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  • What are you going to do different next year?

    Another year, another learning experience.

    We are in the middle of a long drought which may or may not be alleviated this winter. Because of that, and having to hand water so many containers, I've decided to put most of my figs into the ground. Come Nov/Dec/Jan, I'm going to be root pruning, perhaps somewhat bare-rooting, and planting them out. Duplicates of my top favorite varieties will be kept in pots. It will be hedge style, planted closely and pruned short every year. I think they will grow better and be much easier to take care of.

    That's the plan anyway.

    What different things are you going to be doing next year?
    SoCal, zone 10.
    www.ourfigs.com Invite your friends.

  • #2
    I'm going to down size the number of potted trees to about 20 or maybe 25. Plant more of my Hardy Chicago trees in ground to free up winter storage space.
    Less trees = better care.
    Wishlist; Green Michurinska, St. Rita
    Sarver, PA Zone 6A.


    • #3
      Hopefully I'll be sampling my first figs off the tiny trees i recently planted. I'll be slowing down on the collecting of different varieties and learning how to air layer and prune for production.
      Adam Vista, CA 9b


      • #4
        And.. I'm going to be doing some culling. I just have too many trees, and after getting to taste some this year for the first time, I know much better which I love, and which are just average. I have a list of people I've promised trees to, and it's time to re-parent some of them.

        I also think I'm finished acquiring new figs... unless a real jewel were to pop into my lap. Getting cuttings, rooting them and moving them up has been one of the most fun gardening things I've done. Even though it may be heresy, I have more than enough really nice, good-tasting figs. When I innocently started out, all I wanted was one Mission, lol.
        SoCal, zone 10.
        www.ourfigs.com Invite your friends.


        • #5

          after about 3 years in ground you will find that you no longer have to water your fig trees.
          Here in greece they never water the trees other than what they get all winter from the rain.

          andreas-patras Peloponnisos Greece zone 9a


          • #6
            Well this next year, I'm going to try to reduce the number of new varieties I introduce to my collection. Originally i was thinking at a maximum 6 new varieties but seeing I'm already at 4 I might try to keep it under 10 .

            I'm going to 'plant' my potted figs in 3-6 inches in the ground to see if their watering needs are less. This should hopefully stabilize them a little bit too.

            Also I'm going to expand the fig garden to another 3 x 25 foot section of my front yard.

            Lastly, I'm anticipating figs from all my 2 yr old trees (RDB, Vasilika Sika, Adriatic JH, Black Mission, O'Rourke PP, Scott's Black, MBVS, etc).
            Kevin (Eastern MA - Zone 5b/6a)


            • #7
              I'm going to put in a small greenhouse, spend more time with my plants ( and my family) to keep the conditions good, slow down in buying, (went from 4 to 33 varieties this year) buy a better hand truck with air filled tires, and hopefully, get fresh figs from at least half my varieties. I think I also need to find a better job, so I can do all that new work at home.
              Hi my name is Art. I buy fig cuttings-so I can grow more figs-so I can sell more figs-so I can buy more fig cuttings-so I can grow more figs....


              • #8
                1) Get figs. I still can't believe I didn't get a darn fig this year after a combination of heat and overwatering cooked/drowned several of my plants, including my 2 biggest ones that produced fine for me last year. At least the big 2 lived through the ordeal. I'm hoping that some of my new plants will give me figs in their 2nd year, as they tried to produce this year, including RDB, Adriatic JH, Nero600m, and MBVS. Those are some premium varieties, and I've never had a non-grocery store fig, save for my LSU purple and hardy chicago, which were a bit sub-par (relatively young plants) I hope the wait is worth it.

                2) Go in ground. Come spring, I'm putting 3-5 varieties in ground. Still haven't completely decided which ones, but Nero600m and MBVS will certainly be on the list. Both had very strong late summer/fall growth, and are still putting out leaves.

                3) Bury pots. Like Fitzki said, this should help significantly. No more cooked pots. Cooked roots=wilty plants=me thinking they need water when they don't=death. I keep a big garden, I can spare 30-40 square feet to put some pots in the ground.

                4) Contribute. I've been fortunate enough to acquire all of my cuttings/plants for very cheap. I've got ~15 plants that I've probably spent 50-60 dollars on in terms of cuttings/shipping/plants, and that includes all the ones I've killed (another 10-15). If I could have kept them all alive, that comes down to just a couple bucks per plant, which is truly astounding. I look forward to giving back and distributing down the road.

                5) To hell with perlite. I've bought perlite from half a dozen stores in my area, and I might as well use sand. Sifting through a colander loses me upwards of 50% of the bag, and the resulting perlite doesn't look ANYTHING like what I see in pictures on the forums. I guess the supplier in my area just grinds it to a pulp. I'd be surprised to see 10 pieces of perlite in a given bag the sized of a pencil eraser. After sifting, 95% of what's left is JUST big enough to not go through the holes, and it probably would find a way through if I kept sifting.
                Brett in Athens, GA zone 7b/8a


                • newnandawg
                  newnandawg commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Brett, have you purchases perlite from Flora Hydroponics in Athens? Or, if you
                  are in the Atlanta area, Atlantis Hydroponics has LARGE Perlite.

                • brettjm
                  brettjm commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I actually don't think I have. I've done all the big box stores (of course its all MG), as well as a couple of local nurseries for some off-brand. I'll check it out. I've been doing quite well with pine bark nuggets to provide aeration, but those will obviously break down over a couple of years, and are not a long term solution.

                • Harborseal
                  Harborseal commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Look for Agricultural Perlite #3. That is perfect for rooting but you still have to rinse the dust off. Horticultural perlite is too small.

              • #9

                Do you have any gophers in your area? If you do in ground planting might give you trouble. I know Karla has lost a lot of trees as the drought makes the gophers target the inground trees.
                Cutting sales will start Tuesday Nov 1 at 9:00 eastern


                • #10
                  I started the year with two White Texas Everbearing trees growing in ground. Today I have 60 vatieties with 17 trees in ground. Yesterday, I drilled pilot holes with the tractor for 20 more trees. The planting will continue through the winter months, weather permitting.

                  Next year I aim to buy fewer trees and cuttings. I plan to have all trees in ground. I plan to set air layers to offer for sale for local pick up. Next winter there should be cuttings available for sale for mailings. Edited to add: This of course after varieties have been proven true. I can't stand passing along someones screw ups, thus making it my screw up.

                  Oh, and I hope to eat lots of figs next year and make fig jam and preserves.
                  Last edited by jmaler; 10-14-2015, 12:27 PM.
                  Jerry, Canyon Lake TX 8b


                  • jmaler
                    jmaler commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Will also use Super Bloom as main fertilizer to get more blooms on fig trees.

                • #11
                  Next year, I am going to have a stern conversation with this El Nino character and I am going to tell him to stop dumping all this rain on my beautiful state and thus ruining my fig season, or else.....

                  Gina - just curious what is on your fig keeper list?


                  • fitzski
                    fitzski commented
                    Editing a comment
                    your question to Gina warrants it's own topic. I'm very interested in hearing what others think are keepers.

                  • brettjm
                    brettjm commented
                    Editing a comment
                    El Nino= 'the boy'...typically with reference to a child. You can give him a stern talking to, and that may stay him for awhile, but he'll throw another tantrum down the road.

                • #12
                  Okay.. So Next year..
                  #1. I will get started at the very beginning of spring.. Scratch that.. Late winter! Actually do I really have to stop at all? Lol j/k.. Seriously I caught fig fever in early June this year.. So I started late, and had MUCH learn (in other words, I made a lot of boo boos). So I lost a lot of time basically & the growth of my young fig trees suffered a bit in the process.. If I only started earlier!

                  2. I will try my hand at dormant cuttings for the first time (from what I hear, it may be easier?) and do a bunch more air-layering (really liked that!)
                  3. I will try burying more pots like many of you mentioned, and maybe even plant two in the ground.. (I Love living on the edge.. Hehe..)

                  4. I will do my research BEFORE getting new varieties.. I went from none to 12 over the summer. A couple of which probably weren't right for my zone.. But ya live & ya learn right?

                  And last but not least..
                  5. GET TO TASTE SOME FIGS!

                  Wait wait.. Also I would love to return the generosity I've been shown by members here. Hopefully my trees will be big enough to do at least a little bit of spreading some fig love around to newer newbies or oldies but goodies... Not that the oldies are old.. Ugh.. You guys know what I mean.. I hope lol
                  My Plant Inventory: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...HZcBjcsxMwQ7iY

                  Cuttings Available 2022:


                  • #13
                    1) Increase the size of my nursery. I've run out of room, so most plants are in containers much to small for them. Just need to get the poison oak cleared from the new nursery site and i'll have a nice 25'x100' fenced in nursery.
                    2) Segregate plants by size more. I run flood and drain tables to water my container figs, and I need to work on separating those plants that need watering once a day, from younger plants that only need it every other day or so.
                    3) I'm going to try and get one of each variety that I have into the ground.
                    Fig & Blackberry Farmer in Sunol, CA.


                    • #14
                      [I liked Brett's format above]

                      1) Get more figs This was my first real fig harvest season, my second growing any figs. I think I probably got about 160-180 figs from all of my young plants. Shared with my wife and family and neighbors and friends. Was great, but was not enough. The plants that produced this year will be 3 yrs old, and I will have a number of new 2 year olds, and going to try new methods. Most of mine are in SIPs at present.

                      2) Get earlier figs. During the fig shuffle in April and May, my plants got left out one night in late May when it unexpectedly frosted very lightly - soon almost all of the forming brebas dropped. Gotta be more careful, only had 2 brebas.

                      3) Go in ground. I have just a Sals (Gene) in ground, a 2y old planted in May next to an above ground pool for protection. It sat still for a couple months then took off. I need more growth like that on some plants, going to rototill up an open area and plant some of the standards like Hardy Chicago, other Mt Etnas, and maybe try a few others, expecting them to die back yearly. This will work only with those that can put on figs and ripen them relatively early, of course.

                      4) Bury pots. I have been collecting a number of additional recycled 4-5gallon buckets, in order to make in ground planters with holes along the bottom 1/3 of the sides, plan to transfer some from SIPs and some 2y olds in pots to these and bury halfway in a rototilled area, cover whole area with weed barrier and mulch. I expect these to grow and produce better.

                      5) Fertilize more. I think I was too stingy or cautious (NOT LAZY) with the MG fertilizer during the season, and there was way too much June rain which likely washed out most of my PlantTone that I put in the SIPs when I potted up the young plants in late winter/early spring.

                      5) Root prune. I have a few older plants in pots that were given by some other growers, and none did as well as I expected given size of plants and pots. In retrospect I should have root pruned those this past winter, they need it. Gonna give it a try after they go dormant.

                      6) Cut back the number of cuttings I root this winter. Too much work the past two winters, not enough room at windows once they got big until I could put them outside. Wait!!! is that another cutting offer on the forum? ....

                      7) Start some air layers earlier. I tried my first airlayers this year, several have been successful. Did not start until mid summer though, right before a hot dry spell. I did not check some for moisture soon enough and found 2 with dried out medium and no roots though.

                      8) Dry more figs. I really like dried fruit. I did a couple trials of drying figs in my little food dehydrator, and loved the results. Split in half, they dried pretty easily. The results were very sweet, better tasting than the dried SunMaid Calimyrna or Mission figs or bulk dried California figs I get at a local specialty grocer.

                      9) Contribute more. I have been sharing extra received cuttings and rooted plants since I started growing them, this year I should have some cuttings from my own to share.

                      SW PA zone 6a


                      • #15
                        -Wait until spring to root cuttings, then root outdoors (fewer problems)
                        -Do more summer cuttings
                        -Bag or otherwise protect ripening fruit. The birds have learned...
                        SE PA
                        Zone 6


                        • eboone
                          eboone commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Originally posted by Kelby View Post
                          Bag or otherwise protect ripening fruit. The birds have learned...
                          I find it interesting that I have had all of 2 bird pecks on figs all season. My wife feeds them well with seed and suet on the other side of the house.
                          Maybe next year will be worse, when I plant some buckets and plants in ground as they will be considerably farther from the house.

                        • Kelby
                          Kelby commented
                          Editing a comment
                          They mostly hit black/really dark figs. RdB and Nero600m tend to vanish a day or two before before I think they'll be ready.

                      • #16
                        I will start an early spraying program of Spinosad to hopefully control the SWD (Spotted Wing Drosophila)

                        They have been devastating this year.
                        newnandawg 7b Newnan, GA


                        • eboone
                          eboone commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Do you have a plan on when, how often you would spray? How close to ripening do you think it is safe?

                        • newnandawg
                          newnandawg commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Ed, there is some information on the web that I very quickly looked over
                          about the use on figs. I will have to dig that back up and check it out
                          again to see the frequency and the waiting period before consumption.

                      • #17
                        Unless we have a very mild winter I will likely be sampling less and later, but I guess that is more accepting than doing as the result of planting out, but I will be doing a lot less toting around of pots and they will be smaller pots, and I will using more Lime and will be buying it bulk by yard
                        Phil North Georgia Zone 7 Looking for: All of them, and on and on,


                        • #18
                          Never thought I would go in this direction, but next year I want to need to climb a step-ladder to pick high figs from potted trees (at least). All but got to that point this year. Picking figs on tip-toes today (Mt Etna and RDB). Much of my fig growing space is up (above shade lines) as opposed to out (into shade or path space).
                          Tony WV 6b


                          • #19
                            On tap for next year:

                            1. Plant a few trees in ground. The current most likely candidates are Hardy Chicago and Italian Honey. My goal is to grow them step-over style.

                            2. Experiment with sinking some pots into the ground. Life would be more convenient if I could water less often.

                            3. Distribute my trees differently. Now that I have a better sense of how the sun hits my yard and changes over the season, I have a better idea of where certain trees can go. The south side of my house, though it is prime planting territory, really should be reserved for early ripening varieties since my neighbor's house and some trees shade it a fair bit in the late summer/early fall.
                            Stuff I grow: Google Doc


                            • #20
                              1. Down-pot all the trees that were up-potted to 10 gallon SIPs (half 30 gallon plastic barrels) back to 5 gallon SIPs and in-ground burial containers, 5 gallon buckets with 16 - 3/4 holes on the side near the bottom of the bucket. With branch and root pruning the 5 gallon buckets and SIPs are as productive as the larger containers with less effort and material costs.

                              2. Use low tunnels or cloches for the in ground trees in spring and move the potted fig trees into low tunnels early to extend the season by waking them sooner.
                              Pete R - Hudson Valley, NY - zone 5b


                              • eboone
                                eboone commented
                                Editing a comment
                                Originally posted by AscPete View Post
                                1. Down-pot all the trees that were up-potted to 10 gallon SIPs (half 30 gallon plastic barrels) back to 5 gallon SIPs and in-ground burial containers, 5 gallon buckets with 16 - 3/4 holes on the side near the bottom of the bucket. With branch and root pruning the 5 gallon buckets and SIPs are as productive as the larger containers with less effort and material costs.
                                How often do you feel the half-buried pots need root pruned - and is that based on conjecture or experience? This is an idea that a lot of us seem interested in.

                                Originally posted by AscPete View Post
                                2. Use low tunnels or cloches for the in ground trees in spring and move the potted fig trees into low tunnels early to extend the season by waking them sooner.
                                How early are you planning to start the low tunnels? I worry about waking them too soon and having 22 degree temps knock them back-a low tunnel won't help that much.

                                Thanks for your insight, Pete.

                              • AscPete
                                AscPete commented
                                Editing a comment

                                1. The 5 gallon pots with mature trees (3 year olds) need to be pruned and root pruned yearly by simply reducing the size of the Rootballs 1 inch on the sides 2 - 3 inches on the bottom (in late winter) and placed back into the same containers, based on actual experience. Bare rooting can be done every 4 - 5 years.

                                2. Planning on late March early April. This year the last frost was in late April and the first frost is expected on schedule (2nd week of October), this weekend. Our last (late) frost has usually been last week of May but was a no show this year. Although the last frost is expected in May the tunnels and cloches will provide enough frost protection for the dormant fig trees if there isn't any severely cold weather. Extending the season to ripen late figs over the past 2 years has been simply to shuffle the trees under cover without any additional heat source when the overnight forecast has been for clear skies and temperatures in the 30's (chance of frost) with daytime temperatures in the 50's to low 60's.

                            • #21
                              Great thread, I'll add my .02.
                              Wait on rooting until early spring when I start my veggie seedlings, it was a fun winter project with 200 plants stuffed in a closet last winter, but a bit too labor intensive and family harmony was tested at times....
                              Get my plants out of the cellar at least a month earlier, June 1st was waaaay too late. Greenhouse, here I come.
                              More plants will be planted in semi-buried containers, the few I did this with were quite happy.
                              Start fertilizing earlier and more aggressively.
                              EAT MORE FIGS!
                              Jesse in western Maine, zone 4/5
                              Wishlist- earliest maincrop varieties