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  • Pot Culture and Watering Practicies

    No I don't mean water your figs when you are stoned!

    I have read all sorts of info of figs being watery tasting if it has rained too much. Or figs splitting if it has rained too much. What I am wondering is what is the best way to water container grown figs so they taste their best. Many plants you want to water by completely saturating the soil, and then not water again until the plants are near the wilt point, then repeat. This promotes strong deep root systems and minimizes the risk of many diseases.

    What I am wondering is, would it be better to water more often but less deeply, trying to keep the soil moisture levels more constant, but closer to the wilt point. Many fruits including apples grown in our area are dry farmed and result in lower yields, but much richer and intense flavor.

    I am geeking out and designing a soil moisture sensor that I can deploy to all my fig trees as well as other areas around my home. I know I could just buy some, but then I miss the full geek experience. Anyway, once armed with the sensors and some software I will be in a position to take much tighter control of the watering of my plants. Also a good thing since it seems we will be drastically short on water again this year. What I am missing is the optimum watering strategy to maximize the whole reason I am growing figs in the first place, Flavor!

    Any insights?


  • #2
    The geeking out experience sounds wonderful! I think you have a great idea!


    • #3
      Dan , this is why I love my SIPs . Soil moisture stays consistent as long as I keep the reservoirs topped up. And the soil never seems too wet.
      Your soil moisture sensor sounds very interesting.
      Kerry - NH zone 5


      • danw
        Senior Member
        danw commented
        Editing a comment
        Kerry, do you make your own SIPs or purchase them? I may have to try it with a couple of trees. I assume a good layer of mulch or bark on the surface will help maintain a more uniform moisture throughout the height of the pot.

      • drivewayfarmer
        Senior Member
        drivewayfarmer commented
        Editing a comment
        Dan , I make my own SIPs , for trials most are the 2 buckets SIPs shown on sites like global buckets. They are simple and quick to make , a full 5 gallon root space and I can usually find free 5 gallon buckets.
        When they prove themselves to be keepers they get sized up to 20 - 25 gallon SIPs made mostly like the example on the site Bills Figs.
        Being a "bunch quitter" at times , I tend not to mulch or use plastic cover on the top for the most part for no really good reason.

    • #4
      Just for transparency, the moisture sensor is nothing new. Just the implementation will be mine as well as whatever means I choose to network them all together. Still thinking about the connectivity part of it, and how to make it cheap enough so I can have lots of them.


      • #5
        IMO, the containers should be be watered regularly / normally to promote healthy growth, but some cultivars can be watered sparingly when the figs are ripening to help develop concentrated flavors.

        SIPs can easily be used to accomplish these goals. Last season normal reservoir fill resulted in O'Rourke figs (10 gallon SIP) that averaged ~ 42 grams, but when the reservoirs were allowed to go dry before refilling the figs averaged ~ 27 grams and resulted in concentrated flavors.

        Most of the growing season the reservoirs can be topped off normally, during fig ripening they can be allowed to go dry by limiting the amount of water delivered to the reservoir. The two required moisture levels (growing and ripening) can be controlled by the reservoirs' automated fill, using the moisture sensors as the PV (Process Variable) in a Control Loop. Good luck.
        Pete R - Hudson Valley, NY - zone 5b