Monday, August 31, 2015

Pumpkin Final Update. Weigh ins!


Final Pumpkin update of my big max pumpkin.  I purchased these seeds, hoping that I would be able to get some pumpkins thta weigh more than I do! But looks like it topped out after hitting about 35lbs.

I did purchase some "legit" giant pumpkins from the fair but for some reason they never sprouted. Next year I will aim to hit 100lbs.

I have to admit that it is a very handsome looking pumpkin. We are now ready for halloween!

A sweet discovery in my neighborhood. Osborn Prolific

Since the beginning of summer I've driven by this beautiful fig tree in my neighborhood almost everyday. Each time I wonder about the variety that it might be. It certainly was not a desert king which we have an abundance of here in Seattle. It did not have the leaves like a brunswick.  The leaves were also not thick like the italian honey. So I waited patiently to see if and when the fruit would ripen. It's very difficult to tell a fig variety from the leaves alone.

The tree looked so healthy and lush. Probably because it was planted in the best possibly place you can put a fig tree. Above a large rock wall, southside, and in front of the house's south wall where it gets heat from the sun and the rediated heat of the house. Figs love their roots to be somewhat restricted, so growing on top of the rock wall is more than ideal for it. For some reason or another restricting the roots helps it to set more fruit.

The other day after a strong rain I noticed that the figs were ripening. It just so happened that it was the same day I was getting a visit from 2 of my fig forum friends Slavi and Kiwibob. After a tour of my fig collection, I took them for a short field trip to visit the neighborhood tree and meet the owner.  His name is Phil.

We introduced ourselves to Phil. Phil is great guy & super friendly. While telling us about the tree he was nimble enough to climb into it and pick us some ripe fruits to eat. He told us that he had no idea what variety the tree was and that it had been at the house since before they even moved in 12 yrs ago.

Turns out the the tree had been there since 1970s. They had cut it down a few times but the sucker growth was extremely persistent and they let it grow to 3 main trunks.

My initial guess was that it was a Brown Turkey but after cutting into the fruit, the interior was honey colored vs red violet.

The taste was fluffy and midly sweet. Very meaty with little seed crunch. I found it to be delicious! It was not figgy like the Gene's Vashon  but very enjoyable. The more figs I get to taste, the more I lean to meaty fluffy figs than the overly ripe, jammy and sweet figs.

Upon closing our conversation with Phil, he was also kind enough to let us have a few root suckers to bring home. I can't wait to grow my own Osborn. The funny thing is it's been on my wishlist all year! Thanks Phil I'm a happy man! The favor will not go unreturned.

This our portrait in front of the beautifully tree.

Me, Kiwibob, Phil, and Slavi

after some further research this could be a Beall.

Fig Tasting Time! Tacoma Violet & Malta Black

It's the end of August and the time for fig ripening is upon us. My brother and I purchased 4 great plants from our friend David who happens to live in the same city as us.

Vince received the Tacoma Violet & Malta Black, while I got the Smith and JH Adriatic figs. His Malta and Tacoma figs have begun to ripen all of the sudden and the fruits look so good!

Both of these plants are cold hardy and are endorsed by Herman on figs4fun to be the best plants to be planted just about anywhere in the united states. They can die down to the base and come back every year still bearing an abundant amount of fruit!

Tacoma Violet

Malta Black, Osborne Prolific, Takoma Violet

Look at that beautiful red interior and meaty white pulp. It has a strong berry taste with a tight eye and perfect sweetness!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Fig of the Week. #7 Ronde De Bordeaux

Fig of the Week. Ronde De Bordeaux AKA Early Round Of Bordeaux | Black Of Bordeaux | ronde de bordeau | Pastiliere | Hirta du Japon

Hardiness: Survives outdoors in Seattle
Type: bifere - but a week breba crop
Fruit Ripens: Early September
Fruit Color: Black with red interior
Taste: Very good sweet and berry tones
Fruit Weight: 30grams
Leaf Structure: 3 main pointy finger lobes

If you know about figs, you have to know that the Ronde De Bordeaux fig is the staple of any fig collection. A french fig, aptly named means Black and Round. It's a cold hardy plant that can survive in zone 6. Extremely productive!

A bifere fig which bears a light breba crop and main crop that ripens late August through the month of Sept. The figs top out at 40G per fig and has a slightly open eye. They bear well to the rain and humidity, which makes it almost a perfect in taste, vigor and it's resistance to cold.

The leaves are beautiful and finger like.

This is just one branch from Slavi's tree. Photo taken at the beginning of August. There must be over 20 something fruits on there.

Ronde de Bordeaux yields figs with a shiny black skin and deep red flesh with a wonderfully rich flavor. Early, sweet and so tasty.

If you only had to keep 5 figs, this has to be part of your collection.I have 4 of these guys currently growing in my collection.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Fig of the week.#8 Unkown Lake Spur Arkansas fig

It's amazing the power of figs. It's amazing how it can capture your imagination, and the spell it can cast over it's admirers. If it wanted to, it can travel clear across the world.  That's because figs are so easy to transport.  You never have to leave it behind. A simple cutting can make it's way to just about anywhere in the world.

How can something so good grow so easily? I've seen it grown in water, sand, beaches, and cracks in the side walk.  Usually rare gems come at a high cost. I think the allure of figs is that it is a gem that makes itself available to all of us.

I too find myself completely enchanted by this mystical fruit. Maybe it's because figs have a history almost as long as our civilized society. In an article in the June 2, 2006 issue of Science magazine, a research team led by Mordechai Kislev at Bar-Ilan University in Israel reports evidence for parthenocarpic figs from six sites in the greater Mediterranean Sea region dated between 11,700 and 10,500 years ago.

Or the fact that there are thousands of varieties figs. Some better than others. Some more rare than others, and some more strange than others (like the D'all osso fig). As a collector, it's easy to become obsessed with attaining them all (well at least the tasty ones).

I think for this season I've collected almost everything on my wishlist. However for some reason or another my wishlist seems to never shrink. LOL. It's my yearning to always want more. I've ordered plants from all over the US. Including some from Europe. I also canvas my towns looking for figs. I also go online to read about others who do the same.

 So whether I'm out around the city fig hunting or online fig hunting. I get truly excited when something mysterious and unknown comes about.

Which brings me to the Lake Spur unknown fig. I read about it from a forum member off of figs4fun named Charlie. He discovered it at a house near Lake Spur in Arkansas and took some cuttings to which he generously shared with many forums. The fruit is a dark green and the interior looks juicy and sweet. I can't wait to grow this beauty.

Photos originally from Charlie.

My new Lake Spur known fig, just unpackaged and sitting on my desk.

Here's the plant in it's new home.

This is a video about the Lake Spur fig, from another member who originally received a cutting from Charlie.

Another Big day of fig arrivals!

Another happy day from the post man! I love getting these types of packages. I believe i may have an addiction.

This is the biggest one day of receiving yet for me. I hope that I am done for the year. I may have amassed more in one season than most do in a lifetime of buying figs.

Oh well it makes me happy and it's the only thing I splurge on.

Italian 258 - This fig is suppose to be as good as Mlack Madeira without all the problems! Can't wait to taste the fruit!

Unknown Lake Spur Fig from Arkansas - I read about this unknown found fig in Arkansas and contacted Charlie and we made a trade for some of my varieties. Thanks for the generosity Charlie

LSU Champagne - I was bidding for ORourke, lost that auction and out of anger bought the next closest variety. lol

Italian Black - Not too much info on this fig, the leaves do remind of a NERO600

Figo Preto - Another Amazing fig to add to the collection. The taste is right up there with black madeira!!

Monday, August 24, 2015

New method for rooting cuttings - The Tunnel Method

I noticed that my Oreo cookie method was still retaining a bit more water than I would like. The soil layer would rot the cutting where it made contact on some of the cuttings.

So I thought about it and came up with doing a tunneling method instead. In this method, you would have the cutting in the center, then a layer of perlite, then a layer of soil on the outer ring. This way would ensure that only the perlite would make contact with the wood cutting. It would create an airy moist layer for the cutting to root through. As the roots sprout it will eventually reach the soil layer to feed from.

I took a 20 oz cup pre drilled with holes and used a pvc pipe to create the cavity for the perlite and cutting. 

With the pipe in place I moistened the soil so that it would not crumble into the hole I made once the pipe was removed.

Add the cutting to the center of the hole. Be sure that there's a gap between the cutting and the soil. User perlite to fill in between the gap until it reaches the top.
Mist and place into your humidity bin. Don't forget to mark the variety and date. 

8/24/15 Gene's Vashon Cutting.

Update 10/08/15
The cutting eventually died. Probably my own fault from over watering. Cross this off your list of rooting methods. 

{This Experiment failed}

If you love figs as much as I do don't forget to join my fig addiction group
Fig Addiction

Tomatoes - Hydroponic vs Traditional Garden Bed Comparison

It doesn't look like I'll ever have to buy another tomato plant again. Mine are all self seeding and since they've been mixed in with the compost they've also made it into just about every garden pot I have around the yard.

I have 3 garden beds and about 100 plant pots. They've made it into about 15% of them.

It's the last week of August and most have been ripening since the beginning of the month. I finally got down to picking them and this was what I harvested. There was probably about 15+ lbs.

This is from one Hydroponically grown tomato plant.

These are from 3 10x4 ft garden beds and a few planters.

It's obvious that growing Hydroponically is the way to go. The plant is just so much more productive! and ultimately you end up using less energy, water and other resources.

You can also avoid the hungry mouths of slugs!

The sungolds are my favorite from this season. They are like eating sweet grapes. It's so delicious! I will have to do a couple of hydroponic sungolds next year.

My Hydroponic setup was relatively simple. I used the deep water culture method with a 5inch net pot, tub, water soluble fertilizer from Amazon, and an air pump with an airstone.

What to do with all these tomatoes? dehydrate them of course.

Olympian & Brown Turkey fig Update

I buried my Olympian fig purchased from a Federal Way Nursery directly into one of my raised beds. I don't think it will be a permanent location. Just looking to give it a extra boost of growth.

When I bought the plant on 6/1/15 it had no fruits whatsoever. I pinched the top about a month ago and then this happened. Blame! it was like a burst of fruit growth.

My 2nd year brown turkey that I purchased as cuttings has been pushing out some serious fruit growth as well. I remember buying 25 cuttings. I think I ended up with 5 successful cuttings. At the time I was just using the baggy method with paper towels. They took forever root and most rotted away. My success rate was way lower back then.

 I gave 2 to my mother in law and 1 to my sister. So I still have these 2 plants in 5 gallon pots. The Plants are relatively productive and I can't wait to taste my first fruit from them.

Fig Cuttings update

Fig Cuttings update:

Now that the weather has cooled off a bit, the temperatures are finally within safe ranges of keeping my newly leafed out cuttings outdoors. Night time ranges in the 50s and the Day time is about mid to high 70s.  There's dew in the mornings so I know that the humidity is at a good range for them.

They spend their time on my Deck where there is about 2 hrs of actually sun exposure. The rest of the time they get a bit of morning sun and deep shade.

I spent most of the weekend repotting my early - mid July cuttings to 1 gallon pots. All of these are under 2 months old.

Among the mess of cups and cuttings I have LSU Gold, MVSB, Gilette, Desert King, Brown Turkey, Sals EL, Vashon Violet, Dalmatie, Brunswick, Black Madeira, and some unknown Seattle trees.

Almost none of these are tip cuttings and all take in July. I do not think it makes much difference if the cuttings are taken as dormant or active growing plants. The attributes to a Good cutting that will have a higher chance of success are as follows:

1. the wood is lignified as brown wood
2. No green tip cuttings. Tip cuttings from dormant plants will grow well because they are brown wood, not summer cuttings though
3. The girth of the branch should be thicker than a pencil
4. More than 3 nodes