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  • Newbe question - continuous harvest figs?

    I am pretty new to figs, have one fig variety (Improved Celeste) that has been in ground for the past 3 years, and 9 more varieties growing stronger in pots before I choose the next few to go in ground. I have a question. My Improved Celeste starts ripening figs in June or July and keeps on making them until frost. Love that so much! Unlike my peach tree with it’s one big harvest, or my persimmon tree with one harvest, it seems unique in the continuous ripening of fruit throughout the summer and early fall. So when people say a fig has an “early” harvest, does that mean that it starts producing early in the year and continues production until frost, or does it typically mean that there is one crop of figs that ripped early (like peaches or persimmons) and then the tree is completely done for the year? I like the continuous harvest of my Improved Celeste tree and would like to pick more varieties with this characteristic, but don’t know if this is normal for figs or something special about Improved Celeste. Thanks for taking the time with a newbe question, I have so little experience with figs, I just don’t know the answer. Some of the other figs I am trialing here are:
    LSU Gold
    LSU Purple
    LSU Scott’s Black
    Col De Dama Blanc
    Bourjassotte Gris
    JH Adriatic
    Hardy Chicago
    Are any of these going to give a continuous harvest like Improved Celeste?

    fort worth, Texas. 8a
    Wishlist:Violette de Sollies, CdDN, RdB, Petite Negri, Franks Salerno, Florea, LSU tiger, Longue d’aout, black jack, marseilles white, Brooklyn white.

  • #2
    I'm sure the real experts can give you a more complete answer, I don't think any of the figs do what peaches do and have a very short window during which fruit is produced, even though growing conditions are still good. The only similar thing I can think of in figs is if you rely completely on breba crop production (e.g., Desert King outside the wasp zone, where the main crop doesn't get pollinated). For varieties that produce a main crop, it just keeps coming until bad growing conditions (not just frost -- even short, cool, frostless winter days in southern California stop production of new figs) set in. It is a really nice trait of figs.
    Last edited by venturabananas; 08-13-2019, 03:45 PM.
    Mark -- living in the CA banana belt, growing bananas, figs, and most any fruit I can fit in my tiny yard.
    Wish List: Cavaliere, Green Michurinska, Moscatel Preto, Madeira Island Black


    • #3
      It really does vary with variety. Some figs, especially when young, will stop growing after they set their first main crop of figs. Since figs rely on new growth for continued fruit set, these trees will not keep producing figs late into the season. Others, most notable among them the Mt Etna varieties (MBvs and Hardy Chicago from your list), seem to have no problem pushing out new growth even when setting figs, and so those tend to produce over an extended season (sometimes they are labeled trifera, referencing three crops of figs, but in reality they tend to have a continuous and extended main crop that pushes fruit ripening late into the season (if you are in a location with a climate that can ripen figs from late fall into winter).
      Richard - San Diego - Zone 10a : Growing: List of Plants
      Want: Cavaliere, Cosme Manyo, Exquisito


      • #4
        I agree with the two statements above but would add two points:

        First, the growth of trees in pots is often constrained. Sometimes growers deliberately reduce water and/or fertilizer after mid-season. When growth stops, the tree stops setting fruit. So a potted tree may have an artificially shortened season due to these growth constrains. These constraints may not impact similar in-ground trees. So for example, my potted Variety X might stop bearing in late-September because all of the formed figs have ripened; my in-ground Variety X, which is not so constrained, may keep ripening figs until cold weather hits in mid-to-late October or even early November.

        Second, in some other areas, in-ground trees may be constrained by changes in weather, especially rainfall. In the Mediterranean, where the winter is relatively rainy and stimulates growth, the dry summer is a constraint on growth. So the main crop season may end when all the figs that set during the wet spring have ripened. Or there may be a second main crop if autumn rains leads to more figs that manage to ripen before winter. When commentaries refer to trees setting three crops (breba, main 1, main 2), I think they are really observing the plants response to its environment.
        Joe, Z6B, RI. Hopes realized -- weather is finally warmer, drier.


        • #5
          Thank you all for your insights, it helps to understand the fig tree production better!! Very helpful.
          My little boy is addicted to figs already, he is barely walking, and walks straight over to the fig tree to pick fresh fruit, his favorite snack... so I am trying to put more of these productive varieties in ground soon MBVS and hardy Chicago are looking like winners.
          Wishlist:Violette de Sollies, CdDN, RdB, Petite Negri, Franks Salerno, Florea, LSU tiger, Longue d’aout, black jack, marseilles white, Brooklyn white.


          • venturabananas
            venturabananas commented
            Editing a comment
            I think you'll find MBVS and Hardy Chicago and very similar (Mt. Etna varieties). You might want to choose one and then use the space you save on something more different.

          • jessup42
            jessup42 commented
            Editing a comment
            Great to teach the kids young. Not just figs, but all the fresh delicious things we can grow & enjoy. Always a race to the raspberries with my boys! Figs next once theyre abundant

          • jrdewhirst
            jrdewhirst commented
            Editing a comment
            I agree. Personally, I find MBVS more robust but that could just be my tree and its clones. In the broad Mt Etna family, there's a cluster of apparently smaller, earlier, and maybe richer-flavored varieties -- possibly synonyms including Azores Dark, Malta Black, Danny's Delight. You could try one of those.

            I also agree about picking fruit with the kids. My daughter and I had a summer ritual -- picking berries (pronounced "bellies") every summer afternoon. All that changed was the target -- raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, grapes, even cherry tomatoes. Now I've got the grandkids started. One granddaughter was disappointed this past weekend to find that the gooseberries were all gone. I had to point her to blackberries and mulberries, plus the first ripe peach.

        • #6
          Thanks venturabananas, will do!
          Wishlist:Violette de Sollies, CdDN, RdB, Petite Negri, Franks Salerno, Florea, LSU tiger, Longue d’aout, black jack, marseilles white, Brooklyn white.


          • ofon
            ofon commented
            Editing a comment
            If you lived in an area that didn't have such brutal winters, LSU Purple would produce until winter...living in Ft Worth I'm not sure it'll even survive if it's in ground.

        • #7
          I've found that the Bordeaux family of figs will keep growing and setting new figs while ripening from the bottom up all summer until cold weather. Continuous figs. Your VDB should do it. Also- Beers Black, Petite Negri, Negronne, Nero 600M, Vista, and Negretta. There're probably others.
          North Central Florida, Zone 9a.
          WL- I-258, WM #1, Madeira Island Black


          • #8
            LSU Purple bears until late fall. Does fine in E. TN......froze to ground a few years ago and came back with figs!


            • #9
              Malta Black is another prolific long season producer, I am told it out produces Improved Celeste. In FL an inground IC plant produces well into Nov.

              I cut a 6' IC plant back to 4' during dormancy, all figs are from new growth this year and already 6' tall now.

              Petite Negri, as an established inground plant in FL, will typically produce till XMAS!

              Treatment for fig rust is beneficial.
              They do need adequate fertilizer to achieve high production levels.

              Zone 9b
              S of Tampa Bay, FL