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  • They are beginning to ripen!

    Today I picked a handful of ripe berries. Well, mostly ripe berries. I needed a fix....

    And they were good.

    Snowchasers. They provided the most berries and have nice flavor. I think they are going to be winners here. There is no snow to chase. They grow vegetatively strong and seem to bear well. Fruit texture is on the soft side however. Ripe berries in mid March is a definite asset.

    Emerald. A reliable, early producer here. Mild flavor, but good texture Large fruits.

    Sweetcrisp. Very few ripe berries, but always a treat. They so much remind me of bing cherries. And there are still a few scattered blooms on the plants for a long season.

    Kestrel. Good flavor. The plants however are slow to leaf out making me think their chill hours might be higher than stated.


    The birds haven't discovered them yet, but soon I'll have to lower the sides on the enclosure. It's the people's turn to get them all.


    SoCal, zone 10.
    www.ourfigs.com Invite your friends.

  • #2
    YAY! Congratulations!!
    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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    • #3
      Woohoo! This is pretty early for first fruits, isn't it? Congrats!
      Sarah
      Bay Area, CA (zone: 9B)

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      • #4
        Originally posted by sarahkt View Post
        Woohoo! This is pretty early for first fruits, isn't it? Congrats!
        Not for my location. March is the beginning of the ripening season, but April is when it starts peaking (and continues till June/July). We get a very light frost about once in 20-25 years. I can't even remember the last one. This is why I can only grow the very low chill varieties.

        SoCal, zone 10.
        www.ourfigs.com Invite your friends.

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        • #5
          You've definitely learned to work with your zone 10, must be a satisfying perk to pick berries in March.

          This will be my first year of getting an actual crop to speak of and I'm not sure how long the ripening process will take now that many are immature but nearing full size. There are MANY berries getting to full size on the larger bushes. Looking forward a big step up from the handful of berries picked off the first Sunshine Blue plant gotten last year!
          Sarah
          Bay Area, CA (zone: 9B)

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          • #6
            Gina, arn't bbs typically acid loving plants? How do you accommodate? I am thinking Cali soil is not acidic but I could be wrong.

            I ask because I have thought about growing bbs but here in Texas the soil is like 7-8 on ph scale.
            Jerry, Canyon Lake TX 8b

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            • #7
              I've had one Emerald berry ripen last week. It was one of those early winter blooms that made a fruit but it wasn't worth eating.....very sour!

              Looks like I have good fruit set this year. All my plants bloomed very early due to a mild winter and had a long warm streak during bloom so the bees were out in full force the whole time!

              Get to taste a couple new varieties this season. Raven in its second year and a IndigoCrisp I left one fruit bud on just to taste it

              Jerry, you can grow them in pots here in Texas or raised beds. At my last house I had six raised beds 3x3 wide and 10inches tall on top of native gumbo clay. Blues are shallow rooted and they grew like gang busters in my raised beds. Just fill them with spag peat moss and pine bark and they will take off! Also a 3-6 inch layer of pine bark nuggets for mulch is a must. They don't like to get dried out and raised beds dry out faster than normal. If I did it again I would make my beds 12 inches tall instead of 10.

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              • #8
                So great that your time and work is rewarding you, Gina. Many of mine are starting to bloom. I have about 50 plants, a mix of Duke, O'Neal, Aurora, Bluecrop, Pink Lemonade, and Sweetcrisps. My soil is acidic, about ph 6, as is the well water here, so they grow very well. We've also gotten 40" of rain here so far this year, so I'm expecting good things.
                Gary USDA 9A
                Sebastopol, CA

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                • danw
                  danw commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Haha, I am only at 39.64" What gives? Are you stealing my rain?

              • #9
                Originally posted by sarahkt View Post
                You've definitely learned to work with your zone 10, must be a satisfying perk to pick berries in March.

                This will be my first year of getting an actual crop to speak of and I'm not sure how long the ripening process will take now that many are immature but nearing full size. There are MANY berries getting to full size on the larger bushes. Looking forward a big step up from the handful of berries picked off the first Sunshine Blue plant gotten last year!
                I do love that my season is so long - several months. And I'm always sad when it's over.

                Here, the ripening process depends greatly on the weather. If it's warm, the fruits ripen at a good pace. They swell, color up, and get sweet. If it's cool and overcast, they seem to just sit there making little progress. We have another week of mid 70s coming up, so more should ripen.
                SoCal, zone 10.
                www.ourfigs.com Invite your friends.

                Comment


                • #10
                  Originally posted by jmaler View Post
                  Gina, arn't bbs typically acid loving plants? How do you accommodate? I am thinking Cali soil is not acidic but I could be wrong.

                  I ask because I have thought about growing bbs but here in Texas the soil is like 7-8 on ph scale.
                  I grow all my BBs in pots. As Blueboy says, there are ways. My soil and water pH are close to 8, so I use a mix, and acidify the water. In our drought, our water quality just continues to decline, so I collected rain water so I won't have to use the wretched stuff that comes out of the tap on my precious blueberries.

                  I've been growing bbs in pots for close to a decade (?). I've been relatively successful, but there always seem to be problems to figure out. Water, birds, pruning, winter chill issues... Fun stuff mostly.
                  SoCal, zone 10.
                  www.ourfigs.com Invite your friends.

                  Comment


                  • #11
                    Originally posted by Blueboy1977 View Post
                    I've had one Emerald berry ripen last week. It was one of those early winter blooms that made a fruit but it wasn't worth eating.....very sour!

                    Looks like I have good fruit set this year. All my plants bloomed very early due to a mild winter and had a long warm streak during bloom so the bees were out in full force the whole time!

                    Get to taste a couple new varieties this season. Raven in its second year and a IndigoCrisp I left one fruit bud on just to taste it
                    .
                    I also have had good fruit set. I even thinned a lot - first time ever doing that. But I'd rather have fewer, larger berries with great taste.

                    I also get to taste a few new ones. As mentioned, Snowchaser has already passed muster. Springhigh I'm looking forward to. And a mislabeled berry from Florida Hills, which I think might be pink lemonade (or whatever it's called). Let us know what you think of Indigo crisp. I was able to get one, but no flowers, which is good.

                    I'm afraid the Ravens are not going to do well here. Too high chill hours. They just won't leaf out. They bloom well enough, but without enough leaves, they taste flat.

                    SoCal, zone 10.
                    www.ourfigs.com Invite your friends.

                    Comment


                    • #12
                      Originally posted by figgary View Post
                      So great that your time and work is rewarding you, Gina. Many of mine are starting to bloom. I have about 50 plants, a mix of Duke, O'Neal, Aurora, Bluecrop, Pink Lemonade, and Sweetcrisps. My soil is acidic, about ph 6, as is the well water here, so they grow very well. We've also gotten 40" of rain here so far this year, so I'm expecting good things.
                      Holy cow!!! 40 inches of rain? LOL, that's where our Godzilla El Nino went. We are getting a bit of state water relief right now, but we'll still have to really conserve.

                      You are lucky both your soil and water have lower pH. That sure would make it easier. Enjoy your berries. I think 50 is a nice number of plants to have. That's what my goal is, but I keep exceeding it.
                      SoCal, zone 10.
                      www.ourfigs.com Invite your friends.

                      Comment


                      • #13
                        Originally posted by Gina View Post
                        Today I picked a handful of ripe berries.
                        You suck.
                        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
                          Originally posted by WillsC View Post
                          You suck.
                          Always happy to help.

                          SoCal, zone 10.
                          www.ourfigs.com Invite your friends.

                          Comment


                          • #15
                            Gina, what size pot do you use for your most mature plants? Do you have to root prune them?
                            newnandawg 7b Newnan, GA

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                            • #16
                              Originally posted by newnandawg View Post
                              Gina, what size pot do you use for your most mature plants? Do you have to root prune them?
                              Hi. I use almost all 15 gallon pots. I've got some in larger, but they are just too difficult to move - so no more large pots for me.

                              About 2 years ago, in winter, I moved almost all of my berries into the 15 gallon pots from their original 12 gallon (?) flaring plastic pots. I had to prune the roots on many of them to get them to fit in the narrower at the top pots, dividing some, and they didn't seem to skip a beat. The root sections trimmed off with a sharp serrated knife were a mass of fine roots, just like thick felt. I don't know if root pruning is a necessity however, as with figs.
                              SoCal, zone 10.
                              www.ourfigs.com Invite your friends.

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                              • #17
                                I have two plants in 10 gallon pots for a year now (variety ?) and they look like they will produce a
                                pretty good crop this year. I also have four Sweetcrisp in five gallon pots, and five Sweetcrisp in
                                one gallon pots. I was contemplating if I should move the ten gallon plants up. I was wondering
                                how good a crop you get in the 15 gal pots?
                                newnandawg 7b Newnan, GA

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                                • #18
                                  It really is variety dependent. SC won't give a very good crop until year 5 and then only about 80-90% of other varieties but well worth it. Bigger pots are always better when it comes to BB. I think Steve (fruitnut) said he once got 25 pounds from a potted BB in a 15 gallon pot? I don't believe I have ever come even close to that on any of my in ground BB's. I do plant though the way the commercial folks do, tight spacing which gives less pounds per plant but more pounds overall over the space they cover.
                                  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.

                                  Comment


                                  • #19
                                    My first large batch of blueberries were potted in 12(?) gallon containers, in part because the pots were free. A few years later, I rooted some cuttings and put those into 5 gallons. They stayed there until they were ready to move up to 15s. I've gotten most of my 15 gallon containers from Craig's list, so 'what size is best' is more dependent on what is available and inexpensive.

                                    That said, I just got in from having to move a small distance 3 of the few I have in 25 gallons. Man, that is no picnic, even just sliding/'walking' them a few feet.. Sure those plants in 25s are larger, but I would rather have 2 plants in 15 gallons - that take the same amount of space, or even less. I am also a fan of tight spacing, even when using pots.
                                    SoCal, zone 10.
                                    www.ourfigs.com Invite your friends.

                                    Comment


                                    • #20
                                      Good question regarding final pot size! Gina, blueberries are shallow rooters which may or may not need root pruning in these 12-15 gallon pots, is that right? If their roots stay felt-like and don't circle in 10+ pots, is there really much of a difference in productivity between being potted in 12 vs. 15 gallons? Or even 10 gallons?

                                      I ask because I've been growing them less than a year, but I'd like to just keep them in their final destination pots, and not make those pots bigger than they have to be.
                                      Sarah
                                      Bay Area, CA (zone: 9B)

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                                      • #21
                                        Gina,

                                        A bit OT but I have found for my potted figs of which I have very few a one handed fish gaff is an excellent tool. I just drill a hole in the pot near the top, in goes the pointy end of the gaff and I can move even a 30 gallon pot (true 30 gallon, half barrel) easily.
                                        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.

                                        Comment


                                        • #22
                                          Originally posted by sarahkt View Post
                                          Good question regarding final pot size! Gina, blueberries are shallow rooters which may or may not need root pruning in these 12-15 gallon pots, is that right? If their roots stay felt-like and don't circle in 10+ pots, is there really much of a difference in productivity between being potted in 12 vs. 15 gallons? Or even 10 gallons?

                                          I ask because I've been growing them less than a year, but I'd like to just keep them in their final destination pots, and not make those pots bigger than they have to be.
                                          Blueberry roots are different - they are very fine, fibrous, so they don't obviously circle the pot. But I think root mass is important to support a large enough plant. If you have a smaller pot, you will either have to water more often, or likely have a smaller plant. When some of mine were still in the 12 gallon pots, they would wilt by the next day because the ample roots just got too tight , or something. Also, because the pot was a bit smaller and filled to the top, there was less room for a mulch. In the 15s, I can keep the potting mix 2-3 inches from the top, and have room for ample mulch, which for blueberries is desired.

                                          Over the years, I've come to the conclusion that for me, 15s are the happy medium final sized pot.
                                          SoCal, zone 10.
                                          www.ourfigs.com Invite your friends.

                                          Comment


                                          • #23
                                            Originally posted by Gina View Post
                                            Over the years, I've come to the conclusion that for me, 15s are the happy medium final sized pot.
                                            Thanks, Gina. That makes sense, I'll take a page from your book and plan to do the same.
                                            Sarah
                                            Bay Area, CA (zone: 9B)

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