Author Topic: Fig Study Update  (Read 124 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Andrea

  • Old Gardener, New to Figs
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 140
  • Karma: +1/-0
  • Northwest Arkansas Fig Lover
Fig Study Update
« on: April 25, 2023, 05:14:06 PM »
Thought I'd share some pictures of the Fig Study for those of you who may be interested. 

The first photo is of the day we planted them, May 17, 2022.  They were mostly cuttings that had rooted over the winter (a few were air layers form late summer) and all had been acclimated to direct sunlight in the prior few weeks.  We used free compost from the city to build 4 rows (berms) since the site tended to be soggy for several days after a rain.  We covered the berms with ground cloth to avoid any mowing and weeding issues.  It took about 7-8 pickup truck beds full of compost (unceremoniously scraped/shoveled out the back as the truck drove down the row) to make the berms.

The second photo is from October 17, 2022, the last day before frost.  You can see how much the figs grew during their first year.  I will say, they surpassed all of our expectations.  We think that several factors came into play.  The summer was very hot and the ground cloth contributed to both keeping the heat in and reflecting the sun back up to the plants.  We used a laser thermometer and regularly recorded surface temperatures of 150 degrees.  We had a drip irrigation system so the figs received plenty of water - too much, initially, which resulted in the phythophthera death of one plant.  But the biggest factor we think was the loose and rich material that we planted them in.  The city compost was like a fine mulch and was not compacted at all.  I'm of the opinion that new fig roots are very tender and they were able to easily grow rapidly in the berms which resulted in tremendous top growth as well.

The third photo is of fig D1 on October 16, 2022.  This is so that you can see what the top of the plant looked like before it went dormant. 

The fourth photo is of the roots of fig D1 on April 23, 2023.  We realized late last summer when this plant began producing figs that it was not the variety that it had been labeled as, so we have acquired the correct variety (or so we hope!) and dug this plant out.  We were mightily impressed with the root system on this fig.  A few observations:  the roots were much more shallow and spreading than they were deep.  Despite the fact that this fig showed no regrowth yet, the root system looked very healthy.  (That gives us hope that the other figs in the study which also have shown no growth yet will simply be later to emerge.)  Although we'd had less than a quarter inch of rain in the month of April, the soil under the ground cloth was still reading 8-9 on the moisture meter. 

This is a project of the Benton County (Arkansas) Master Gardeners, Zone 6b, whose goal is to find the most productive cold-hardy figs for home gardeners to grow in northwest Arkansas.
Wish List: The best tasting, cold-hardy, highly productive, non-wasp variety - whether I can pronounce it or not - and another 5 acres to plant figs on.

Offline FigMamaJanet

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 791
  • Karma: +2/-0
  • Welcome !!
Re: Fig Study Update
« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2023, 11:08:40 AM »
Andrea what an extensive study you are doing.  Thank you for sharing all of the information and the fruits or your labor with your Master Gardeners.  I am in awe of your dedication.  Please keep us up-dated, as I am interested in your results.  I know the Spring that we need for our fig trees or any plants for that matter start to grow full and fruitful, will be here soon.  I put my fig trees, olive tree, and new this year two dwarf meyer lemon trees, along with our vegetables and flowers as soon as Mothers' Day is here.  Should be no danger of frost in New Jersey.   
WL:  Black Jack, Black Genoa, LSU Red, Roberts Golden Rainbow, BNR, LSU Strawberry, Unk Burgan, CDD Noir, CDD Blanc, LSU Black Mutante DC-7, Col.Littman's Black Cross, Eastchester Black Unk., Cavaliere, Petite Negra, Pastiliere, Marteneca Rimada, Figoin, Zingerella, Socorro Black