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  • Hi from Toronto - I'm new here!

    Hey everyone! I'm new here (first post!) and so I just wanted to introduce myself to the forum. Who else is from Toronto, Ontario or Canada?

    I go by Archie. I live in downtown Toronto and really love growing figs -- which I do on a west-facing balcony (see photo) which gets about 6 hours of afternoon sun. I started with 1 plant (a Mission) that I bought 4 years ago from a local convenience store, knowing nothing about fig growing (or overwintering). However, I'm happy to report that I figured out how to overwinter them (with inspiration from Steven Biggs' book "Grow Figs Where You Think Can't") and now my collection has grown to 6 medium-sized container figs in total (Mission, Chicago Hardy, Brown, Bugisota, Desert King, and an unknown dark variety). I also have a few small fig plants that I'm growing from cuttings (Lanzarote, Improved Celeste). This year, I'm hoping to get a few dozen figs -- a good many of them coming from a very vigorous Chicago Hardy, which seems to be producing heaps this year.

    Anyway, I'm looking forward to learning and contributing here!

    ~ Archie
    Archie, Downtown Toronto (Zone 6B)

  • #2
    Welcome! Your trees look nice and healthy! 😀
    SoCal zone 10b

    Comment


    • FigsNorth
      FigsNorth commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks Iqyax! They mostly are. A few minor issues, but nothing devastating. This year I added quite a bit more fertilizer, whereas I had been quite stingy in past years. A few of my figs have black splotches on them and I have no idea why, and some leaves look a bit "mosaic" like, spotted or not completely uniform green, but overall, I'm very happy with them.

  • #3
    Welcome Archie! You'll find many amazing people here always willing to help and offer advice. It saved my ass a few times. There are a number of people here from the Toronto area as well. I'm just north of the city.

    Comment


    • FigsNorth
      FigsNorth commented
      Editing a comment
      Nice to meet you! How long have you been growing figs? Do you have a large collection? This seems to be an addictive hobby!

    • richardk
      richardk commented
      Editing a comment
      This is my third year now growing figs. I keep waiting for the addiction to be over but every year it seems to increase more and more! I told myself I would stop at 20 then I told myself at 30 I think I have about 50 of them right now. Oh and then there's the like 10 to 12 cuttings I started over the winter as well. A lot of them need to be uppotted but I just don't have the room in my yard as is. also I'm definitely going to have to figure out what to do as far as storing them in the garage this winter. I guess I'll just have to keep my car parked outside.

  • #4
    I'm just east of you in Oshawa. Welcome aboard Archie. Lotsa good people and good advice here. Your trees look happy and healthy so you must be doing something right.
    Steve
    Courtice Ontario Canada
    Zone 5b-6a

    Comment


    • FigsNorth
      FigsNorth commented
      Editing a comment
      Good to know the CH and DK are doing best. I have both those varieties too. My DK is new so I have yet to see fruit on it but my CH is doing well this year.

      Are you mixing up your own potting mix? This year I used a ProMix and repotted all my figs into SIPs. So far so good. It's the first time I've repotted them so I'll see how it goes. I'm still trying to figure out the right feeding amounts and schedule. I think I could've started feeding a little earlier than I did but it took a while to get organized this year.

    • gofiger
      gofiger commented
      Editing a comment
      Yes I'm doing my own mix. 1 part garden soil, 1 part sand and 2 parts compost. Worked good my first couple of seasons. But my last 2 years my plants are not doing as well and not setting as many fruit. So I'm trying to figure out if it's mix or weather related, or both. Just learning as I go.

    • FigsNorth
      FigsNorth commented
      Editing a comment
      Interesting. For me choice of potting mix was partially dictated by going with the SIPs. Apparently not all growing media works well in SIPs. I'm kind of learning SIPs as I go though and I'm not sure I fully understand how to use them optimally. A family member bought a fig from a local guy who had it in a heavy soil mix. And, it's the only fig of hers without fruit on it! I'm going to repot for next year in a SIP with the promix or similar potting mix and see if that makes a difference. Might be something to try for yours too. Did you post a photo of them? Maybe someone with more experience than me can diagnose the likely cause.

  • #5
    Welcome Archie! Your fig trees look great. What variety is the one with all the huge figs on it? I am very curious about how you overwinter your fig trees.

    By the way I live in London.
    Angela - Southwestern Ontario - zone 6a (all potted from 1-7 gallons)
    wish list: none for now

    Comment


    • FigsNorth
      FigsNorth commented
      Editing a comment
      Wow, that's a fast growing collection! How did you amass all those so quickly? Did you get much fruit last year? Or are most of them very young plants? I used to live in London (Masonville). I think it was a bit warmer on average than the GTA if I recall correctly (though downtown Toronto is generally warmer than the GTA too). My figs seem to get a hot house micro climate being on the sheltered balcony where daytime temperatures in the sun are usually 5 to 10°C above ambient. I was able to ripen fruit into November last year, bringing in the plants on cold nights and in the latter part, fully indoors during the day/night in a west facing window. That said, the one I kept from going dormant latest into November (that Chicago Hardy in the photo) had trouble becoming dormant when I put it back outside in the cold. The leaves didn't turn color or dry out, they just fell off green but it took a long while. I'm not sure if that is good or bad (I suspected bad), but this year it's doing superbly, growing and fruiting well. I wonder if anyone on here can explain why that might be... Btw, how do you water all those plants? Watering mine already takes a lot of time, mostly because I'm fussing with giving them dechlorinated tap water and also because I have been feeding them fertilizer in the water too. And that is with them in SIPs too this year. I can't imagine watering100 plants but I wouldn't mind all the fruit from having more (or larger) trees.
      Last edited by FigsNorth; 07-14-2018, 06:56 AM.

    • angelad
      angelad commented
      Editing a comment
      Well two years ago I started with 3 unknown fig plants and decided to do some research on how to take care of them (they were from my mother's house). Once I realized that there were so many varieties my fig addiction began. Over the last 2 years I probably have bought about 30-35 plants and the rest have been from air layering or cuttings that I received from forum members.

      Last summer I only had figs from an unknown (white marseilles/lattarula?) large fig tree that already had lots of fruit on it when I bought it. Unfortunately, for some unknown reason, it died this year. None of the other fig trees produced fruit. This year quite a few have figs on them so we will see if they ripen for me. My Desert King which I purchased in Sept. 2016 has just one breba on it. It better produce more next year!

      Hand watering the small one gallon plants that are on my deck is a lot of work since they dry out quickly. The larger potted fig trees don't take very much time since I use the hose with a hand wand attached.

      By the way, I live in the area that you used to live in. Small world!

      p.s. my favourite fig plant that I was recently gifted by a forum member is a Black Madeira. That plant is treated like royalty!

    • FigsNorth
      FigsNorth commented
      Editing a comment
      Sounds like most of your plants are smaller/young still then? Hopefully you'll reap a bigger harvest this year. I bought a Desert King this year from a garden center and it has no figs. Does it only produce a breba crop? It's a good size so I don't know why it is the only tree I have without any figs. Maybe they fell off before I acquired it though.

      Sorry to hear about your Latturula. Everybody seems to talk about this Black Madeira. What's so special about it?

      I would love to acquire more varieties but for now I am so limited by growing and storage space that I'm going to have to resort to one new plant in, one old plant out rule. That might also help weed out the weak producers though. I have a couple that if they don't produce fruit that ripens this year or next spring, they are probably going to have to get moved out, namely a Bugisota and the aforementioned Desert King. So far my Brown and my Chicago Hardy are the best producing.
      Last edited by FigsNorth; 07-14-2018, 08:12 PM.

  • #6
    Welcome from South of the Border! May your figs ever taste great.
    Bob C. KC, MO Zone 6a. Wanted: Martineca Rimada, Galicia Negra, Fioroni Ruvo, De La Reina - Pons, Tauro, BFF, Sefrawi, Sbayi, Mavra Sika , Fillaciano Bianco, Corynth, Souadi, Acciano Purple, LSU Tiger, LSU Red, Cajun Gold, BB-10 any great tasting fig

    Comment


    • FigsNorth
      FigsNorth commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks Bob! Looks like we're pretty close in zones despite the latitude difference. I think I have the urban heat island effect (and maybe Lake Ontario) to thank for that.

  • #7
    Welcome, Archie! That's a beautiful balcony fig orchard. Hope you get to eat lots of figs this season!
    Christine (Waddell, AZ Zone 9b) Wishlist: All my fig wishes have been fulfilled by OurFigs members. Thank you!

    Comment


    • FigsNorth
      FigsNorth commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks Christine! It's a very small reprieve in the sea of concrete and constant traffic noise. I was curious so I just checked the weather in Waddell, AZ -- 98°F! Do your figs varieties produce well in that kind of heat? How do you keep them watered?

    • crademan
      crademan commented
      Editing a comment
      We flood irrigate from an irrigation ditch every other week.Yesterday we received water from 7:45 AM to 12:15 PM. which flooded our 2 acre mini-farm about 9 inches deep. That would not be very practical for a balcony garden.

      Many figs do produce well in Waddell's heat. I'm new to the hobby so only have a few varieties. Black Mission is supposed to be really good here, but is a huge tree when mature so it's probably just as well that gophers ate the roots of the Black Mission tree we planted and it died. Violette de Bordeaux is producing a few fabulous figs now. I've got an unknown yellow honey fig that's ripening now, and our White Kadota is just about ready to start harvesting. We lost the crops of the White Kadota in 2016 and 2017. This year it has received extra water between irrigations and lots and lots of straw bedding & sheep droppings. I've planted Marseilles Black VS, Desert King, and Joe's Jersey on recommendations of two people who know their figs.

      P.S. 98˚F. is a cool day after a monsoon rainstorm in July. 105˚-110˚F. are more common high temperatures, which is why we are babying the White Kadota tree that doesn't like high heat.

    • FigsNorth
      FigsNorth commented
      Editing a comment
      Hmm interesting irrigation system. Nope, that would not be balcony friendly. I'm always nervous if I spill even a cup of water as it ends up on my below neighbours balcony. All mine are in SIPs now so most of the water stays put. So far so good.

      That heat sounds intense. I was in Phoenix once and the heat hit me like a freight truck as soon as I stepped out of the air conditioned airport. Loved it otherwise and met lots of nice people though.

  • #8
    Welcome to OurFigs Archie!

    I don’t suppose there is a chance you could frame in that balcony area temporarily and insulate it well enough to keep the figs there over the winter - probably a crazy idea...
    Ed
    SW PA zone 6a

    Comment


    • FigsNorth
      FigsNorth commented
      Editing a comment
      Hmm...that's actually a really interesting idea! I suspect the regular heat loss from my inadequately sealed patio doors would actually keep it warm enough for figs too. However, one thing I've learned about living in condos is that there is always some broadly worded condo corp rule to make things difficult for anyone doing anything a bit out of the ordinary.

  • #9
    In what part of town are you? You seem to be doing well with your trees...

    I've given fig trees to a number of my colleagues. My most urban Etna is growing on a friends balcony on Camden Street, just west of Spadina Ave.
    Guildwood Village - Toronto, Canada - Zone 6

    Comment


    • #10
      Your trees look great!
      Nate --- San Jose Zone 9b
      Wishlist: Thermalio, Exquisito, Meteorito, Kimi Sika, Craven’s Craving, Black Zadar, UCR 187-25, Pastilliere, DSJG, Ben's Golden Riverside, Caprifigs

      Comment


      • FigsNorth
        FigsNorth commented
        Editing a comment
        Thanks Slingfox. Are you in the valley part of the Bay Area? I imagine that would be better growing conditions than SF? What are you growing and what's growing well for you?

    • #11
      I am in Toronto, have r fig trees but looking for some fig cuttings different varieties, some early. Any help how or where to get it? Thanks

      Comment


      • ginamcd
        ginamcd commented
        Editing a comment
        Welcome John! I suggest starting a new topic to introduce yourself and ask your question, and I'm sure other members in your area can offer information. Go to the "fig forum" page and you'll see a button at the top for starting a new topic.

    • #12
      Welcome to the forum! Nice picture, nice figs!
      Tim - Western Kentucky USDA Hardiness Zone: 7a-6b
      My figs: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...it
      Wish List: Any LSU fig I don't have

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      • #13
        They look great welcome to the forum
        Last edited by A.Matos; 10-27-2018, 09:46 PM.

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        • #14
          Welcome to the forum Archie! That's a nice balcony orchard you're growing.
          What's the purpose of the black garbage bags covering the soil?
          A rookie Figster excited to expand my knowledge with a little help from my new friends.
          Southern Vancouver Island, Canada

          Comment


          • FigsNorth
            FigsNorth commented
            Editing a comment
            Hi Rabaldi - I had the garbage bag on since that tree were configured as a sub irrigated planter (SIP) and that particular tree was drying out too quickly in the heat. The garbage bag was to slow evaporation from the soil. It's fairly common to place plastic over the soil with SIPs but I eventually ditched it and have heard from others that it doesn't make much of a difference since most of the evaporation happens via the leaves. I might try it again next year though to see if it can control fungus gnats.
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