Friday, January 23, 2015

Winter Gardening. Fig Replacements. 1.23.15

Fig Row with replacement trees planted.  1.23.15

King Fig about to be planted.  1.23.15
This is from yesterday.   My approach, to trying to grow figs in Battleground, is evolving.

The challenges:

Climate.  Freeze damage is more of an issue than in Vancouver.  Almost a non-issue in Vancouver.  I lost top growth of several at the Battleground place, last year.  The unprotected ones of experimental varieties sustained significant freeze damage - an unknown, and exposed growth on LSU Tiger.  Haven't checked Champagne yet.

One problem with the freezing, is that it may limit fertilizing.  If growth is rapid, it may be more susceptible to freezing.  So it may take longer to bear fruit.

Herbivores.  Despite covering and hardware cloth, Smith was destroyed to ground level and into the roots, by voles.  Unknown was also destroyed to below ground level.  I had left one exposed this winter.

As a result, I decided to give up some experimental varieties, and go back to standards that have known hardiness, from my Vancouver yard.  Last year I grew cuttings from Hardy Chicago and Lattarula, and I continued a cutting from 2 years ago from King.  Those have all done well without any protection at all, from local freezes.

I dug out the remains of Smith and the unknown.  I planted King in a section where I had laid down black plastic to kill grass over the winter.  There is evidence of fireplace disposal or old fire there, with ashes and char.  Those have been leaching for at least the past 4 years, and possibly much longer.  I replaced soil in the top 18 inches, 18 inches around, although it may still be affected.  King is usually very vigorous, and this is a good spot for a larger tree.  I planted Lattarula where Smith was, and Hardy Chicago were the unknown was.  Sal's had no freeze protection and looks fine.   Sal's seems to me the most hardy, and tolerant to neglect, but growth is slower.  Maybe the slow growth is why it is more durable.  Aubique petite has had no freeze protection in prior years, and only winter 2013-14 was it freeze killed, so starting over.  So I did protect that one, and Carini.  Carini should be OK once it is established.

Across the road, I need to check on Brunswick, Champagne, and Atreano.  Brunswick was OK a few weeks ago.

So now, all of the varieties that I grew successfully at the Vancouver place are in-ground at the Battleground place.

The plastic/mess is intended to kill grass.  I just want to mow up one side and down the other.  In those spaces, I want to plant vegetables and/or bee forage, with straw mulch.

This time I applied hardware cloth surrounds and deer fencing cylinders at the outset.  They do need some mulch.

Addendum:  I checked the figs on the acre across the street.  Brunswick looks great.   Minimal freez damage, maybe 5 twigs.  Most of the rest have viable-looking brebas.  Growth last year was only about 6 inches.  Might need some nitrogen.  Then again maybe that's why it did so well.   Champagne hard to say.  Maybe one sprout survived from last year.  Atreano, hard to say.  There was only one sprout from last year.  It looks like it might be alive.  If so, it's one of the larger sprouts from the 2013 freeze damaged fig trees.


  1. The decapitated fig that was gifted was a progeny of the long gone boo dozed mother plant at the parking lot: honey Italian unknown. The progeny is much bigger then the dead mother. Now if anything ever happen to mine I will have a source for cuttings. The progeny's location is about an hr south of me so it got much warmer temp to grow and since they have such optimal growing condition, at the last visit I gave them another sapling about 4.5 ft tall of unknown variety.
    To counter the coldness, I wonder if raised bed help anything. Usually temp will be slightly higher or build a hay/straw tunnel around the trunk of the fig since you got wire surrounding them fill the wire cage with straws. The voles damage is no joke but what can you do but regroup and restart the damaged ones. The rat problem seems to be noticeably worse here is cold weathers. They have stolen my baits inside my racoon cage. My mouse traps are all gone. Have you ever seen traps disappeared? I bet I'll find them in the bushes. The long hair cat is not a mouser and he makes my veg garden her kitty liter box.

  2. Lance, I don't know how much colder it would be there, than here. Some figs don't do well here but there are a lot that do.

    I don't know what would take your mouse traps. That is really strange. Maybe the traps caught a mouse and the cat carried it away?