Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Atreano fig......Breaking News !!

Breaking News.......from Dan's fig research facility located way down here in Cajun Country. That's South Louisiana for those of you who do not know any better. 

FYI......anything north of Alexandria, La.  is considered Yankee country by us Cajuns. And New Orleans is part Creole and not any part at all of Cajun country. Those french speaking New Orleans Creoles did not welcome us french speaking Cajuns who were "ethnically cleansed"  from Novia Scotia, Canada many years ago. That forced migration of Cajuns from Canada was at the direction (gun)  of King George of England and his troops.  All their land and property was seized (stolen) because our french speaking Cajun ancestors absolutely refused to bow down to the english speaking  King of England. Even at the point of an army of guns they refused to change their Catholic religion to that of the King's religion.

But that is all OLD news... Here's the real breaking news concerning my fig studies. Too bad if any fig collector gets offended by what I now write. 

I have been studying a large, in-ground Atreano fig tree located in my yard for years.  After quite a few years of observation of its growing and fruiting characteristics, I am pleased to report that Atreano is NOT RECOMMENDED for growing in the South. On a scale of 1 to 10 where 10 denotes a must have fig variety like a regular Celeste, O'Rourke, or VDB..........I must rate Atreano a perfect 0 (zero).  Why it even ranks lower than Brunswick and California Brown Turkey which each rate a 1 on my scale.  I cannot find ONE single reason to bother growing this fig.....not one reason at all other than that it is a rare fig with a story.  Fig "rarity" (and especially one with a story) is very important only to fig is not important to me.

Take my advice and don't waste your time with Atreano. There are many other better varieties of good tasting figs to choose from. My Atreano fig ree will be destroyed and sent to the fig gods.

FYI, I am an ardent fig researcher and NO ONE studies figs in greater detail than me.....NO ONE. Below are the type of fig cultivar growing and fruiting characterisitcs that I study.  I study these characteristics in depth before I make any ranking decisions for the many different fig varieties that I study. No where on the following list of fig characteristics will you see "rare" or rarity of the fig cultivar.  Rarity is a only a concern to fig collectors who hype certain figs in order for them to make money. The fig forums are full of such fig collectors who know little to absolutely nothing about the following fig characteristics. They can't tell you much about the figs in their collection because they only grow their trees for cutting trading and sales.  Look how these guys have to resort to sending potential buyer to their favorite fig forum to read THE HYPE about the figs in their collections.

Those who  bother to conduct a Google search can easily find this Cajun Fig Blog where they will get reliable fig related information. And according to my Blog Statistics monthly report , I see this is occuring many times (average 200) a day and it occurs on an international level in other languages. Without a doubt my telling the truth about the poor performance of Atreano will piss some of those fig forum fig collectors off......because it might impact their pocket book or ability to trade it for other new fig cultivars. Shame on those people for running such a puppy mill......I mean a fig cutting mill. I am talking about people like that Jon Verdic guy who owns the fgs4fun forum and his minions in New Jersey and a few others scattered around in Yankee country.

Question for you

Do you pay any attention to any of these following fig characteristics??  ....or are you someone who chases after the latest "rare" fig cultivar that comes along?

Here are some of the Fig qualities that I study:

Taste (ie. overall flavor), Taste (its richness component), Taste (its complexity),  % sugar content (by actual analysis), signs of FMV,  ripening times, number of crops, persistence, speed of fig ripening (very important in rainy climates) , productivity, rain tolerance, bug resistance, skin qualities, overall sweetness perception, pulp consistency, heat tolerance, fruit drop, size of tree, cold hardiness, pot culture vs. in-ground culture, cooking qualities, handling qualities, and drying qualities.

In none of those fig qualities listed above does Atreano make any showing at all.  None, nada, zip.  It takes years to develop this type of fig culture information that I freely give to you.   Don't waste your valuable time growing Atreano in the South!!  Start out with something better than Atreano......

Semper Fi-cus

Native Black fig..........Breaking News !!

I have been studying the Native Black fig for quite a few years. My observations are taken from my large (6inch diameter) tree which grows in the ground in my yard.  FYI, I am the individual who first made all others aware of this fig cultivar in my past writings on both fig forums.  I've written a bit about it too on this Cajun Fig Blog.  As I preveiously reported, Native Black is a Louisiana heirloom Italian fig which was first introduced into the retail trade by Saxon Becnel's Nursery in Belle Chase, Louisiana.

Native Black is a very good tasting "mid to late season" fig and it is very PRODUCTIVE.  Yes, believe it or not some of us are more worried about  a fig's TASTE and especially its PRODUCTIVITY rather than the RARITY of a particular fig cultivar and its "story".  That's just one of the differences between a true fig researcher like me and those intolerant fig collectors who hang out on the fig forums.


.........the following is the kind of real fig related information that only comes from a dedicated fig RESEARCHER like me and definitely does not come from any of those silly fig collectors who are ctritical of me and are only into fig cultivation to make money.

I am pleased to report the following observations that I have made upon my in ground Native Black fig tree.  The following fig culture information which I am now freely giving to you takes YEARS to develop....keep that in mind.  Just because this information is given freely does not mean it does not have value. This type of information is never developed overnight.  It should be benefical to any fig grower.

Last season my Native Black fig tree tried to ripen two crops of figs. I  allowed it to do despite knowing full well that by my leaving those late figs on my tree going into the fall/winter, that that alone might be detrimental to the health of my tree. As a reseracher, I have no problem with putting my fig trees at risk in order to learn new information.   Well that second crop only had time to ripened a few good figs before winter arrived in my yard. Many unripe second crop figs remained on the tree.......and because of that fact, my huge Native Black fig tree was completely top killed all the way to the ground.  That can happen to ANY FIG tree if you try to ripen too many LATE season figs. And yes that can happen anywhere in the country even in areas with a mild winters. Remember this happene to me even in a relatively warm winter zone 9 climate......

And this is especially true for small fig starts.............pull all of those figs off of them as soon as they appear. This is EXTREMELY important.. You lose way to much energy reserves in trying to ripei those figs. That energy drain will make your  tree vulnerable to winter damage....even death in many cases. I've  written about this in great detail in other posts on this Cajun Fig Blog.  Take heed to what I am now telling you again and agan. You would be wise to not ignore the good advice I am giving you in this and other posts.

I am pleased to report that my Native Black grew rapidly from the roots and is again fairly large in size.  And I am pleased to report that Native Black DOES NOT produce  a crop of figs from its new spring growth which comes up from the roots after a top kill. This information has never been previously reported by anyone.  This new revelation has significance and meaning to those of you who would potentially grow this fig cultivar.

Significance of these results.......

1)  Native Black is a "mid to late season" fig and is better suited to areas of the country with a longer growing season.  It does have a place in my yard for extending ny fig season by a couple more months.

2) Native Black is cold tolerant.......that is, as long as you DO NOT ATTEMPT to ripen second crop figs.  Too much energy reserves are lost in trying to ripen that second crop of figs. That makes the tree very vulnerable to even zone 9 winter temperatures.

3)  Always pull off second crop Native Black figs from your tree. Pay attention to this information. If I had pulled off those figs off my tree last season, it would NOT have been winter top killed this past winter.

4)  If Native Black is top killed in your yard, don't expect to see figs from your tree from its new spring growth. You will have to wait until the following year to see a crop of figs. Remember that not all fig cultivars will do this. Many cultivars WILL produce a nice crop of figs from new root growth. Unfortunately, Native Black is not one of those fig cultivars.  That is important iformation for those trying to grow Native Black in colder climates than mine.


Friday, August 1, 2014

The San Peitro fig (and several others too)

Below are a couple of pictures of the San Peitro fig.  This fig IS NOT the same fig as the San Pietro fig. They are entirely different cultivars.

I am happy to report on the "excellent" growing habits of the San Peitro fig.   I have been growing this fig for several years and can now recommend it for the people in my area.  San Peitro is a good tasting fig (sweet melon taste). It is very dependable and does quite well in my zone 9 rainy climate. This fig tends to be reddish brown in color (depends on level of sunlight hitting the figs) with pink/amber pulp and it holds tightly onto the tree and does not drop during dry conditions.  It is usually a bit larger in size than a regular Celeste fig. This year the figs are a bit smaller in size than usual. It is split resistant and bug resistant. The tree has dwarfing characteristics and is VERY productive. Did I mention that San Peitro is a VERY productive fig. Yes, I did say that it is a PRODUCTIVE fig.........

I've also included a picture of some figs that I picked up a just few minutes ago (before the rain starts in my yard). These figs will be made into fig jam sometime this weekend.

The following figs are contained in that picture of a pan of mid season figs......

San Peitro, Gino's Black, Dark Portuguese, PersianYellow No.1, Paradiso, JH Adriatic, Robin's Sicilian Black, Black Triana, White Triana, and Ischia White.

Several other varieties are missing from that photo because I could not resist eating them right off the tree!!  Scott's Black was one of those not pictured. Scott's Black is such a good tasting fig folks....get yourself one of those too if you don't already have it.

San Peitro 8/1/14

San Peitro 8/1/14

Mid Season Figs 8/1/14

Semper Fi-cus

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Tips on buying Fig Trees and cuttings on eBay !!


This post is a work in progress and more will be added as I have time. This will be a long post when I am done as I have a lot more to say on this topic. The following advice is primarily for the average fig CONSUMER.  It is not for the average fig COLLECTOR who is suffering from a bad case of "fig fever".

Just a few years ago there were very few fig trees and fig cuttings being offered for sale on eBay. Today one can find plant material (trees and cuttings) for sale from hundreds of different varieties of figs and from many different sources. IMO, that is a very good thing as the Consumer now has many choices.   The QUALITY of those fig starts and quality of those cuttings varies greatly. Here are a few tips to help you get the best QUALITY for your money.

Tips when buying fig trees on eBay:

1) Don't get caught up in the bidding wars on eBay and chase after the latest "rare" fig cultivar to come along. Certain fig forum members "hype" their figs cultivars on purpose in order to create a demand. They use team tactics  to hype a fig. One will post a picture or two and the rest of the gang goes "oooohh" and "aaaahhh". They have been doing a very good job at feeding the "fig fever" of  other collectors and driving up the prices of plant material. 

2)  Don't choose a fig variety based upon its "rarity". How rare a fig is has absolutely nothing to do with how well it will perform in your yard. There are other much more important factors that should go into fig cultivar selection besides its rarity.  Taste (flavor),  ripening times, number of crops, persistence, speed of fig ripening, productivity, rain tolerance, bug resistance, skin quality, sweetness, pulp consistency, heat tolerance, fruit drop, size of tree, cold hardiness, pot culture vs. in-ground culture, cooking qualities, etc....... should be taken into consideration when choosing a fig variety. I will discuss each of those variables in much greater detail when time allows.....

3)    Do not buy late season fig varieties  (Col de Dame, Black Madeira , etc) if you do not have a long hot climate in order to sufficiently ripen these figs......otherwise you will be greatly disappointed. Unfortunately it may take years before YOU realize that you have been had by those fig collectores.  Don't waste years of your valuable time to try to grow those types if you have a cold climate.  It does you absolutely no good to have such a tree in yoiur yard.  These will never sufficiently ripen those laste season figs in colder climate.  Also, many (most?) strains ot these late season figs have Fig Mosaic Virus (FMV).  Fig trees with FMV are not very productive, are slow to grow, and are not cold tolerant. As I have advised in previouis posts on this Cajun Fig Blog.......KEEP AWAY FROM FMV!!!  It does INDEED matter wether or not your fig tree has FMV or not.

You can learn much more about why that is by reading the following post on this Cajun Fig Blog. You will not find such credible information on those fig forums. Read this link and you will find out why.....

4) Remember that just because a fig cultivar is "rare", it has absolutely nothing to do with it's overall growing characteristics and performance in YOUR area.  Some of those "rare" cutlivars will not produce any figs at all in 99% of the country. That is because those varieties need the fig wasp for fertilization of one or more of its fig crops. Those fig wasps only live in isolated areas in California. Accordingly, those type fig cultivars will only do well in areas where the fig wasp lives.

5) Do not pay a  premium price for any fig starts listed on eBay that are still in their plastic rooting cups or in their styrofoam rooting cups.  Many of those being sold are not yet ready for 100% successful shipment and transplanting. Those type fig starts have not been sufficiently hardened off to full sunlight and heavy waterings. Some that are being sold are still very  vulnerable to excess moisture and can easily die if not handled properly. Premium prices should only be paid for plants that have been fully developed and not for those that are still in their plastic rooting cups (i.e those in 16 oz drinking cups with holes in bottom and sides).

6) Don't buy a young fig tree just because it has some young figs on it. Those figs will never ripen properly and are nothing but a severe energy drain on that young tree.  Energy drain is not good for the health of a young fig tree. Young fig trees can easily die from too much energy drain. The seller of that fig tree should have removed those figs before selling that tree to you if he were really interested in YOU THE CONSUMER and not just interested in his pocket book. 

If you dochoose to buy such a tree, pull every fig off that tree as soon as you receive it. I've written in greater detail about this in another Cajun Fig Blog post entitled:  "How to grow nice fig trees for productivity."  See following link for more information.:

Tips when buying fig cuttings:

1)  Don't pay premium prices for SUMMER  fig cuttings ( i.e.those taken from fig trees that are actively growing). Many of those being listed on eBay are taken by people who do not know what they are doing. They only want your money and could care less about your rooting success. A summer cutting which does not have at least one viable node on it will produce a few roots on the fig cutting; however, it CAN NEVER  produce a viable new fig tree for you. Do not waste your money on such nonsense.

Summer cuttings can be very easy to root when they are taken properly and at the right time. Watch for my future posts on this topic.

2) Not all fig cuttings are the same and have equal chances of producing a new fig start for you.  The time in which cuttings are taken during a fig tree's growing cycle does matter.  "Premium" cuttings (the very best) will be those taken right after a fig tree goes dormant AND before that mother tree is exposed to freezing temperatures. At that time of the tree's growing cycle all bud including end tip will be viable. Cuttings taken at the time have lots of energy reserves for good root production.

3)  Premium cuttings are those taken right directly from the mother tree before shipment to you. They will have not have been stored in refrigerator before shipment to you. Pay attention to those details in the eBay auctions. Not all refrigerated cuttings are stored properly and you should not pay a premium price for those.

3) Premium cuttings will have lots of nodes on them and they will be spaced close together. Cuttings that have nodes spaced far apart are not as good because they have much less energy reserves in them. And.......their probability of rooting successfully is much less.  Always choose those with more nodes on them.

4) Size matters.......premium cuttings are those that are about the diameter of a man's little finger.  They should be at least six to eight inches in length.  Don't pay a premium price for thin cuttings nor pay a premium for cuttings that are fat. Some eBay sellers call them logs.  Only buy those if they are cheap.

5) Good cuttings are those taken in during winter while the tree is still dormant.  Keep in mind that if the mother tree has been exposed to very cold temperature for any extended period of time that the BUD TIPS on those cuttings might be dead. In those instances, it is better to choose cuttings further within the tree branch than from the branch tip. I learned this the hard way...........

6) NEVER buy any dormant fig cutting which already has "white" new roots on it. Sellers are not doing you a favor when the try to stimulate root initials before they sell those cuttings to you. Don't waste your money on those type of cuttings. Those roots will die in the mail to you and will be a HUGE energy drain to that cuttings. You will be lucky if your are able to produce a new fig start from such cuttings.

7) On the other hand, I definitely would pay a premium price for a root shoot (or sprout) from a fig tree which has roots on them. Those roots have already been harden off and should do just fine when you plant them.

8) Don't buy any fig cuttings that have a bud or two that has begun to turn green unless they are very cheap. You want those buds to be still dormant when they arrive.

9)  "Tip" cuttings (i.e. those taken from the very tip end of a fig branch can be problematic when taken in late winter or early spring. Depending upon the weather conditions that tree saw before those cuttings were taken....those bud tips can already be dead.  If not removed before rooting these can produce major mold problems in rooting.  At those times, cuttings taken closer to the main trunk of the tree are better than tip cuttings.

10)  Do not buy cuttings where the buds are already starting to open up. Those buds are EXTREMELY vulnerable to severe mold problems during the rooting process.  This type of molding is caused by the Osmotic Pressure of water vapor "condesnation".  I've written extensively about this problem and mechanism before in other posts on the Internet. NO ONE  knew of this matter until I first reported it on the fig forums......not evel Al Tapla the self proclaimed fig expert on those forums.

11) Refrigerated cuttings can produce damaging condensation during storage if they are not handled and stored properly.  Any condensation that contacts opening buds will later cause rooting problems (mold) because of the bad affects of that Osmotic Pressure mechanism. For that reason, cuttings which have never been refrigerated are much superior to those which were stored under refrigeration.

Much much more on this later........

...........stay tuned for information of a unique type that you will not find anywhere else but on this Cajun Fig Blog.

Semper Fi-cus