with mammals stealing the berries........I should not have said it

                          Cutting sales have ended for the season. Plant sales will start March 1 at 8 eastern time. If it is still too cold in your area I can hold your plants till a date of your choosing.

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                          • #14
                            Season came little late here in Texas (Zone 8B) this year even with only Sunshine Blue and couple of RE (which will be ready to harvest probably in a month?) Click image for larger version

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ID:	18872 I have in production line, .......and we are not that far behind from CA or FL for not having better yield than that of last year
                            Zone 8B, Texas

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                            • #15
                              I brought my blueberry eating possum and dropped him off at Wills' place, I figured there was much more there for him to snack on.

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                              • #16
                                And to think I mailed you a fig yesterday......
                                Cutting sales have ended for the season. Plant sales will start March 1 at 8 eastern time. If it is still too cold in your area I can hold your plants till a date of your choosing.

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                                • Inkfin
                                  Inkfin commented
                                  Editing a comment
                                  Wills, from posts #15 and #16 above together, I read you are sending fig in return for blueberry eating possum, I have some mocking birds, red cardinals, blue jays, squirrels that I would like to send for figs and blueberry

                                • WillsC
                                  WillsC commented
                                  Editing a comment
                                  Inkfin,

                                  Sorry I limit those types trades to one a year

                              • #17
                                Ha! Sounds like a good trade to me.
                                SoCal, zone 10.
                                www.ourfigs.com Invite your friends.

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                                • #18
                                  Click image for larger version

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ID:	19139 My Newf, Princess loves to catch possums and fig eating raccoons. What will you send me to keep me from sharing her bounty with you?
                                  Last edited by Harborseal; 05-14-2015, 03:30 PM.
                                  Bob C. KC, MO Zone 6a. Wanted: Martineca Rimada, Galicia Negra, Fioroni Ruvo, De La Reina - Pons, Tauro, BFF, Sefrawi, Sbayi, Mavra Sika , Fillaciano Bianco, Corynth, Souadi, Acciano Purple, LSU Tiger, LSU Red, Cajun Gold, BB-10 any great tasting fig

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                                  • WillsC
                                    WillsC commented
                                    Editing a comment
                                    She seems to attract women I'm afraid your Princess would be hard on my duck population and I depend on the little poop producers and bug eaters.

                                  • Chrisk
                                    Chrisk commented
                                    Editing a comment
                                    And I imagine this is kinda how the expression " you lucky Dog" was born!!!

                                • #19
                                  I'm just about done with Emerald here, one more small picking and it's done. Sweetcrisp is about half way done. Need to pick tomorrow! Sunshine is just now starting to ripen a few. My harvest this year is way down on Emerald. Feb and March were just too cool and wet for the bees to do any good. The first half of my bloom on Emerald was just a waste. Only the last half got pollinated well. Sweet crisp did well this year and set lots of fruit. That variety just never disappoints. Next year I think I'm going to spring for a box of bumble bees in Feb. I figure they will pay for them selves on Emerald alone.

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                                  • #20
                                    Rob that is amazing.....your climate and mine are so darn close yet your harvest is way behind mine. I guess that is why this are has so many BB farms, those early berries pay a nice bonus though I heard that this year the wholesale harvest was great but prices were down some.
                                    Cutting sales have ended for the season. Plant sales will start March 1 at 8 eastern time. If it is still too cold in your area I can hold your plants till a date of your choosing.

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                                    • Kelby
                                      Kelby commented
                                      Editing a comment
                                      And some of my blueberries are still blooming!
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