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  • Black Madeira - August 10, 2021

    I picked my first Black Madeira of the season 2 days ago on August 10 (finally getting around to uploading photos now). It was a small one - only about the size of a quarter - but ripe, nonetheless.

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    Black Madeira is far from my favorite fig, but what's interesting is that it is considered one of the latest figs out here, yet here I was harvesting this fig in the first half in August. This is despite it being the coolest summer we've had so far in the 4 years I've lived here. I think this is due to two reasons:
    1. These awesome new containers I'm growing in.
    2. The black weed barrier, which I've been promoting for years, creates a fantastic micro-climate for growing figs. It adds a solid 5 degrees of heat, which also has the added benefit of dropping the relative humidity. I've proven this here: https://youtu.be/XT1reOI1-5E
    I'm mainly making this post to promote these new #15 containers that I'm growing my figs in. They are fantastic. Every fig tree I up-potted into these containers are way ahead of schedule this year relative to their performance in previous years and versus my 5 gallon bucket trees, and that's despite the fact that the figs had to grow more roots to fill in the container. I'm extremely impressed, and I think these are some of the best containers out there. For those worried about the roots getting too hot, I'm in Wilmington, NC. Our heat is absolutely brutal, and our heat index rivals that of Las Vegas on any given day. Their raw temps are hotter and we benefit from afternoon cloud cover most days, but our heat index often exceeds the index there.

    I think these large, black containers + black weed barrier really has them producing early, and I expect the trees to get even earlier as they age and if we have a more average-heat or above-average-heat summer. These are the containers that I love:



    They still need to be watered every single day, though. Don't let the size fool you. Figs are extremely thirsty in peak summer.
    Zone 8A Southeast NC Coast
    Subscribe via YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/TheMillennialGardener
    Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/NCGardening

  • #2
    Nice post. I would just like to add in my experience if I don’t cover the containers with some kind of reflective material my trees just do not preform very well even with daily watering. I have pulled the rootball out and have seen black cooked roots especially on the south and west sides of the pot where sunlight is most intense. Which leads me to believe it has something more to do with intense solar radiation rather than just heat index. I am at 4800 ft elevation and we are known for having very intense solar radiation here in New Mexico.
    Eric Los Lunas NM, Zone 7

    Comment


    • TheMillennialGardener
      TheMillennialGardener commented
      Editing a comment
      I believe it. I assume your elevation is the problem, because the less atmosphere above you, the more intense the radiation of the sun. My guess is it's just too much UV and not the heat itself. I'm essentially at sea level, and the humidity here is absurd during the summer, so all that water vapor in the air acts as a radiation shield.

  • #3
    Do you have a drip setup, or do you manually water every fig every day?
    Wishlist- kadota, LSU purple, ronde de Bordeaux, VdB, Willing to pay!! PM me. Beaumont Texas zone 9

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    • TheMillennialGardener
      TheMillennialGardener commented
      Editing a comment
      I spent a lot of time setting up drip in my entire garden, but I ran out of time for the containers. Since it's going to begin cooling off big time in the next 30 days, I'm just toughing it out and watering daily. It only takes me about 10 minutes. I'll be setting up drip next spring when my trees go out, but it's just too hot right now to get down on my hands and knees and run hundreds of feet of tubing on my weed barrier. I'm yelling uncle for the season, and I'm getting ready for fall.

  • #4
    I'm using the same containers. They are great, like you said. I do have to water daily though, but nothing I can do about that. I plan to install an irrigation system for my containers next year.
    2020 Wishlist:
    white madeira, thermolito, del sen jaume gran, bordissot negra rimada

    Comment


    • TheMillennialGardener
      TheMillennialGardener commented
      Editing a comment
      Exactly what I'm doing next season. I already have the drip zone set up. I just need to run the tubing.

    • Bgk17
      Bgk17 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hand watering can go straight to hell!!!!!

  • #5
    Below is my personal experience with Plastic vs. Fabric

    I used plastic containers for long time and switched to fabric pots, and never going back ( 100+ trees in 5, 7, 10 and 25 gallons )

    Fabric pots are much better for me:

    1-No root issues, tangling, etc.
    2- Air pruning = less root pruning
    3- Much cheaper( +%90 cheaper)
    4- They dont cook your roots
    5- Easy to carry and move around
    ​​​6- they dont hold a lot of water which improves fruit quality and reduce splitting.





    MJ
    Chicago Zone 5
    Figbid Listings Varieties List

    Comment


    • cjccmc
      cjccmc commented
      Editing a comment
      I've never tried fabric but it seems a lot of people either love or hate them depending on what factors you value the most.

    • TheMillennialGardener
      TheMillennialGardener commented
      Editing a comment
      I would strongly advise against the fabric. I did the exact other thing - started with fabric due to cost and availability, but fabric pots are so bad for trees that I had to go back. There is a reason why no nursery does this. The roots will grow through the fabric bags, and the roots will weave themselves into the bags. You will not be able to get them off. This has resulted in the deaths of trees for me, so I'm done with them and using a proper nursery container. I know you don't have problems yet, but they're coming, and it may cost you some trees like it did me. I lost 2 beautiful seed-grown date palms.

  • #6
    Black Madeira is still my favorite of all figs, perfect berry-figgy flavor with zero unpleasant tastes in it. Mine are just starting to ripen now and because I have been eating lots of other figs for the past three weeks I start to get burned out on figs. But when Black Madeira is available it's superior quality quickly restores my zeal for more, it's fig heaven at a higher level.
    Conrad, SoCal zone 10
    Wish List: More Land

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    • #7
      I had a "Black Madeira" yesterday, but I'm questioning if it's really a BM. It was small, ripe, but honestly tasted like "a fig". I didn't notice any wild "berry" flavor and the inside wasn't really even red much. I have a second BM from a trusted source that will probably fruit for me next year. I guess when they both fruit I'll be able to compare.
      Zone 10A - San Diego

      Comment


      • TheMillennialGardener
        TheMillennialGardener commented
        Editing a comment
        They're a good fig, but I find them to be very problematic. They are extremely prone to splitting, and their long ripening time contributes to this. Because they have such a long ripening time, the chances of me ever having a dry spell that long to properly ripen the fig is slim. The slightest hint of rainfall on the figs causes them to explode. Because I almost never get to harvest a perfectly ripe fig, I've never really bad a great Black Madeira. Figs like I-258, WM#1 and Coll de Dama Gegantina have vastly exceeded my Black Madeira, because their hangtime is seemingly half as long.

    • #8
      TheMillennialGardener I understand if you had different results and with different trees, I only tried with figs, and it was not an issue, I understand you lost palm trees due to this, and maybe other trees are more sensitive to up potting than figs, especially if not dormant.

      I only up pot when dormant and I strongly recommend that up potting for larger established trees to be done when they are dormant, also the exterior of my fabric is always dry and roots never weave in it.

      Early this season I down sized a 7 years old tree that was growing in a 25 gallon pot for almost 4 years without any root pruning the entire time, and I never took it out of the bag before, it came out just fine with no effort, if you see the fabric pot in the pic, its clean, no roots weaving in it, and roots looks healthy and tree was doing great. Only reason that I had to do this for a few of my trees, is because it got too big and too heavy for me.
      Attached Files
      MJ
      Chicago Zone 5
      Figbid Listings Varieties List

      Comment


      • Laeotis
        Laeotis commented
        Editing a comment
        Those trees look excellent BTW!

      • TheMillennialGardener
        TheMillennialGardener commented
        Editing a comment
        Laeotis this is precisely my experience. Terrible drying out, hydrophobic conditions and it's only a matter of time until you have to cut them off - and the tree may die in the process. The older the tree gets, the worse the conditions become, so what seems great in the beginning turns into a nightmare. For me, it isn't worth the risk, because they've already cost me too much. I like them for annual vegetables, but not for trees.

      • MJA829
        MJA829 commented
        Editing a comment
        Laeotis I dont think fabric pots are any good in any hot climate if you don't have irrigation system at least. Thats why I said its not one size fits all.

        The pots recommend above are great as far as quality and design, I would prefer these in white or painted white if they are in direct sunlight in your climate

    • #9
      I switched out of fabric bags last year. Here in a dry summer climate (San Diego) they needed twice as much water and retained moisture very poorly. I imagine that wouldn't be a problem in Chicago. I switched my figs in fabric bags to plastic with added fine sand to the mix and they have been much happier.

      On another note I've also been harvesting early this year despite very mild summer temps for us in the 10bish area. I'm also putting this to my containers. I have similar containers that I got for free from a professional landscaper but he's out so I just need to buy them and up pot all my trees.
      San Diego zone 10b/10a

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