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  • Fig Database?

    http://figs4fun.com/Varieties.html has been a valuable resource for me. However, it does seem to have its limitations. The main problem I've had is one of duplicate records of a single variety under different names. And it's not truly a database. So I did a data scrape of various sources and came up with almost 2,000 records of unique variety names. Obviously, there are not actually 2,000 varieties of figs (that we're aware). All of this went into an Excel spreadsheet. Initially, I did this merely to gain a better understanding of fig varieties. Massaging the data led to alot of confusion for me and I suspect it has for others. There seems to be much contradictory information out there.

    So, I looked for a database tool that I could use on one of my websites. I could only find one that didn't cost thousands of dollars. In fact, it's free. Though the search feature does cost a mere $30. It does have its limitations and a few bugs, but it is a true online database.

    Obviously, I'm no fig expert. This was all in an attempt to better my understanding of fig varieties. So my question to the group is, "Is there a need to re-invent the wheel with a fig database?" And, if so, what features would you consider helpful?

    If there is no need, I'll just stick with the Excel spreadsheet. But if there is serious interest, I'll migrate it to the online database.
    FigVarieties.com
    Talladega National Forest, Alabama, 7b, 616-814 chill hours

  • #2
    It would be great to have a .dbf file, lots of flexibility there for us old schoolers. A database of members including state of residence would be great.
    Wish List - Any LSU fig

    Comment


    • Lance
      Lance commented
      Editing a comment
      The back end is actually an SQL file. The DB management system is a Wordpress pluggin. The data will be available to export as a CSV file. I'm no DB expert, but it seems to be moving along. I'm in the process of making the test data available to the group. The pluggin was actually designed as a church membership DB, so setting it up for group membership should be a breeze.

  • #3
    Love your idea, Lance! I'm not a data base savvy person, so the most important data base feature to me is ease of use. How easy is it for an unsophisticated (non-Excel user) to navigate and to understand the information?

    One very easy to use data base design is a chart. Dave Wilson Nursery provides customers with this simple to understand chart that they can use to plan an orchard that produces fruit all summer long: http://www.davewilson.com/home-garde...-harvest-chart

    The Urban Farm's Low Desert Planting Calendar condenses more plant growing information into its chart: http://www.avondalegardenpatch.com/w...g_Calendar.pdf

    The U.S. National Plant Germplasm System is the most detailed and complete fig data base that I've looked at: https://npgsweb.ars-grin.gov/gringlobal/search.aspx

    Even though it contains a huge amount of data, the U.S. National Plant Germplasm System isn't as user friendly as I'd like. If I don't know the DFIC of a fig I may not be able to find that cultivar unless I scroll through the entire data base because when I put the commonly used name of a fig into the search window because I do not have the DFIC number, I cannot find it. It gives a value for "early fruit productivity" but I don't know whether that means that the cultivar fruits the first year, or that it ripens early in the year.

    I'm a newbie, so my list of "What is helpful" will probably be expanded by the senior members who know lots more about figs than I do.

    1) Cold-hardiness Zones
    2) Harvest dates (does anyone know whether this varies by growing Zones?) or at least Early - Mid Season - Late Season ripening
    3) Flavor family
    4) Typical size of a mature tree
    5) Type of fig ostiole
    6) Does it require a wasp or not?
    7) The U.S. National Plant Germplasm System's Plant ID Accession Number [DFIC 1 = Vernon, DFIC 2 = Panachee, etc.] if a particular fig cultivar is in that data base.
    Christine (Waddell, AZ Zone 9b) Wishlist: All my fig wishes have been fulfilled by OurFigs members. Thank you!

    Comment


    • #4
      crademan, I can't do much about the charting, at least for now.

      LOVE the Germplasm link! That is super helpful and gives me a more objective base to work from.

      Most of the other items already have database fields.

      Hope to get the database public soon.
      FigVarieties.com
      Talladega National Forest, Alabama, 7b, 616-814 chill hours

      Comment


      • crademan
        crademan commented
        Editing a comment
        You are welcome, Lance. Some of the confusing fig names are listed under a single DFIC number; i.e. there are a half dozen names for Panachee listed under the Germplasm DFIC 2.

        The U.S. Germplasm data base also has information for those who collect pomegranates or plums or bananas or rice or wheat, etc. There is a simple search window that helps the user find each type of food plant in the data base here: https://npgsweb.ars-grin.gov/gringlo...omysimple.aspx
        Last edited by crademan; 09-24-2017, 11:55 AM.

    • #5
      Sounds like a great idea but!

      There have been other similar efforts before on this forum and f4f and those efforts kinda faded away or morphed into private lists with the only figs included were ones familiar to those involved. Also fig name synonyms, characteristics were added with no review process and so the value of the information was watered down.

      To include all figs is too big a scope. i.e. Italy alone had 700 named cultivars and probably >1,000s unknowns (depending on definition of unknown), other fig growing countries have as many or more. Recently with the spread of figs to countries that didn't have figs before i.e. Canada, N. EU, N.E. US, SE Asia, China even more figs got added to the mix many with new names for same figs and some new and different figs for the same name ...

      My point is it may be simpler and results truer if the database focus is on 1 country. In USA there must be over 1,000 named cultivars already and just as many unknowns. Simply collecting the many existing database lists into one and vetting the information would be of immense value. The effort could be repeated for other countries over time.

      In the end I would love to see a Wikipedia of fig varieties. For now to make it freeware for all then google or MSN online (cloud) publishing database tools should be fine.
      Pino, Niagara, Zone 6, WL; variegated figs, breba producers & suggestions welcome
      Breba photos / Main crop fig photos
      Canada Fig Growers

      Comment


      • #6
        Pino, you make some great points, which is why I started my own spreadsheet. It is not (currently) my intention to include every single variety. Only the ones that are of interest, fairly available, etc. This group's membership will prolly drive most of the content.
        FigVarieties.com
        Talladega National Forest, Alabama, 7b, 616-814 chill hours

        Comment


        • #7
          Lance. I too wanted to do the same thing when I was starting out to make things a lot easier when selecting new varieties to grow. I can honestly tell you that it worked. I was able to get my head around a lot of varieties, but the more I got into figs, the more I realized just how many varieties are out there and an ever-encompassing list would be impossible. There is just an absolute crapton of fig varieties. Even categorizing figs by taste was a large undertaking.

          The other problem I ran into is that without proper genetic testing, we can never know if one variety is the same as the other and even then.. genetic testing may reveal that one variety is very closely related, but has mutated in some way. From there you've got the age old problem of lumpers vs splitters. Some growers like to lump figs together into categories. The classic Hardy Chicago grouping for example. There are at least 50 named figs you could put into this category. I got tired of looking. I am myself a lumper while others may be splitters and would tell you that each Hardy Chicago type is different from the other. Even if the difference is ever so slight. Both parties just need to respect the others' opinions.

          Additionally, Jon from F4F who put together that fig variety list you linked has all the land in the world to plant varieties. While someone like myself and like most people in this community can't afford to be planting 10 Hardy Chicago types. Therefore to someone with less land, it's very important to be sorting through these varieties.

          I can tell you that Jon's database is largely inaccurate, but so would another database of that size. It's just impossible without collaboration from at least 10 growers around the world. I would not get discouraged though. As I've said creating a database for your own use is very helpful. I've shared mine with people, but really it's a tool I use more than anyone else.
          Zone 7A - Philadelphia
          Flavor Profiles & Variety List / Facebook / YouTube / Blog

          Comment


          • #8
            ross, I follow you 100%. I'm thinking (as very much a rookie) there are maybe 100-200 core varieties. I'm much more interested in getting quality data for core varieties, than quantity of varieties.
            FigVarieties.com
            Talladega National Forest, Alabama, 7b, 616-814 chill hours

            Comment


            • ross
              ross commented
              Editing a comment
              For taste and reliability in 7b, there is maybe 20 I've come across.

          • #9
            I think the only way this could work is by establishing an (international) association that could be decreed the official governing body for fig culture. It would need to be led by a committee elected by its members... Those members would also have to abide by the committee's decisions weather they liked them or not.... The committee would be tasked with defining official cultivars etc....

            OF COURSE, THIS IS ALL B.S. AND WOULD NEVER WORK! We're all too stubborn and opinionated....

            Not to mention... If one couldn't just make up a new "must have" variety every year, how would we waste money on expensive eBay cuttings?
            Guildwood Village - Toronto, Canada - Zone 6

            Comment


            • Needaclone
              Needaclone commented
              Editing a comment
              What we need is to form an anarchosyndicalist commune.
              We could take it in turns to act as a sort of executive officer for the week.
              But all the decisions of that officer have to be ratified at a special biweekly meeting;
              by a simple majority in the case of purely internal affairs, but by a two-thirds majority in the case of more...

            • TorontoJoe
              TorontoJoe commented
              Editing a comment
              Precisely!

          • #10
            One problem with Jon's data collection at F4F is that only one person can update it, Jon. He got off to a good start and now I have seen little added in recent years. The size of the task is too big.
            Our Fig's Variety List is meant to be a group undertaking, but few have contributed as requested. Anyone can add information on a fig there, info on how it does for you in an area, pics, etc. We cannot add a variety but on request the mods can do so. If everyone here added info on just a few varieties a year the information built up over time would be a tremendous help to many new growers.
            Ed
            SW PA zone 6a

            Comment


            • Needaclone
              Needaclone commented
              Editing a comment
              I agree 1000% on this. I find myself referring to the F4F varieties page very often, while I know that doing a search of the ourfigs postings would yield better information once I sift through the posts.

          • #11
            This information probably isn't that helpful, Lance. While looking for more information about DFIC 4 (also known as UCR-291) because its figs have a closed eye, I bumped into Ben B.'s Seattle Garden and Fruit Adventures 2017 fig evaluation data: http://seattlegardenfruit.blogspot.c...fig-taste.html and 2016 data: http://seattlegardenfruit.blogspot.c...-rankings.html One mystery of the Internet is why I ended up at this URL since neither data set contains UCR-291.
            Christine (Waddell, AZ Zone 9b) Wishlist: All my fig wishes have been fulfilled by OurFigs members. Thank you!

            Comment


            • #12
              This winter I'll be releasing cuttings for my "Maltese-Green-Black-Medeira-258-Blanc"... They are a MUST HAVE FIG!

              You won't find them on any list... Yet....
              Guildwood Village - Toronto, Canada - Zone 6

              Comment


            • #13
              OK, here's where we stand.

              The database is truncating the data in rich texts fields (e.g. Description) to about four lines. This has put data population on hold, though I may continue to add data that does not contain lengthy descriptions. Working with vendor to resolve. Sadly, I didn't even notice this until after many hours of data input. It is going to take a ton of time to correct what's been truncated.

              That being said, I've gone ahead and made the database live so that you can at least get an idea of where this is going: http://higher-octave.com/fig-varieties/.

              There is much work to be done, so I've created a page which tracks my to-do list for the database: http://higher-octave.com/fig-database-list/. This doesn't include all the stuff rattling around in my head.

              I suspect one of the biggest challenges for the database and potential for debate and contention will be determining "primary" variety names. We'll work through it somehow, but this is necessary to make the database more manageable and simplify our understanding of fig varieties.

              And, of course, I would love to get feedback from the group. Yeah, I appreciate encouragement, but if the database is to be of any real value, I'll need to set my ego aside and be receptive to criticism. However, please review the above to-do list before suggesting improvements. This will keep the thread cleaner and keep my time more available for working on the database.

              Be well,

              Lance
              FigVarieties.com
              Talladega National Forest, Alabama, 7b, 616-814 chill hours

              Comment


              • #14
                I want a cheap DNA database.
                Wish List: I need another fig tree like I need a hole in the head.

                Comment


                • Lance
                  Lance commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I hear that!!!

                • Pino
                  Pino commented
                  Editing a comment
                  If by cheap DNA db you mean using dna testing with only partial markers then all zthe xzillion ficus carica would show as the same variety..lol

                • Fygmalion
                  Fygmalion commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Pino.... that would make fig collection so much easier.... and cheaper too... lol

              • #15
                The truncating issue appears to be resolved. So far, the testing is positive.
                FigVarieties.com
                Talladega National Forest, Alabama, 7b, 616-814 chill hours

                Comment


                • #16
                  Thank you, Lance! I especially like having the FDIC number from the Germplasm System included in your data base even though there will be many fig cultivars that do not have an FDIC number. Your data organization is easy for me -- a newbie fig fan and non spreadsheet user -- to navigate. I appreciate the time and effort you have spent creating this document.
                  Christine (Waddell, AZ Zone 9b) Wishlist: All my fig wishes have been fulfilled by OurFigs members. Thank you!

                  Comment


                  • #17
                    For figs, I sometimes find a picture is worth much more than a thousand words. Is there any way to associate photos with the variety name?
                    Richard - San Diego 10a

                    Comment


                    • Lance
                      Lance commented
                      Editing a comment
                      There is an image tab under each variety. Once the DB is stablized and more data is populated, I'll do a youtube video on how to use it.

                  • #18
                    I like the fact that it will be possible to do a search by flavor group. I just searched for "berry" flavor group under Varieties and the data base already has Adriatic JH (complete with Joe Hood's description of his original fig tree!) and Dalmatie. Then by clicking different tabs I was able to find tree size, whether or not it is good for growing in a pot, and even Internet links to more information. You've put a lot of thought into this project, Lance.

                    Are there any ways that members of OurFigs can be helpful?
                    Christine (Waddell, AZ Zone 9b) Wishlist: All my fig wishes have been fulfilled by OurFigs members. Thank you!

                    Comment


                    • Lance
                      Lance commented
                      Editing a comment
                      crademan, that link isn't working.

                    • crademan
                      crademan commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Lance, I did a search for "multiple names for fig varieties" and found a Figs4Fun topic "Fig Naming and Identification - Confusion, Frustration and Solutions" posted by Ingevald on 12/05/08. I'm not able to copy a functioning link. Maybe you can use the Figs4Fun search bar to find this topic.

                      The discussion went on for a long time

                      Most of Ingevald's source links aren't working today (9 years later), but these links are:
                      "8. European Minor Fruit Tree Species Database from Università degli Studi di Firenze http://www.unifi.it/project/ueresgen...se/s1/dbs1.htm and the actual description key http://www.unifi.it/project/ueresgen...se/s1/dls1.htm

                      10) The Fig - Its History, Culture and Curing with a Descriptive Catalogue of the Known Varieties of Figs by G Eisen from. U.S. Department of Agriculture Division of Pomology. Bulletin #9 . 1901. 317 pages. http://books.google.com/books?id=7dZ...CMhdM0#PPA5,M1

                      There's a later post in the thread by giorgi that attaches the "IPGRI FigDescriptors.pdf" but I'm not able to copy and paste a link for that either. Later Ingevald posted this link: http://www.bioversityinternational.o...arica__907.pdf

                      Hope this helps.
                      Last edited by crademan; 09-28-2017, 09:50 AM.

                    • Lance
                      Lance commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Thanx, crademan. The search got me to it.

                  • #19
                    Zingarella is spelled incorrectly
                    Ed
                    SW PA zone 6a

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                    • Lance
                      Lance commented
                      Editing a comment
                      fixed
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