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  • Tricks/Tips for ripening better fruit?

    Are they any good tricks and tips to ripening better figs? Besides moving to California or acquiring the wasp, of course. Or cheating with a greenhouse!

    In my mind, the things figs will need to develop the best flavor are heat, low water, and sun. In a container, one can cover the top of the pot to prevent rain from getting in and carefully control moisture levels. In the ground you are at the mercy of the weather.

    I'm trying these tricks to see if they help:
    1) Planting on a slope when possible - excess rain will go downhill, hopefully. This slope is west facing, so it gets plenty of summer sun
    2) Placing large rocks around trees - see the picture. These should both divert some rainfall and absorb heat/radiate heat. I've been adding the large, flat rocks (slate/shale?) on the south/west sides as my back permits. They get hot in the summer sun!
    3) Planting near the house - my house is light colored and south facing, so reflects a lot of sun. Plus the microclimate boost in the winter is beneficial.
    4) Adding sand to planting holes - extra drainage, less moisture in the soil. Might not be too effective as I've found fig roots travel very far, very fast and don't remain in the planting hole long.
    Click image for larger version

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    Any other thoughts?
    SE PA
    Zone 6

  • #2
    For ripening better fruit, definitely will need the heat. And Pete's advice:
    Maximize the fruit size by reducing the quantity of developing fruit (pinch them)...
    Maximize productivity by pruning to maximize fruiting branches, reducing vegetative grown and non fruiting bare wood.
    Regarding water issues, if planted where well draining including on a slope of any significance then the fig bush might need more rather than less water more typically. That has been my experience in WV with every bush on a slope and/or raised bed, needing more rather than less water throughout the season, and no issues of excess water during time of ripening.
    Tony WV 6b


    • #3
      Here's a little more info from herman2, along the same lines as Pete's:

      In May and June pinch branches after 5 leaves to promote fruit set. Stop pinching after early/mid July and focus on thinning branches if needed. Remove any fruit set after mid to late July as they will not ripen.

      To get ripe fruits early on late cultivars: If in pot, grow one trunk only and pinch after 5fth leaf. If in ground leave three trunks or less (remove all others) and pinch tips. If you have a multitude of trunks, they will shade one another and no ripe fruits will result.
      SE PA
      Zone 6