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. 🙂

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.

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

Mixing these ingredients together into a 5 Gal. Bucket (Pail) to mix this grow medium mixture by hand or with Playtex Gloves 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

Rooting From Summer Cuttings

Rooting from summer cuttings is very simple with this instruction

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Rooting Fig Tree Success
This fig tree was successfully grown from a summer cutting.

Rooting with this method has close similarities to rooting from winter cuttings. It’s essentially the same, however it requires complex tools found in the Rooting Materials post. Materials required are in the root starter kit as mentioned in the page. (Humidity Dome, Plug Tray, Growing Tray, Rooting Hormone and Seeding Heat Mat, sold separately).

Follow these 7 easy steps

  1. Go to your existing fig tree and look for a fresh straight bark branch about 6 inches long. It should be about the thickness of a pencil. If you don’t include this, you will notice that the green end will rot. Be sure to remove the leaves.
  2. Wrap the cut ends with damp paper towels, seal in a plastic bag (I use ziploc bags) and place in the refrigerator for 2 weeks. This will put the cutting into a normal dormant mode, making it behave as if it’s Winter.
  3. Prepare your plug tray by filling the plugs (holes) with grow medium. Add water and let it drain in into the growing tray under it.
  4. Prepare the insertion of the cutting by first setting the hole with a pencil.
    Poking the hole with a pencil
    hole example from the rooting from winter cuttings instruction
  5. Apply rooting hormone onto the cut end of the clipping. You can use your fingers or a small brush to apply the rooting compound. Slide it into the hole. Pinch the bottom of the plug tray to press the soil against the end of the clipping.
  6. Place the plug tray into a growing tray. Cover this with a humidity dome.
  7. Place the entire hot house onto an insulated table (preferably wood). To maintain the grow medium temperature at 70F, insert the seeding heat mat under between the terrarium and the table and plug it into an outlet. Check the temperature periodically. If it goes over 70F, unplug it. Move this entire unit into a shaded area, in a greenhouse or near a window in your home. If it’s inside a greenhouse, you might not need the seeding heat mat.

Dryness is not your friend. Let’s add moisture.

Lift up one end of the humidity dome and using your spray bottle, mist a spray of water inside to get it super steamy inside. You will need to do this everyday. Check on this daily.

The tree above that is featured in this section in the orange pot succeeded as one out of 18 cuttings that I tried this out on.

Please tell me your results in this process in the comments section. Did you have success? Did you need to modify these instructions to reach a better outcome?

General Care

General Care for your fig tree

General Care: How to know if your environment is suitable for growing a fig tree? Before you decide, check to see if you can get a minimum of 6 hrs sunlight for your tree. Once you’ve confirmed this, get a fig tree! Although it’s not so simple. Find out which USDA zone you are in and then determine which variety will grow in your climate.

There are times when you just want to simply know how to take care of your fig tree. Your tree is either grown from a pot or outside.

How you grow it depends on your climate. If you live in an environment where the temperatures reach extreme cold conditions in the Winter season such as in New Hampshire, upper portions of upstate New York or even in Canada. In this case, you should consider growing your tree in a pot. Growing it in a pot means that you take it indoors to a cool dark room during the cold Winter months while the tree sits dormant like a grizzly bear sleeping in its den. For warmer climates such as in New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania or Maryland you can certainly transplant your tree out in your yard. For further instructions, look under Potted Fig Trees and Outside Living.

The 200-hour freeze zone, brr…

In the 200-hour freeze zone, figs will grow once for the entire season and harvest time is around September. Brown Turkey figs are ripe when they turn a purple color. Also, when ripe, they are soft to the touch and you can pop them off of the branch with little effort. Try one and then you can judge with your mouth on whether it’s ripe enough. Eating too many figs can behave like a laxative. Another way to tell when to pick is when the fig begins to form slight cracks in the skin. Read Harvesting Figs for more info.

    • When you prune, you can save a 6 – 12 inch cutting and then grow a new fig tree. There are different ways to grow roots from cuttings or branches. See Rooting for more info.
      general care: cutting
      Tall cutting

 

WARNING:

Under-watering, can cause the figs to shrivel up and fall off. Also, Stink Bugs and some birds love to eat figs. Gophers love to eat fig tree roots.