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  • Main crop ripening

    Fig newbie, long time digger in the dirt.

    Ripening of the main season crop seams to have a lot of grey areas, based on what I have read.

    As the main crop ripens in fall, the days are shortening together with a reduction in intensity of the sun.

    Is there a magical 'trigger' point when the plant feels right and a healthy crop ripens properly?

    Is it a blend of sun ripened wood, appropriate nutrient availability, sun intensity, hydration and ambient heat?

    Or does one of these items have more significance than others?

    I am growing on the CT Rhode Island border on the coast in what is a 6b 7a zone. I am hooked on this crazy genus
    as the first thing I do every morning is to go and talk to my fig plants while clutching my coffee still in my PJs

    The Figster


    Really happy with what I have.

  • #2
    Heat and sunlight help hasten ripening, but generally varieties ripen as follows...

    70 days: Malta Black, Improved Celeste, Ronde de Bordeaux, St Anthony.
    75 days: Mt Etna type figs (Hardy Chicago etc)
    80 days: Kathleen Black, Atreano, Dalmatie, TaKoma Violet, Violette de Bordeaux, Nero 600m, etc
    85 days: Adriatic JH, Longue D'Aout, Sal's Corleone, other Sicilian type figs.
    90 days: Battaglia, Vasilika Sika, Verte, Col de Dame, etc.
    100 days or more: Black Madeira, I 258, Preto, Verdal Longue, etc
    SE PA
    Zone 6


    • F. Bennett
      F. Bennett commented
      Editing a comment
      Great notes, Kelby. I may have to copy/paste that.

    • Kelby
      Kelby commented
      Editing a comment
      Herman2 posted the list, I just copied!

  • #3
    Welcome, Figster! I know what you mean. I get home from work, fix a shot or two of espresso, then spend 30 minutes walking around my trees. Every. Day.
    As Kelby mentions, each variety is 'programmed' to ripen at certain times. My in ground trees get no fertilizer. They ripen just like my potted trees that get fertilizer.
    Frank ~ zone 7a VA


    • #4
      The time it takes to go from a tiny figlet (about the size of a grain of rice) to a fully ripened fig is set and varies by variety as indicated above. So the important thing that determines when figs start ripening is the date at which they start to set the tiny figlets. That is why growers try to get a start on the season using the fig shuffle or a greenhouse, especially for long season varieties. Unfortunately, it seems like the figs that have the longest "gestation" period also are the slowest to develop the tiny figlets. I find this especially true for Col de Dame Blanc and Col de Dame Noir. They don't seem to respond to pinching very well. And then there is Kathleen's Black which seems to form new branches in response to pinching! On the other extreme are varieties like Florea and Improved Celeste which start forming figs early even without pinching.
      D-i-c-k-e-r-s-o-n, MD; zone 7a
      WL: Castillon, Fort Mill Dark, White Baca


      • #5
        As always Steve has made a valuable observation. I started my Col de Dames in the greenhouse in the first week of March. Normally an in ground tree should be forming embryos in the first week of June. These are potted trees and they are lagging behind some varieties that got no head start. Col de Dame Noir leafed out first, and quickly. Col de Dame Blanc lagged a bit behind. Nonetheless, it is Col de Dame Blanc that has formed figlets first. The Noir has been stubbornly slow to form figlets. One tree (I have two of each) has ZERO figlets. The other has formed one or two. Very disappointing. I hope that as the trees age and acclimate to the cold Northeast that they will become more productive. And next year I will be able to make observations about three Mallorcan Col de Dames that I have added to my collection, they are used to an even warmer and drier climate.
        Zone 10b, Miami, FL


        • #6
          Rafael, I sent you an ourfigs message.
          D-i-c-k-e-r-s-o-n, MD; zone 7a
          WL: Castillon, Fort Mill Dark, White Baca


          • #7
            Thank you all for the very helpful and useful information.
            So the trick is to initiate fruit earlier in the year so that then they have time to ripen naturally with sun and heat in the fall.

            thank you all

            Really happy with what I have.


            • #8
              Hi neighbor, welcome to the forum. Like you my first stop each day is a visit to the figs. I think my wife is a little jealous. Oh well it could be worst.
              Dave- Waterford, Ct. Zone 6a


              • The Figster
                The Figster commented
                Editing a comment
                Hi from Stonington -what are you growing and what have you had success with