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  • Fig Box for my Cold Basement

    This fig box was my solution to help root cuttings this winter in my cold basement. The box is insulated and has two mat heaters which are set at 74 deg F with a sensor in coco coir and in a soil media. Previously, the temperatures I measured in coco coir had been around 62 deg F before i made the fig box.

    Materials:
    two 4' x 8', 1 inch polyiso insulation, R6
    Two 10 x 20 inch mat heaters, 20 watts each
    One roll aluminum tape
    Click image for larger version

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    Northern VA, zone 7a/7b

  • #2
    The cupped cuttings.... they appear to be sitting right on the heat mat. I'd get those off of there..... It may very well dry out or fry your cuttings. those mat's can be very erratic with hot spots. I would at least get a few layers of cardboard and some space in between.

    https://www.ourfigs.com/forum/figs-h...meltdown/page2
    Guildwood Village - Toronto, Canada - Zone 6

    Comment


    • TorontoJoe
      TorontoJoe commented
      Editing a comment
      Mine were hot in some areas and stone cold in others....

    • Figs4All
      Figs4All commented
      Editing a comment
      One mat is under the bin with fig pops. I have the control sensor in a pop at the bottom. The other mat is way in the back and you can't see it, but I have a bin with coco coir underneath the cups and the control sensor is near the bottom of the coco coir. The cups are at a lower temperature. The controller keeps things from overheating nicely.

    • TorontoJoe
      TorontoJoe commented
      Editing a comment
      Wise to keep a bit of separation... If not only to diffuse and even out the heat distribution. I think you'll do well.... You may also want to consider a hygrometer to ensure it's not getting too dry.

      All around, very nice setup! Clever idea

  • #3
    Thanks. I plan to put in a couple of temp/rh sensors to see how the distribution is and adjust the set up if needed to even out temps around the fig box.
    Northern VA, zone 7a/7b

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    • #4
      Looks like it'll be a lot more user friendly than my den closet set up. Do you plan on using lighting and a small fan for air movement after they get foliage?
      Tony; Pickens county, SC zone 7B
      WL: Azores Dark; Brooklyn White; Dominick; Florea; Maltese Beauty; Sodus Sicilan

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    • #5
      Consider adding a small fan for air circulation.

      Perlite can be a challenge - knowing when to water is the reason. Roots transitioning thru phases is another.
      Johnson1
      Zone 9b
      S of Tampa Bay, FL

      Comment


      • Figs4All
        Figs4All commented
        Editing a comment
        Thanks Johnson1. I was thinking of raising the top cover a few inches for circulation when I add the lighting and adding a fan if the fig box becomes too warm. Maybe put a fan in if the air temperature gets to 80 deg F. I agree the perlite can be tricky.

    • #6
      Did you use parafilm as well? If so is there an issue with too much humidity locked in since your creating high humidity with keeping the lid closed?
      Zone 7a Westchester County, NY
      Wish List: Figo Preto, Bordissot Negra Rimada, Col De Dame Blanc, Smith, Cravens Craving, Noire De Barbentane, Strawberry Verte

      Comment


      • Figs4All
        Figs4All commented
        Editing a comment
        Hi Pdiscool. I have a mixture of some using parafilm and some not. I have some with partial parafilm too. So far I have not had a problem with moisture. The lid is not air tight and I have been inspecting the fig box daily so I might be releasing the humidity. I do feel the warm humidity when I open the lid. I plan to report on the results.
        Last edited by Figs4All; 01-15-2020, 08:46 PM.

    • #7
      This past weekend I added lighting to half of the fig box. I used the great idea that AscPete posted below.

      https://www.ourfigs.com/forum/figs-h...put#post687075

      I moved all the fig pops and perlite cups that were showing vegetation growth to the side with the lighting set up.

      So far the lights are creating too much heat to keep the insulated lid closed. To keep the temperatures moderate I am partially covering the fig box to keep the ight reflected inside. It seems to be working nicely so far..

      Click image for larger version

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      ​​​​​​​
      Northern VA, zone 7a/7b

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      • #8
        I could fill that sucker just with cuttings I got this year!
        Edward - Edgewater, Florida (Zone 9b)
        Wish List: Holy Smokes, U. Prosciutto, Ham Rham, Labritja

        Comment


        • #9
          Thanks for sharing the photos and info, nice looking light stand. As mentioned adding a small circulating fan would reduce or eliminate any possible mold growth while maintaining the necessary higher humidity required for cuttings. Cuttings have lower light requirements and you may have more lights than needed at this stage of growth.

          Just curious. What are the bulb specs (Lumens / Watts / CCT) and coverage area? Thanks
          Pete R - Hudson Valley, NY - zone 5b

          Comment


          • Figs4All
            Figs4All commented
            Editing a comment
            Hi AscPete. I am using 60w equivalent Sunbeam led ights from Dollar tree. They did not have the 100w. These are 800 lumens each with a color of 3000k and I measured approximely 122 watts for 12 lights, but one of them is a blue/red led grow light. I measured between 4500 -7500 lux at the folliage height. The Sunbeam spec lists 9.5 watts per bulb so they are 84 lumens/watt. The frame I made covers 2 foot x 3 feet. The fig box is 2 feet by 6 feet and 2 feet high.

            With the current set up I have good air circilulation because I am using a lid on the fig box that covers about 2/3 of the opening. I am hoping this is sufficient and I won't need a fan. I am going to install a temp/rh meter this weekend so I will have a better understanding of the humidity.

            I would be curious to hear what you thought about the setup and lighting levels for this stage of growth and what I might need in a month or so when I have more foliage.

          • AscPete
            AscPete commented
            Editing a comment
            Figs4All ,
            Thanks for the reply.

            The overall design and implementation is good. The light / Lux levels and color CCT of the Sunbeam bulbs are adequate for cuttings, but some 5000K bulbs would help to keep the leaves and nodes smaller, the cuttings will grow up into the bulbs and the increased Lux levels, but have no idea about the Purple LED. You may have lower (too dry, below 50%) than desired humidity (70% - 85% minimum) depending on the ambient RH if the top of the Box is open.

          • Figs4All
            Figs4All commented
            Editing a comment
            AscPete, thank you for your thoughts on my set up. I will consider getting some 5000k bulbs and track the humidity. I plan to post the results at sone point, but not before I up-pot the figs in soil and determine what percentage make it to the next level of growth without dying. Thanks!

        • #10
          I have an update on the fig box now that I added lighting. I had to add a small fan. The main reason I did this is because the temperature in the box was getting stratified. I had temperatures in the high 80s at the top of the fig box. After adding the fan I am consistently in the 70s thoughout the box. I also created a gap on about a 1/3 of the lid by putting one piece of the left over board underneath the lid. If the fan fails, this gap seems to allow enough heat to escape so I dont cook the figs. I did a test run without the fan on and the temps seemed acceptable.

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          Northern VA, zone 7a/7b

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          • #11
            AscPete pardon my ignorance. Are toy saying just the air circulating from the fan kills the mold (or prevents its growth outright)? (Asking for a friend who is naively building a partially enclosed growing shelf )
            Simon - Far Northern California - Zone 9b

            Comment


            • AscPete
              AscPete commented
              Editing a comment
              The Fan's "Air Circulation" reduces or eliminates mold growth on surfaces by evaporating moisture, just like in an Egg Incubator. The leaves and exposed wet surface areas along with the temperature provide the the moisture that makes up the Relative Humidity inside the enclosure, especially for the critical rooting stages. The openings in the "sealed" enclosure create the air intake and or air exhaust between the enclosure and ambient.

          • #12
            AscPete got it, thanks. Off to buy a small fan
            Simon - Far Northern California - Zone 9b

            Comment


          • #13
            Fig box update Click image for larger version

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ID:	738297 i am happy with the results this winter. The lighting set up seems to have done a good job.

            I tried 4 methods of rooting this winter and still need to run the numbers to see which one worked best for me.

            I tried the following:
            1. Root in coir and then pot in a tree-pot or 16 oz cup with promix HP at 5:1 ratio with water.
            2. 100% perlite then pot (see 1)
            3. Fig pops using promix HP and 5:1
            4. Root in water then pot in a tree pot (might be the winner)

            Within these 4 methods I also tried different diameters of scions and used parafilm on some.

            Rooting in water gave me similar results as last year. I really like this method because once you up pot them they are much less sensitive to overwatering and in my experience they actually do better if you do.

            I did have gnats appear finally, and i used a liquid trap i made with water, molasses, and soap. It worked really well and has kept them managable.

            The biggest surprise was trying banana grafting this winter. I am a novice and was able to have 3 out of 3 sucessful grafts using Jamies pictorial. I just grafted a bunch more onto my potted figs that are waking up so we will see how those did in about a month.
            Northern VA, zone 7a/7b

            Comment


            • #14
              I cleaned out the fig box today and rearranged the figs. I also started to count how many failed of each method. I have not run the numbers yet, but fig pops did not do very well for me. Rooting in water seems like it did an amazing job. Perlite and coco coir may be in the middle.






              Last edited by Figs4All; 04-11-2020, 05:29 PM.
              Northern VA, zone 7a/7b

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              • #15
                Some pictures from today's fun with figs.
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                Northern VA, zone 7a/7b

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                • #16
                  We had some wicked rain storms this week and one of the fig trays was left outside in the rain. As of today they are still looking good, so I am very excited it seems they have hardened enough to survive! 😄 The trays in the photo have examples of all four of the rooting methods I tried this winter. Coir in a box, water, perlite in a cup, and fig pop with HP mix.

                  Click image for larger version

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                  Northern VA, zone 7a/7b

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                  • #17
                    I used a roll of Reflectix insulation to create something similar.
                    Click image for larger version

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                    First year newbie --- 40+ Varieties --- Eastern Missouri --- Zone 6 --- Wish List: Need more research!

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                    • Figs4All
                      Figs4All commented
                      Editing a comment
                      My fig box started out dark, warm, and humid. When the cuttings started to leaf out I installed the lighting system, and moved the figs that leafed out to the lighting, or on my window sills. My wife could not stand for a fig on every sill, so the fig box is key. Lol.

                      The figs I rooted in water were kept on a window sill or in a room with lights on some of the time. Interestingly, the figs in water rooted the best from my observations, I will run my numbers to check sometime soon.

                    • davej
                      davej commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Figs4All I have soaked cuttings in water for up to 9 days before getting them into potting soil. Some cuttings looked good afterwards, and some got slimy and discolored the water. I don't know if water is perhaps better for fresh cuttings? Hopefully a lot of people will do writeups later in the spring to describe exactly what they did and what their results were. I will summarize my results at some point, but I started much later than most people.

                    • grasshopper
                      grasshopper commented
                      Editing a comment
                      How do you root them in water? Just stick them in water for months?

                  • #18
                    I have been soaking some cuttings for months and they developed great roots and survived up-potting really well. I am going to write it up after I up-pot the next batch and see how they survive.
                    Northern VA, zone 7a/7b

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                    • #19
                      I put them directly in water. I have some photos at the link below.

                      https://www.ourfigs.com/forum/figs-h...297#post674297
                      Northern VA, zone 7a/7b

                      Comment


                      • grasshopper
                        grasshopper commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Thanks for the link. Those are strong looking roots. Did you wrap the cutting or scrap the cutting beforehand? Any special water? I am gonna give this a try.

                    • #20
                      No special water and no scrapping. I did cut the bottom fresh. I wrapped some, but most are not wrapped. I will develop a more detailed write up and let you know when it is up.
                      Northern VA, zone 7a/7b

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                      • grasshopper
                        grasshopper commented
                        Editing a comment
                        How warm is your indoor temperature? Any cleaning or soaking before? (in bleach e.g.)

                      • Figs4All
                        Figs4All commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Some were kept in my basement in the low 60s and some were in the main house in the low 70s. I washed some in 10% bleach and some were only rinsed clean with water. It seems so far most did fairly well.

                      • grasshopper
                        grasshopper commented
                        Editing a comment
                        I just put one in the water today. I would see how it goes in a few weeks.

                    • #21
                      The fig box experiment came to a successful end this past week. I cleaned out the fig box and I am using it as storage for my gardening supplies. Many of the graduating figs can be seen in these pictures. The environment provided by the insulated box and lighting worked well for me. I will be using the fig box again next season. 😃

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                      Northern VA, zone 7a/7b

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                      • #22
                        It looks like you did a reasonable number. I did too many. It became a chore. Next year I will do far fewer.
                        First year newbie --- 40+ Varieties --- Eastern Missouri --- Zone 6 --- Wish List: Need more research!

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                        • Figs4All
                          Figs4All commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Welll I started out unreasonable, but lost more than a few to get to something more managable. Lol

                        • davej
                          davej commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Figs4All Well, I was just studying my remaining problem cases. Some seem to be improving and some seem to be getting worse. Then I have a whole batch of really late babies and I will be struggling with them until July. I should have started earlier.

                      • #23
                        Great recording of data!
                        I tried fig pops for the first time this year. I have found placing cuttings in water is the best method. Higher rooting percentages. Roots form along the entire length of the cutting, not just the bottom end.
                        Zone 6a/b - west of Boston
                        Wish List: A fig-maple hybrid

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