Figs (ficus)

figs
Juicy ripe brown turkey figs

Fig Fact: Did you know that these are not only fruit, but also flowers? How can this be?

Some of these trees are self-pollinating and others require a very tiny wasp. It enters through a little hole (the mouth) at the end of the fruit. The Brown Turkey fig, which is featured in this blog is self-pollinating so you don’t have to worry about whether you’re going to eat a tiny insect inside of it.

The fruit actually encases hundreds of flowers deep within it’s core. This is why this fruit appears to be slightly hollow in the center.

See this website link for additional knowledge on this topic: Pollination of this delicious fruit

Some fig varieties have a special relationship to a specific non-stinging wasp species. This is how the relationships between figs and insects have evolved to live in harmony. At the bottom end of the fig, you can find a hole called a mouth. The fig wasp is a very tiny insect that pollinates the fig. It crawls in to mate with a male and then lay eggs, while it’s doing that it is able to push pollen deep into the fig to reach tiny flowers and their stamen. This is the way it can fertilize it’s seeds. I have yet to witness a ficus wasp and I’ve been harvesting figs for several years. Usually if one of these wasps have laid it’s eggs, the fruit will shrivel and fall to the ground very quickly.

Be sure to remove them from around your tree to help prevent fungus and insects from attacking your healthy figs.

Figs are very safe to eat, but like any fruit you pick from the garden, observe it carefully before you eat it. If you click on the link above, you’ll notice one of these species of wasp mentioned in the USDA Forest Service article.

Aphrodisiacs Filling Moist Sexy Figs

Aphrodisiacs of the Sexy Figgi

There are known aphrodisiacs in folklore that eating a raw fig while nude is an act of sexuality. My friend thinks that a fig is shaped like a scrotum. When one is cut in half, the pink interior is succulent in nature as the moist interior flesh of a woman’s pink vulva. Heavily seeded, figs were compared to the seeds of fertility.

Historically, figs are said to have been the evil fruit in the Garden of Eden and that this was the original seductive forbidden tropical fruit. Especially since Adam and Eve are wearing fig leaves over their private parts. Of course there are others who say that a fig tree is the first tree that the Jews began as their initial harvest.

Sex health nutrition

Nutritionists have discovered that figs are loaded with beneficial nutrients. They have fiber, vitamins A, E, K, B-complex, calcium, chlorogenic acid, copper, iron, manganese, antioxidants, potassium, flavonoids and selenium.

Chlorogenic acid helps to regulate or lower blood sugar levels. Calcium in the figs can help prevent osteoporosis. Phytonutrients in the figs help protect brain cells from free radicals, which can ward off tumors related to cancer. Potassium is a mineral that has been known to lower blood pressure and regulate heart rates. This nutrient can also reduce the chance of suffering from a stroke.

Vitamin B-Complex found in figs play an important role in the metabolism through carbohydrates, proteins and fats.

Homeopathic remedies

Most people avoid the fiber, but it turns out that the fiber may help someone maintain their attractive appearance over time along with a healthy diet. Eating enough of them can prevent or release constipation and consuming the leaves can treat ulcers.

Sexy waistline

Eating dried figs that are full of fiber will make you feel full often. This can lead to a slim figure. They will promote a healthy weight loss since it will take a long time to digest all the fiber.

Aphrodisiacs in fig leaves
Fig Leaf

Making tea from fig leaves is an effective remedy for treating bronchitis, shingles, genital warts, liver cirrhosis, high blood pressure, ulcers, eczema, psoriasis, vitiligo, and asthma.

Dry the leaves by sealing them in a glass container, then kept in a cupboard away from sunlight, while maintaining their green color. They should not turn brown. To take the easy route and for immediate use, I highly recommend that you try this Special Tea Loose Tea Sample Pack, Fig Formosa, 1 Ounce

People can apply the tree sap (latex) directly to the skin for treating genital warts or skin tumors.

Flavonoid antioxidants in the figs can protect the skin from free radicals that damage the skin. As an aphrodisiac, eating these on a regular basis, your skin may remain youthful and sexy.

Have you experienced figs as an aphrodisiac?

Spring cleaning at Figgi Riggi

Spring Cleanup: A good time to tidy things up a bit

This late Spring, you may have noticed a bit of silence from my posts lately. That’s because I’ve been working away in the invisible background cleaning up affiliate site links and improving some of the old pages with more interesting content. I was making improvements to the site title image at the top of the page. After I created it, I noticed that the 4 dots look like little figs.

I created a Facebook page and made graphics for that too. Here’s one of those images.

An image made for the Facebook page.

 

 

 

 

 

At some point, I intend to edit all of the images on the site with interesting title watermarks like this Ants photo seen here.

Garden Ants
Garden Ants with interesting watermark.

Education and our curiosity to learn

Meanwhile, I am focusing on what my next major topic will become. One that will be educational to my curious readers. I was once a college instructor, so I do like to educate. With that in mind, I’d like to create an introductory tutorial on using a free open-source application called InkScape. It’s available for Linux, Windows and Apple OS’s. This will take time to create, so bare with me on this plan. This will be a side project while I write other interesting topics.

Money that makes the world go ’round

I’d also like to share some tidbits about income that I plan to receive from internet-related side jobs. It’s an interesting topic and one that my readers can utilize if they too want to gain some extra cash. So, this week I’ll create a budget and share my gains. Besides, every blog is rooted in money at some point.

Things that might get in the way of some progress this week is: a friend who’s struggling with cancer who I intend to visit sometime soon. I’ve also decided to get back in shape at the gym. The gym helps to keep my eyes healthy by being a healthy distraction from the computer screens.

Peeper

I will make short term goals and while using a sense of transparency, I’ll post them in here. Why would I do such a thing? Well, isn’t everyone a bit of a “peeping Tom” by instinct? If not, then I guess you’ll become one while following my blog posts. 🙂

Cancer-free weed killer

Spring has sprung and along came the heavy rain showers. You’ve recovered from cancer and go for a walk through your yard to see all the beautiful plants flourishing, then you spot your least favorite plants…

WEEDS!!!

No, not marijuana unless you were intending to grow it.

Weeds are everywhere thanks to the wonderful rain. Some people like to leave them alone, but others are ready to do anything they can to get rid of them. You can dig them up or use RoundUp, but why risk your health?

Cancer-free weed killer is the right choice.

Here’s how you can make your own and it’s quite simple.

Mix all of these safe ingredients together inside the pump sprayer and be sure that the salt completely dissolves. On a calm day without wind, pump the solution and spray it on the leaves of the weeds. This should only be done on a warm sunny day without rain in the forecast for at least 2-3 days. Within 24 hrs you should see immediate results. A second application might be needed if you have very big weeds. I used this on dandelion weeds and poison ivy revealing incredible effectiveness. If you perform this on a windy day, the spray might land on your favorite plants

1 Gal. Pump Sprayer
1 Gal. Pump Sprayer
Before and after
Weeds before and after applying killing spray

How does this work?

The 5% white vinegar is just enough acidity to kill the plant although I highly recommend this 30% Pure Vinegar – Home&Garden (1 Gallon) which is much better. The dish detergent keeps the vinegar from draining off of the leaves too quickly, which helps to permeate the cell structure. The salt gets onto the soil and kills the weed for good. Be careful though. The salt in the soil might prevent other plants from growing, although rain will help dilute the soil.

Optional: dig up the roots of the weed once it’s dead. Wear Playtex Gloves Living Premium Protection, Large 1 Pair if it’s poison ivy roots, because the poisonous oils may remain on the vine even if it’s dead.

Of course, if you’d rather use a spray that has immediate results and you don’t care if you get cancer or poison your soil, then go ahead and get some Roundup For Lawns RTU Wand (Northern) – 1.33 Gallon
Read more

Home Plate for Figgi Riggi

Home Sweet Home

Figgi Riggi moves to a unique home

Because there are so many visitors noticing the Figgi Riggi blog, I have decided to move Figgi Riggi. It was changed from figgiriggi.wordpress.com to it’s own unique domain home at figgiriggi.com. Unfortunately, the transfer may have disrupted some pages that people had been linking to throughout the web. I was not able to preserve the original site structure of those pages and I promise that I will not change the new structure. If you were someone who had posted links to my posts on other blogs, then feel free to update the links in those locations. There is certainly more flexibility than I had before and I recommend that if you have a blog that you do the same thing, but if you are unsure I’ll show you how.

I made several changes to the look of this site to make it more interesting and better organized. It is also easier to share my blog postings on social media. Soon, I will begin posting interesting topics on a regular basis. Upcoming tutorials on setting up a blog, choosing a hosting service, using the best themes, finding beautiful fonts and how to monetize your blog. Topics in the works include: my latest tools, strange figs, greenhouses, cancer-free weed killer spray, and natural indoor pest removal. I may later include tutorials for new fig tree gardeners in USDA zone 7A or perhaps an online classroom experience.

Recent technical changes for this new home

A real emailing service called MailChimp that is recognized world-wide and does not spew out spam like a bursting volcano. I know, I hate that spam just as much as you do. This service has a strict anti-spam policy that I like. I have chosen not to include images in the emails that you receive, because sometimes it simply opens quickly and doesn’t eat up your email storage. Continuing with the direction that my fig hobby began, this is going to be a natural journey and I’m looking forward to sharing it with you.

Spread the love of this beautiful home

If you like my postings, then feel free to use the new sharing buttons found below and also please leave a comment, because I like the interaction and helping you with troubleshooting your gardening tree problems.

Figgi Riggi new home
Young Brown Turkey figs growing early in the season.

Rabbit Protection

Rabbit protection, a necessity

Sometimes when you do all that you can for protection of your fig trees from natural forces, nature and a rabbit will prevail somehow.

This winter was a rather harsh one. Snow was protection over the ground for over a month with several snow storms and frozen temperatures. Most winters in New Jersey have periods of snowfall where the snow melts completely between storms, but not this year. The result is that the wild rabbits in the area couldn’t feast on their usual meals such as grass, ornamental plants and bushes. It turns out that when their normal food sources are eliminated, they go after tree bark. But not any ordinary tree. They go after the sweet stuff, such as fig tree bark. Today, I looked out the window and noticed a white coloration on my trees as though the bark had been scraped off.

Shaved fig tree bark eaten by rabbits
Shaved fig tree bark eaten by rabbits

So, I figured OK, some animal or bug has come in contact with my trees. I mixed up some whitewash (a 50/50 mix with water) and trudged through the deep snow to get to the trees. Once I reached them I saw extensive damage to the bark and evidence of rabbit droppings surrounding the trees. The rabbits chewed away at the smaller branches before zeroing in on the tough bark surrounding the main tree trunk. Some branches had the bark completely stripped clean.

Eaten fig tree with rabbit scat close to the tree
Eaten fig tree with rabbit scat close to the tree

I went ahead and painted all the affected areas to help prevent rot and insects while the weather warms up. It would be a miracle if the affected branches survive for the Spring season.

Gone are the days of a free-range tree

So, how would I protect the trees in the future? Since the affects of winter are generally unpredictable, I’d say that a way to protect the trees from future onslaughts from rabbits is to wrap the base of the tree with foil up to about 2-3 feet off the ground. I’m sure that other materials could be used such as burlap encased in plastic or simply surround the tree with 24 x 25 Poultry Netting Mesh 1 inch Openings 20 gauge Galvanized Fence Wire Gutter Guards Chicken Run Rabbit Fencing to Keep Out Racoons Gophor Skunks Opposums with a 2 foot radius that is at least 2-3 ft high. The wire is fastened together with MIDWEST AIR TECH/IMPORT 901154A 4′ LD U Style Fence Post. Rabbits can stand pretty tall when they get up on those hind legs.

Chicken wire protection from rabbits that works
Chicken wire protection from rabbits that works

After installing this chicken wire fencing, this problem never reproduced itself. Since then, this fencing material has been set in place because it also keeps the landscapers from whacking the tree with their weed whackers.

Life Emerges From Death

This tree was so badly damaged from the rabbits, that it didn’t survive. When the tree died, I cut down the trunk to a couple of inches from the ground and left the fencing in place with weeds growing where the tree was. Two years later, a fig tree began to grow from the original root system. Let this be a lesson learned that when a fig tree appears to be dead, the root system might be very much alive.

Young fig tree emerging from the roots
Young fig tree emerging from the roots
A young fig tree growing in cleared area
A young fig tree growing in cleared area

Killing Freeze

What is a killing freeze (hard freeze)?

A killing freeze is when temperatures fall to or below 28ºF for at least a week. Most trees can survive brief periods of 32ºF. The killing freeze weather condition can kill a young fig tree if not protected. You can’t always make the best judgement when a freak cold blast comes down from Canada.

When autumn emerges, a tree will gradually drop it’s sap down to the base of the tree to help protect the branches from the Winter season, while it remains dormant. The problem that usually occurs is an early Spring during the month of March. At this moment, the weather warms up and the tree begins to leaf out as the sap returns to the branches.

Fig tree leafing out as Spring returns avoids killing freeze
Fig tree leafing out as Spring returns avoids killing freeze

As the Spring season emerges, the climate goes through a thawing/freeze period. Sometimes when the month of April approaches, a killing freeze could drop down suddenly. So, it can be difficult to judge when to unwrap your young tree.

Killing freeze from experience

I once had a situation in Connecticut where I had a 3 year old tree that suffered from a killing freeze in the month of April. All the branches died off down to the trunk of the tree, but because it had a very deep tap root, it sprung back to life in June where the new trunk system grew to 6 feet in 3 weeks. The following Fall, I wrapped the tree to protect the new growth. If you have a similar situation with a shallow tap root, there’s less of a chance that your young tree will survive. If you want to learn more about wrapping your tree for Winter storage, then visit my Outside Living page and see suggestion number 4 on Winterizing.

Something is eating my figs

Figs are a popular sweet treat in nature for both humans and the sneakiest creatures

 

Figs are attacked by all sorts of critters and they do it ferociously as if the end of the world has come. They can drain the juices from the figs within a day or two. Although there is one thing that I noticed when hurricanes come to the region. The day afterward, the flies come. I don’t understand it, but the fruit begins to rot very quickly and this attracts the flies. Here are examples of the most common creatures that I’ve personally come across through observation.

Woodpeckers

Are probably the most damaging of all. They’ll just sit there pecking away, leaving holes in the figs. I’m not sure if they’re pecking at the insects or simply have a “sweet tooth”. I believe it’s the latter. If you have a woodpecker problem, I suggest you either run outside as fast as possible to get the ripe figs before the birds do, stand on guard with a BB gun, or simply surround your tree with a bird net. My choice would be the net.

White faced hornet

Sometimes known as the bald faced hornet. Workers arrive to eat the pulp inside the fig. They’ll stand their ground, so if you see a ripe fig next to their fig, it’s best to leave it alone until they leave. These hornets are peaceful creatures if you leave them alone. They’ll know you’re there if you’re watching them, but they won’t attack you like a wasp might. All they want to do is eat. If you disturb them, they’ll come and attack you with their nasty stinger leaving a most painful injection of venom.

Fig Wasps

These insects are not necessarily regarded as a pest, although their actions may cause the fig to ripen very quickly and the fig will lose its appeal. Before you know it, the fig will have dropped to the ground ready to germinate. Some figs require such a creature to pollinate the flowers deep inside.

Fruit flies

Fruit flies just appear out of nowhere and are always around. House flies seem to appear after a rain storm when some of the figs quickly begin to rot. Hurricanes are known to quickly rot your figs nearly overnight. The next day, the figs will be covered in flies. Occasionally, you might find a male mosquito drinking the nectar, while they pierce the skin of the fig. I’m not particularly excited about the fact that I’m feeding mosquitoes.

Some people claim that squirrels and raccoons eat the figs, but I have yet to see them actually attack the fig trees.

If you see a spiderweb on your tree, keep it there. You’ll be thankful that such a predator has found the perfect place to hang their trap. Ladybugs are also helpful to help control the pests.

USDA Gardening Zones

Which USDA gardening zone am I in?

The USDA has set up an essential guide for gardeners which helps them determine if their plants or fruit trees will grow in their climate. This helps a gardener choose whether they want to go through the trouble of planting a rare plant species in their region, whether outdoors, in a pot or a greenhouse. There are many fig tree varieties and some grow better in certain areas than others. The USDA zones range from 1a-13b and in the Northeast USA, you will find a range from 3b-7b. Fig trees in general can grow very easily without much care in zones 5 and above. This resource at plantlust.com indicates that Brown Turkey fig trees grow best in zones from 6a-9b.

This blog features steps on how to grow a Brown Turkey fig tree in zone 7a. It is recommended that anyone living in 4 and lower should grow their fig trees in pots or in a greenhouse and be protected from Winter temperatures that dip below 20 degrees F.

Determine which zone you live in

Here is a Zone Map

USDA half zones complete with a legend
USDA half zones complete with a legend
The zones that I am in
The zones that I am in

Pruning Roots

Pruning the roots once every 2-3 years

When pruning the roots of your potted fig trees, you must perform this once every 2-3 years. Otherwise the tree might experience a stunted growth and cause stress to the tree. It’s a good idea to prune your tree in early spring, just before the tree begins to leaf out. If you wait later in the season to prune, the tree will feel shock and the leaves will wilt for several days.

Of course, you can plan to transfer the tree into a larger pot. Although this can make it difficult to move the tree around and it can grow to enormous proportions. So, pruning is the best option if you plan to return the tree to the pot that you love so much.

Below are photographic examples showing the stages of root pruning.

 

  • This fig tree that has been removed from it’s pot. You will notice the roots that were pressed up against the lining of the pot giving the soil a distinctive shape as you can see here.
Roots ready for pruning
Roots ready for pruning

 

  • Roots with the old soil removed, prior to pruning. It is important to loosen the roots just like you do when you want messy hair.
Roots without soil, ready to be snipped
Roots without soil, ready to be snipped

 

  • This photo shows how the roots look after pruning. It looks like a bad hair day or if your hair gets wet after you get a perm.
The main roots have been pruned.
The main roots have been pruned.

 

Replace the grow medium

At this point, it is recommended that you either replace the grow medium or re-use your existing long-term conifer bark-based medium until the next time you prune the roots.

Homemade Grow Medium

Homemade conifer grow mediums

Homemade grow medium in your pots doesn’t have to be a laborious activity, therefore this might be more enjoyable if the nutrients in the medium could last more than 2 years.

After doing some research, I came across a conifer bark-based medium mix that will last up to 3 years.

5:1:1 mix of pine bark:humus:perlite

Mixing these ingredients together into a Liberty Mountain White Pail with Handle (5-Gallon) to mix this grow medium mixture by hand or with Playtex Gloves, Large 1 Pair if your hands are sensitive.

Homemade conifer bark-based grow medium ingredients
Homemade conifer bark-based grow medium ingredients

Humus based mediums

Humus based soils break down quickly – within a single growing season. When you use them, you have to hope the container size and plant mass is enough to compensate for the collapse toward the end of summer. Hopefully, your roots have spread throughout the container and the planting has matured. This will show that the plant is able to use the water from compacted soils quickly enough to avoid root rot. Rootings should be healthy enough that they actually become a part of the structure of the soil and function as aids to the soils ability to hold air. For maximum vitality when using these soils, plants should be bare-rooted every year.

It is possible to use peat, but harvesting it has been outlawed due to a near extinction. I don’t recommend using it, since it takes millions of years for the Earth to create this delicate material in the peat bogs and just a few years to run it toward extinction.

Conifer bark-based mediums

Homemade conifer bark-based mediums break down at a rate around 1/4 that of humus soils. Gardeners can guarantee that the roots will become a part of the soil structure without much concern for root rot. This will ensure that your irrigation practices are reasonable. 5:1:1 mix of pine bark:humus:perlite is a good example of this type of medium. People using it with very good results. In terms of fertilizing the medium, there is literally no need to add fertilizer to this mix. Perlite and humus may contain a small amounts of fertilizer, so researching your ingredients to see find fertilizer is a good practice.

You should expect at least 2 years of service from homemade soils, as opposed to 1 from those based on humus. Your trees should have some attention paid to their roots every two(2) years – 3 years maximum. “Servicing” requires you to prune the roots. You will be able to prune your roots twice (once every 2 years) with this type of medium.

Below shows an example of how a tree looked after adding this conifer bark-based grow medium.

Fig tree with homemade conifer bark-based grow medium
Fig tree with homemade conifer bark-based grow medium