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  • Can lights be used to get an early start

    If this has been covered in other posts, I apologize. I'm wondering if I can get an earlier start on my dormant figs stored in the garage. I read that more than light is required, that several factors are also necessary. What are those factors? Has anyone done this that would like to share their experiences? I am thinking of trying this in the beginning of April. In Toledo Ohio area, zone 6a. Typically our springs are all over the place, from 80's in April to snow/cold 30's before Mother's day.😬

  • #2
    I think If you were to use a heater to bring the temperature up above 50F and had adequate artificial lighting, then you probably could wake them up early. Adequate light may not be possible due to the size and or quantity of your fig trees. And if you have poor lighting, youll end up with long stringy plants, a bad start.

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    • #3
      Warmth is the primary factor that gets fig plants off to an early start. Usually in a garage they start too early because it's too warm. Once they start growing they need light in order to avoid lanky growth. A garage with lights is a grow room. It can work but you don't want too much growth before they go outside. They'll have a hard time adjusting when moved out if covered in leaves.
      Alpine, Texas 4500ft elevation Zone 7
      http://growingfruit.org/

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      • Badgerferrit
        Badgerferrit commented
        Editing a comment
        Buy a light for growing weed indoors, it will fix that. I can get tomatoes in January in my closet. Lol

    • #4
      Warmth will wake them up, light will get them to leaf and bud. You need both at the same time.

      ps: don’t use light as a cure for covid. Shinning light inside a human body does not work on curing humans of covid, only figs

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      • #5
        You will need a heater. Plus a lot of light so the growth is not weak for the transfer outside into shade. You will not be able to control humidity well in your garage, but you can easily monitor it. I bought a Govee Wifi Thermometer Hygrometer and placed it in my attached garage last winter. I do recommend the Govee Thermometer you can check it from your smart phone and easily monitor both day and night time temperatures. I just checked mine, for the month of April the average garage temperature for me was 56.6 F, Min. Temp 35.2 F, Max 97.9 F. Not warm enough to break dormancy without a heater.

        Disclaimer: I have not started figs with lights and heat in my garage yet... I am north of Detroit Zone 6a, about three weeks slower than you in breaking dormancy. I am still carrying a few 5 gallon potted figs inside and downstairs to start them in my basement under LED lights. I thought is was easier than transferring the lights and a heater to my garage. I have seen people on ourfigs.com starting early in garages but not sure how to search it on Ourfigs. Hopefully some people will chime in again.

        I started the fig shuffle from of my garage stored figs on April 6th this year, and didn't get all my figs out without the scare of frost until May 16th this year! We had a hard frost on May 13! I'm still not sure any of those garaged shuffled will ripen figs this season without bringing them inside. : (
        The figs I started early in my basement under spider Farmer SF-2000 LED Grow Lights at 68 degrees are doing great and producing well.
        Marco, Zone 6, Michigan
        Trade Plants: Hardy kiwi vines: Anna, MSU, Meader & a bunch of figs.

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        • #6
          FWIW, this year I started 6 trees under LEDs in a warm basement. See my thread titled some thing like, "A new rite of spring."

          Trees grew out well. I've already picked 6-8 Floreas, 4 weeks ahead of normal. That's OK performance but not stunning quantity. Later varieties such as BM kk and Paradiso Gene seem far ahead of usual but time will tell when they actually ripen.

          I agree with Figpotter that you'll need warmth -- 65 F would probably do but I'd shoot for 70 F. Lighting needs to be intense.

          I also agree with fruitnut that the trees may suffer some shock when moved outside. Mine slowly showed signs of sunburn. Next year I'm going to try some intermittent UV to give them a "tan" before any move.
          Joe, Z6B, RI.

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          • #7
            Best way to provide heat indoors that I’ve found is bottom heat from seed starter mats. Hook them up to a plant thermostat, stick the probe in a fig pot, the bottom heat will keep the roots at whatever temperature you set (I find 70+ to be optimal for citrus). The waste heat will still rise out of the soil and into the surrounding air, so the tops still stay warm (usually warmer than the roots - the real challenge is keeping the roots happy). Evaporation is a VERY strong coolant for potted plants, so even in a room with ambient temps of 70+ the roots may be closer to 60.
            Eric - Seattle / Sunset Zone 5 - W/L: Granato - Now offering fig-pops, my rooting mix, and gritty potting mix! https://www.figbid.com/Listing/Brows...er=pacnorwreck

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            • #8
              From my own experience in my garage you need only heat first until the trees start to bud out. The size of the heater needed will depend on the the area you are trying to heat. For my area I use two small space heaters of a few hundred watts cycling one on and one off to not over work any one heater. I started the heat March 27th and switched on the lights mid April. For my lights I use two six light T5 high outputs lights each bulb is 55 watts. I put them under shade cloth for a week before full sun.
              Tony, Toronto Canada USDA 4B now 5B apparently!!
              Wishlist:
              Yellow Neches, St Martain, Texas Peach.

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              • #9
                I agree with the heat-first posts. I woke up my trees early (outside) using a bubble greenhouse which brought the temp to about 80-90F each day. At night I used a space heater to keep it above freezing. I got good growth and because they got natural light the whole time, there was not acclimation or burn due to moving them outside as they were already outside.
                East Coast, Zone 7a
                WL: Boysenberry Blush, CdDB, BNR

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                • #10
                  Lots of good information, thank you all. All of this sounds do full of potential!
                  jrdewhirst just read "new rite of spring" topic. Also very exciting. Imagining ripening and enjoying figs earlier next year!

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                  • #11
                    Heat to wake up. Light to grow once they have leaves.
                    Guildwood Village - Toronto, Canada - Zone 6

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                    • #12
                      This year, my figs, from trees older than a year, were ripening in late July. I had less than 20 varieties at the end of last year. But right now, from my older trees, there are lots of Malta Black, RDB, Peter's Honey, Massitti (?) and Conadria ready to be picked. And fig from newly rooted trees and breba ripened in mid-June. To out do this year, here's what I will do next year.
                      1. Move the trees from Garage to laundry room on 3/1. Just keep them in the dark. They will wake up in about 13 days.
                      2. Give them lights on 3/13. The lights don't have to be strong. LED shop light from Costco will do the job.
                      3. Move them to the high tunnel on 3/20 when the outside overnight temp won't drop below 20 and there's enough sunshine.
                      4. When it's freezing outside, protect them with row covers. My neighborhood is in Zone 5B. So this year, I had to do it way too many times than I care.
                      I hope that this will enable me to harvest RDB, Florea, Iranian Candy, and Malta Black at the beginning of July.



                      However, for Desert King, I would do the opposite. The garage is warm enough for the figs to wake up in early to mid April. So, in mid-March, I will move the Desert King to the shadiest part of the yard. So, it will wake up later.



                      Cleveland South - Zone 5B.

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                      • Drfig
                        Drfig commented
                        Editing a comment
                        thats a lot of work with a lot of varieties in pots.

                      • jake44141
                        jake44141 commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Drfig, probably I'll pick a few early varieties and very late varieties for early head start. So, the early varieties will provide figs to eat early. And the late varieties will have a chance to ripen many figs before frost.

                    • #13
                      Dang, this is going to take some practice without a high tunnel/greenhouse. Also how do you deal with all the fungus gnats when bringing them indoors?
                      Zone 6B WL- To heck with it, I just want 'em all

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                      • #14
                        I believe PA figs did an experiment on his youtube channel. I vaguely recall.
                        he is on this forum as well. PM him
                        Ike
                        bergen county NJ 6b
                        Wish list: oh lets face it Ill take any variety I dont have!!

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                        • #15
                          Okay will do. I strongly believe this is a must for those late varieties like the BM
                          Zone 6B WL- To heck with it, I just want 'em all

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                          • #16
                            If you use a good grow light then you shouldnt have issues putting them rite out into direct sun. I did this this year and didnt need to aclimate at all. I used led grow light on cuttings started the previous fall and they went right into the sun no issues. It doesnt have to be led but led grow lights produce allot less heat than HPS or Metal Halide. And use less electricity. And you can get one that isnt pinky purple color, costs more but worth it . the cheaper led lights from amazon work just fine for this purpose though so you can use them . Anyway you wont get leggy growth under a good strong growlight. If you do then the light isnt close enough to the tree and needs to be closer.
                            7b.. Wish list figs.. #1.Verdalino, #2.Figoin.....

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                            • #17
                              A nice little portable greenhouse and a small electric heater works wonders.
                              Attached Files

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                              • Joshawa
                                Joshawa commented
                                Editing a comment
                                can you share which heater did you use?
                                I do have a small portable greenhouse, and have been thinking of getting a small desk heater. The problem is the heater only has low/high setting and exact temperature control.
                                This is the one i have on my mind:https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B07JC7LH4R/...v_ov_lig_dp_it

                            • #18
                              Joshawa You can use any basic heater with low high and temp control knob. One that doesnt have digital panel or settings and connect it to a thermostat that you simply plug into and the thermostat kicks the power on and off so the heater can be set to any specific temp easily. And for like ten more dollars you can get a wifi capable thermostat (50bux) and you can monitor it and set n control it from your phone from anywhere with online access. The InkBird thermostat simply plugs into a power outlet and has two outlets of uts own. One for heat and one for cooling so perfect for greenhouse. It has a probe on about a 4foot long cable that you mount and detects temps and the thermostat kicks a heater or fan/ac/swamp cooler or any cooling device you use off and on to maintain a steady temp within a 3-4 degree range. These are high quality if u read about them . I have 2, one controlls my gecko /fig cuttings grow room. And the other is going in my new indoor grow chamber. Its worth the extra 10 bux to be able to monitor and control the settings and real time temps from anywhere on your phone. Its definitely worth it. I prefer to use the most simple design heater that is decent quality I can find. But will invest in a heater made for greenhouses by next winter for outdoor use with early starts and extending the season for some fig varieties. Hope you find something that works well for you. These thermostats are worth their weight in gold for me. I havnt found anything better for my sittuation. Have a nice day
                              Attached Files
                              7b.. Wish list figs.. #1.Verdalino, #2.Figoin.....

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                              • Joshawa
                                Joshawa commented
                                Editing a comment
                                thanks Jamey, for your detailed reply. I will definitely work something out like this.

                            • #19
                              I have found theres a few factors involved in waking them up gently. Warmth alone is not enough. My Emerald strawberry was fast asleep. I brought indoors and let it be. It stayed as such for about 3 weeks in late jan early feb. Then i started introducing water, warmth and direct sunlight and in a week it started budding and by end of week 2 i had a couple of leafs ready. Oh..one of the water feeding sessions included fish emulsion..a shot of nitrogen to kick start them
                              5B - Chitown

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                              • fruitnut
                                fruitnut commented
                                Editing a comment
                                Warmth alone is enough. You got impatient and threw on all that other stuff before warmth had a chance to do it's thing. Three weeks of warmth just isn't long enough on a fully dormant tree.

                            • #20
                              Check these two video's out from PA Figs, ( 3 weeks Difference. WOW!)
                              I will be doing this next year with Led high bay lights in my garage to get a jump. I have to find a good plan on hardening them up.
                              Uh Oh! My Trees are Leafed Out in Storage! Apr 8, 2021 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fRaCqMDmih4
                              Wow! A New Head Start Plan May 3, 2021 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ui40c6xGPR0

                              Comment


                              • #21
                                Originally posted by Salvatore View Post
                                Check these two video's out from PA Figs, ( 3 weeks Difference. WOW!)
                                I will be doing this next year with Led high bay lights in my garage to get a jump. I have to find a good plan on hardening them up.
                                Uh Oh! My Trees are Leafed Out in Storage! Apr 8, 2021 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fRaCqMDmih4
                                Wow! A New Head Start Plan May 3, 2021 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ui40c6xGPR0
                                I think it's fair to also link the aftermath 2 weeks after:

                                https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-9M7MB-ry-g
                                 
                                Ottawa, ON 🇨🇦 — USDA Zone 4a

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                                • #22
                                  If your goal is too really grow indoors. Get yourself a 600 watt HPS and call it a day. No need for a heater or hardening when you want to go outside.
                                  Lake Elsinore CA Zone 9b
                                  WL: Cessac, San Matue, Allix, Aignan, Barran, Amarcord, Joalle Figs.

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                                  • goodfriendmike
                                    goodfriendmike commented
                                    Editing a comment
                                    If your going old school Metal Halide beats High Pressure sodium anyday. I would go with the LED. Just my 2 cents.

                                  • FishingforFigs
                                    FishingforFigs commented
                                    Editing a comment
                                    IMO LED is not up to the job. HID have the intensity and heat the best mimic the sun. Also, MH definitely have there place but for me HPS offers better par output and internodal spacing. The MH made my plants too stocky.

                                • #23
                                  I have been testing lights from CFL all way over to LED. With the bennifit of watching a friend use (HID)High intensity Discharge lights (MH-Metal Halide /HPS-High Preassure Sodium) if done right, all can work and have their own bennifits. Yes HPS/MH both produce heat and is possible to use the light itself as a heat source, you will need too vent the air and bring outdoor air in to regulate temps. Also when the lights go out the temps will drop to however cold it is outside unless you run them 24/7 . I dont know if that 24 hr a day light would mess with the fig production on a tree or not I just havnt seen any testing on that specific topic. However I do know that If you give the trees a natural ammount of sunlight hours for the time of year it will be fine and you would still need a source of heat when the lights go out.. .... LED if put close enough and given plenty of light (not just barely enough but good direct overhead light for each tree since LED shines more straight down that HID lights.) You can move directly into the sun without problems *I know because I did it this spring with cuttings that were rooted indoors under flourescent tube lights and then grown under led lights . So 1 gallon pots with well established rooted cuttings were placed outdoors in 6+ hours of direct sunligh for a few days for testing to be sure it was safe then up-potted and moved into 9+ hours direct sun. So if geven plenty of actual direct light from led you can move into direct sun. I saw the branch and internodal spacing on those trees that didnt fair well. The problem was they werent given enough light from led , you can tell by the long internodal spacing and somewhat weaker looking branch growth. Bellow is a pic of internodal spacing on Galicia Negra under LED now indoors in a grow chamber . it was an air layer and internodal spacing went from 2 -3 inches too 1/4-1/2 inch when brought indoors under led... Pics of actula grow chamber in next post.
                                  Attached Files
                                  7b.. Wish list figs.. #1.Verdalino, #2.Figoin.....

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                                  • #24
                                    Yes internodal spacing naturally gets shorter this time of year. But you will get very short internodal spacing if giving strong enough led to be able to move into direct sun without problems. Each type of light has good bennifits. I find if you suppliment one type of light(CFL- Compact Flourecent Lighting or Flourecent Tube lights// MH-Metal Halide//HPS- High Preassure Sodium) and LED with each other you can get crazy good results it simply takes testing to find what works best for you and your style. The best place to learn about HID lights is online reading and youtube videos from growers that actualy use those types of lights. Many people have switched over to LED so not as many videos on MH/ HPS as for LED . Metal Halide is great for veggitative growth and HPS is great for big fat buds. But both bennifit from a little of the other, say MH + 10%HPS for veggitative growth (but MH works fine alone for this and then 75% HPS & 25% MH for flowering but some use 100%HPS shorter fatter denser buds but I feel after 9yrs of playing and testing that if I include a little of both spectrums plants love it all the more. You see MH is on the Cooler end of the spectrum Blue /white looking lights and HPS is on the warmer end of useable light spectrum for plants. To be clear I dont grow bud, its not allowed in our state yet. Havnt been around that lifestyle in almost 20 yrs. I fly totally legal now and atill have everything I want or need. Anyway I used a simple light set up with CFL bulbs for years, CFL produces more intense light per square inch than flourecent tube lights do so I preffered those to grow with. A 2700 kelvin bulb (orange looking light) often labled soft white is good for the plants flowering/fruitung needs, and 5000-7000 kelvin 6500 preffered but 5000 works just fine , is good for a plants veggitative needs. You can grow a super healthy plant with just this light, a mix of both 6500 k and 2700 k bulbs give a plant everything it needs to grow, but if you suppliment with a small led full spectrum strip you get more spectrums and the plants can do even better. You can go on for hours actually about this stuff I know I have. I just think we need a little more than use this or that when talking to a person that doesnt have years of testing experience( Hope thats not offensive to anyone with less time testing for themselves) Sure its their responsiblility to research and test and learn. But I dont mind sharing enough to give someone a good head start. Nobody told me anything really I searched and tested for several years b4 develooing my own prefferences. That is what it will come down too in the end. What do you preffer. Hid lights produce allot of heat, and you need to wear clean new diaposable rubber gloves or be extremely careful handling them. The oils from your skin if it gets on an HID bulb , the intense heat will create hot spots on the glass and effectively cause the lights to fail more quickly. A tip I learned from an older farmer. ... So The easiest setup for someone without tons of experience (or someone to guide them in person) in my opinion will be LED and a heater on thermostat like the InkBird. Not to say its better than HPS or MH. Just easier in my opinion to set up and regulate temps with. Also cheaper and uses less electricity for the most part. I have a single 150 watt cheap amazon Mars Hydro LED in a 18x36 inch grow chamber that is 4 feet 1 and 1/2 inches tall total. A tip for all grow lights , even ones with their own built in cooling fan, is to place small sometimes even tiny fans pointing directly at the light and run it constantly. This will extend the life of all lights with rare exceptions when the light has a defect. It keeps the lights running cooler so they last longer while giving the same light to your plants. Worth the 10 bux for a cheap little fan. Pics of my actual small grow chamber bellow. I am building a walk in grow chamber from a closet so will have pics soon. I know I went on a good while but theres good info as a starting point for anyone here. Even a peraon with zero experience with lights can use it to help know what to look uo online for research. Have a nice day and HAPPY GROWING to all my Fig Bro n alady growers!!! its a pinky purple looking led, I suggest one that gives off normal looking light if you can swing the 120-180 for a smaller one or invest in a larger one that will cover a 4'x4' grow space. Generally 2 longer lights that are made to cover 2x4 ft each are better for a 4x4 space cuz its easier to handle lighter lights and easier to hang, plus they can daisy chain together. Thats after 4 yrs testing this cheaper Light. I can tell you from thousands of hours testing/using many kinda of lights, a good quality LED is worth the investment. But you can get cheaper ones like mine , and they will work perfectly fine and you can put trees out in direct sun no hardening off if you keep the LED lights close enough to the plants.
                                    Attached Files
                                    7b.. Wish list figs.. #1.Verdalino, #2.Figoin.....

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                                    • #25
                                      Pro tip if you pinch off leaves as your fig trees grow in a small chamber like mine. You can fit many trees in there . they will bush out quickly when set outside in spring. Just let the apical bud keep growing straight up and pinch off leaves leaving 1-3 leaves per tree depending on size.
                                      7b.. Wish list figs.. #1.Verdalino, #2.Figoin.....

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