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  • Gashing to ripen

    Does gashing a Common or San Pedro fig do anything to help in ripening? Anyone ever tried it?

    I've seen references where people gash (make a slice in the fruit) Sycamore figs that wouldn't otherwise ripen.
    Don - OH Zone 6a Wish list: Verdolino, Black Celeste

  • #2
    I don't know. But after seeing your post and looking up the tremendous Galil article on fig fruit gashing, I'm going to try it soon:
    An Ancient Technique for Ripening Sycomore Fruit in East-Mediterranean Countries: http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/h...ing%2010-2.pdf
    Tony WV 6b
    https://mountainfigs.net/

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    • #3
      Please report on your experiences... My experience with figs (Ficus Carica) has been that when damaged early in their growth, the figs usually callus over, grow smaller and deformed, when damaged near ripening, the figs tend to spoil, mold and attract flies and insects.
      Pete R - Hudson Valley, NY - zone 5b

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      • #4
        Don, from your question I'm not sure if you want to induce earlier ripening in a common fig or are you trying to get a San Pedro to ripen or both. To speed up ripening in the common fig some have had success with a dab of olive oil on the ostiole a couple weeks before normal ripening. Also removing the leaves from the tree or branch is said to speed up ripening (sounds counter-intuitive).
        Regarding San Pedros I don't think that gashing a San Pedro or Caducous ( Smyrna) figs would induce ripening, they need to be pollinated. I suspect if it worked some commercial growers would have had success. Although if they could induce ripening they would probablably due so by spraying diluted phytohormones (maybe some have?).
        Gashing causes a release of ethylene gas and the presence of the gas around the gashed fig induces the parthenocarpic ripening. The presence of ethylene gas will also ripen ungashed sycomore fruit if the gas were contained around the fruit by a plastic bag or other means. However give gashing a try or maybe placing an over ripe apple or other fruit in a plastic bag surrounding your figs. You might get lucky.
        If you're really want your San Pedro to ripen and are ambitious you might consider artificial pollination. Make arrangements in advance to get hold of a capri fig full of pollen, (appropriate timing is important) and try pollinating your San Pedro. I believe Roeding & Eisen employed this technique back in the early 1890's when they were first trying to introduce Smyrna type figs into California.
        John Z5 Wish list:

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        • #5
          Hello all, I had a CBT fig that looked like it was going to abort. Started to turn color before increasing enough in size. So I thought I would try the gash method to see what would happen. Well to my surprise it worked. It started ripening more, and it stayed on the tree a lot longer than usual. It actually started to dry on the tree, a 75g fig! This is only a 1 yr tree, and I've never had a really good fig from it. Usually those that ripen almost fall off on their own and are very watery. This one I had to really pull on it, and it made it through some pretty decent rains.

          What's more it had a drop of honey on the eye! This was the best fig I've tasted (not that I've tasted that many though from my yard).

          I think I will try out this method more to see if it was a fluke or if there is something to it. I might have to leave some CBT branches un-grafted now.

          Click image for larger version

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          -Dorian Miami, FL, Zone 10b
          Wanted (Col de Dame Grise/Blanc, Popone, Black Tuscan, Martinenca Rimada)

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          • TNJed
            TNJed commented
            Editing a comment
            Wow that’s very cool Dorian, thanks for the report. Figs are crazy!

        • #6
          Did a second one, and this worked too. It was holding on pretty good, and I would have left it longer to dry up better, but with the cold front I figured I'd take it off. Pretty good still, but not as good as the first one. I had also cut this one a little too deep I think, but it still ripened.

          Click image for larger version  Name:	CBT_ripe2.jpg Views:	0 Size:	96.8 KB ID:	1131119

          Zone 10a/b people, if you have any that you think don't have much chance this late to ripen, I think it's worth a shot if you still have temperatures in the 65-70s.
          -Dorian Miami, FL, Zone 10b
          Wanted (Col de Dame Grise/Blanc, Popone, Black Tuscan, Martinenca Rimada)

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          • #7
            That’s really fascinating. Worth a shot for sure.
            Z8+ Oregon, willamette valley. WL: More land, cool citrus
            Ok fine, I made a channel but it’s not all figs: https://m.youtube.com/channel/UC2vAVzLns27I5JUiwpiPMUw

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            • #8
              This is very interesting....going to have to test this out this year on some late ones.

              Thanks peeps.
              Kevin, N. Ga 7b Cheers!

              Wishing all of you a bountiful harvest!

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              • #9
                slowpoke that is very interesting! You said on the second one you cut a bit too deep. How deep do you make the gash? Just a scratch on the skin? Or is it a bit deeper?
                Randy
                Northeastern TN. Zone 6b/7a. WL: Rigato de Salento, Thermalito, BNR

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                • slowpoke
                  slowpoke commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Not sure I know what's best, but I've been aiming for 1/8 or even 1/16 inch (~2mm). I don't think exposing the florets would be a good thing, so probably just as deep as the meaty part? It would be good to experiment and see what works best.

                • RandyK
                  RandyK commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Thanks! Seems like it would definitely be worth trying and experimenting.

                • slowpoke
                  slowpoke commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Also I've done this on figs just before they start to increase in size, I think the main benefit is that they can hang longer on the tree. Maybe the stem/neck has not "deteriorated" as much since I'm triggering ripening sooner?
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