Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Fig of the week. #13 Lattarula

Fig of the week. Lattarula AKA Italian Honey | Marseilles

Hardiness: Survives the Seattle Winter
Type: Bifere
Fruit Ripens: July and Mid Sept
Fruit Color: Green with Dark Spots and honey colored interior
Taste: Sweet and has nice flavor
Fruit Weight: 25grams

Another great fig for the PNW's cool summer and mild winters. Also known as the Italian honey, this fig bears two crops and works well for areas with a short season. Once mature this fig will produce a ton of figs over 2-3 months.

This fig adapts well to container growing, as it maxes out at 8-10ft. Be careful when winter pruning to not kill off all your breba branches.

Main crop ripens in Mid September.
Greenish fig with dark spots that appear with ripeness
Amber flesh
Honey sweet with slight berry tones
Thin skin
Best to harvest when it's overly ripe


Wood Chips!

Wood Chips are great! It's a win win situation for everyone involved. The person who has the tree cut down is happier to get their view back or a dangerous tree removed. The tree removal guy makes money from the service and doesn't have to pay a dumb fee and lastly the person accepting the wood chips ie "me" gets free wood chips! And of course the garden and soil benefits greatly from getting the decomposing wood chips.

Lucky for me I had a buddy that remember that I wanted some wood chips. It just so happened that his neighbor just had a tree removed last week. And instead of dumping it he asked if I wanted it. Of course I said yes! That's just the universe listening to my wishes. =) So he drops of a trailer full on my drive way. 

With help from my highschool nephew it took about 3hrs to move about 6 yards of wood chips around my garden beds. I first lined the area with cardboard. I did not want to use weed blocker because I eventually wanted the card board to decompose into the ground and eventually plant in the area. My lower back is still sore from moving and hauling the material but I'm happy with the results.

My first ripe Longue D'aout fig

I've been looking forward to this fig ever since I first learned about it earlier this year. Look at how gorgeous this fruit looks! Beautiful color with a nice size to it. This particular plant I received from my friend Slavi. He gets credit for forming such a master piece of a plant.

It's been growing in a large pond pot about 5 gallons in size. I may only get this one fruit since the others do not look like it will ripen in time before the frosts. Unless by some miracle they decide to ripen in the next week or two. The temperatures here in early Oct are still hitting mid 70s.

However I'm very happy about it. It's a beautiful plant that produces large and yummy fruit. The taste is very melony, sort of like if you eat a very ripe honey dew with light smear of strawberry jam on it.

This is a must have for any collector.

 The size compared to a petite negra

Friday, September 25, 2015

September Fig Tasting Video

I'm loving September! A fraction of my figs are ripening and I get to enjoy the fruits of my labor. I picked a Verte, Petite Negra, and Mystery White Kadota today.

The Verte was amazing. It tasted like strawberry jelly. Definitely a keeper.

Petite Negra was the size of a grape. Very tasty but you need to have a handful of these to be satisfied

White Kadota or what I think is the white Kadota is the worse fig I've ever tasted. So insipid and flavorless. YUCK!

Watch the Video Below.

Fig of the week. #12 Grantham's Royal

Grantham's Royal AKA| Gris de Tarrascon

History on the tree:

"It was grown in Cupertino, CA. not far from Yamagami's Nursery. The parents of Martin Grantham (an avid and accomplished plantsmen (who had worked at the UC Berkeley Botanic Gardens for a while) were given cuttings of the tree as a wedding gift over 75 years ago from a tree growing in Santa Cruz Ca. It has enormous breba figs on the tree. Typically each terminal branch had only 1 to 3 figs, at most, but the quality and size was very impressive. It appears to match the description of Drap D'Or a rather famous french fig. One would need a rather large tree in order to make a decent fig jam from the fruit. The name Grantham's Royal was my way of recognizing the owners and the apparent similarity to Royal Vineyard (Drap D'Or). (1006) The Breba Crop is 3X as large [as the main crop] and is more pyriform with more brown, green and purple streaks."

This is supposedly the Desert King Killer. It grows 2 crops and is suppose to taste even better than our beloved DK. I can't wait to get some ripe from it this year. Luckily for me I obtained mine from my good friend Slavi.

This is a breba only fig, unfortunately my 2 plants have not been reliable breba producers.  I've only seen the main crop and those just wither and dies every year without the fig wasp.

Photo Above courtesy of Paully22 from figs4fun.

It has been known to grow inground in BC Canada. So it should do great here in Seattle.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Fig of the Week. #11 Gene's Vashon

Fig of the Week. Gene's Vashon (Not to be confused with the Vashon Violet that's a brunswick)

Hardiness: Grows Outdoors unprotected in Seattle Zone 7B
Type: Bifere
Fruit Ripens: July and Late September here
Fruit Color: Maroon yellow with a dark red and amber interior
Taste: Very figgy, sweet with nice seed crunch
Fruit Weight: 50grams
Leaf Structure: 3 main lobes and cankles
Note: Slow to root often takes month to get good roots

So the name Gene's Vashon is very local to the Seattle Area. It is quiet little island in the Puget sound. I believe Clover Farms grows this fig there. However based on the leaves and the look of the fruit it reminds a lot of the English brown turkey. It could be a close cousin.

This has got be one of the coolest looking figs I've encountered. The elongated yellow neck and the robust body of the fig reminds me very much of a Longue D'auot, but it is clearly not. I have a couple of LDA's and none of the fruit have ripened on it.

I'm ecstatic that it grows outdoors here in Seattle without any protection whatsoever. The fruit ripens in Mid July and thru the end of August. It appears to be a bifere, with only one 2 crops. The man crop if given enough time should ripen in Oct.

The taste is very delicious. BIG and Super rich with a figgy taste that is not overly sweet like some of the honey figs. The seeds give it a nice crunch as you eat it. I really enjoy eating this fig.

A must have for any fig collector. It should be in your top 5 for the shape and appearance alone. It's also very productive and full of figs on the mother tree. I'll probably end up growing at least 5 of these trees in my garden in the next yr.

Breba Crop:

Noire de Carmomb vs Kathleen's Black

I was commenting on my Fig Addiction group on Facebook about how I love the taste of the Chicago Hardy. My friend David Eden chimed in and I quote:

"Ben, if you like Hardy Chicago, then you might like the following remark from one of the original founders of the fig movement, Gene Hosey: "This, is when Gene told me that once I tasted Kathleen's Black, I would feed Chicago Hardy to the pigs. I thought that was very high praise coming from some one with as many figs as Gene has." Unfortunately my Kathleen's back only has one fig this year after 2 1/2 years of growth, since it has the unusual behavior of needing 3-4 years to start producing. I can't wait to taste it though. Here is the page I quoted from: http://figs4funforum.websitetoolbox.com/.../kathleens... Also: "HC when picked just right is amazing. But make sure you're sitting down when you bite into one KB because that fig may make you pass out!"

I put mine in ground a few weeks ago. I'm hoping it will be ok here in Philly this winter, with protection that is of course. I got one fig from my tree last year and it was delicious. Once this tree is producing regularly, I may just dispose of a couple others, it was that good!   
Well that  peaked my curiosity so I did some research on Kathleen's black. It's a late black fig that ripens in Oct here. There is also another fig named Noire de Caromb that is suppose to be the same as Kathleen's Black.

Well I ended up buying both. If this fig is tastier than Chicago Hardy I must have it. Stay tuned for updates.

Noire De Caromb.

Kathleen's Black.

Fig Porn - Smith and Osborne Fig

Fig Porn. Smith Fig (red interior) & Osborne Prolific (White interior)

Jujubes Ripening in Late Sept. + Smith Fig and Surprise Squash

My 2nd yr old tree grown outdoor with no protection here in Seattle. Is putting out some great fruit.  Probably about 15 or so, which is fine for me and my family of 3. =) If you are not familiar with this fruit, it's also called the chinese date. The longer you leave it on the plant the sweeter it becomes. I also notice that when you eat it fresh the longer you chew it the sweeter it becomes.

I'm sure it will hit it's stride by yr 3. I would love to share more of this fruit with family and friends. Parts of me wants to put this in ground. It's single trunk appearance does not take up a lot of real estate but I've read that it can push suckers out far away from the main plant. Which can be a mess if it decides to reach under your house and pipes.

I also pulled a couple of smith figs today with an unexpected Volunteer Squash.  Part of the fun of gardening are the surprises that come along with growing your own food.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Main crop on a Desert King!??

Seattle has a ton of large Desert King Trees. As a I understand it they are San Pedro type which should mean that only the Brebas will ripen.

In July I observed a ton of ripen fruit on this tree. However now in Sept it's produced just as much main crop figs that are tasty and ripen(ing).

They are not as watery as the brebas but still sweet and tasty.

Has anyone else noticed this with their DK or could there be another variety that has the same look and taste as DK with 2 crops?

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Moldy Peter's Honey fig

My Peter's honey has been extremely productive this year.  Almost every single fig has ripened that was on the tree. However after a few days of rain, I sometimes find ones that look like this. Moldy and rotten. You win some you lose some I guess.
I have noticed that it is very resistant to splitting, becuase of its tough skin. It's a good fig but not one of my favorites. I like being able to eat the skin and all with figs. Peter's honey has a skin that's leathery and too tough to enjoy.
I'll keep it around for another year but it won't make my top ten if I ever had to downsize.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Fig of the week. #10 Takoma Violet

Takoma Violet aka Tacoma

Hardiness: Survives the Seattle Winter
Type: Bifere
Fruit Ripens: July and Sept
Fruit Color: Black purple with red interior very productive
Taste: Rich and berry like. Tastes better than Chicago Hardy
Fruit Weight: 30grams
Note: Slow rooter, takes closer to 2+ months to root into a small viable plant  

From the figs4fun forum:
"I'm always fascinated by the stories behind fig varieties and learned about the history of Takoma Violet, Kathleen's Black and a few other varieties from Gene Hosey a while back.  I just stumbled across the old email.  Here's what he wrote:

"KB did come from a woman named Kathleen who lives/lived in Takoma Park, Maryland across from the firestation.  She and I ran around the Summer of 2001 ringing doorbells and asking to take cuttings from neighborhood fig trees.  This one was one she had ordered 20? years before (1981?) for her husband from one of these cheap nursery catalogs like Michigan Bulb.  She said as a kid she always got stuck with the bananas, and ever since disliked soft, mushy fruit--but she seemed to love to hunt for cuttings.  Takoma Violet came from an elderly German lady she knew who lived nearby.  The Paradiso fig came from an elderly Italian fellow who lived next door to a home where her son visited friends."

Others may have known this history already but because of the misspelling I initially thought TV was from Tacoma, WA rather than Takoma Park, MD

This is great fig for the PNW. It is rain resistant and ripens in cooler temps. It is also very productive and extremely vigorous.

Both the breba and main crop on this plant will ripen here in Seattle. The brebas are a tad smaller but just as tasty as the main. It will need a little protection to get the brebas here.

The fruit has nice tight eye and is resistant to splitting. Overall, a very tasty fig that is productive and vigorous and is cold hardy! A Perfect fig for the PNW!

Brown Turkey??? Update 09-24-15

So what I thought was brown turkey, I'm not so sure anymore.  I bought these as cuttings last year from ebay. They are 2 yr old plants after this season. Weird but I've been looking forward to tasting brown turkeys to see why everyone hates them so much. But as it is, they are not looking like they they are brown turkeys and could be some green/yellow fig instead.

Here's how they look on 9/14/15.  Kinda reminds me of an LSU Gold.

Update 09-24-15

So today I picked off one of the ripe fruits from the tree that I believe is a white Kadota. It weighed in at 35.5 grams. It definitely was ripe when I picked it. There was no latex on the stem. I hate to believe that there are bad figs out there but this has got to be the worse tasting fig I've ever eaten. It''s insipid. Bland, tasteless, crunchless, and has a mouthfeel of eating cold soggy noodles. I am not a fan.

I hate to get rid of fig trees but this one has to go.