Tuesday, July 26, 2016

More Fig Tasting! Olympian, Gene's Vashon, LSU O'Rourke, & Desert King

July is a great time of year for fig lovers! This is when the beginning of fig ripening season begins and it could go well into October depending on your varieties.

Yesterday was a treat. I got to taste 4 different varieties. Olympian, Gene's Vashon, LSU O'rourke, and Desert King

This fig came off of a 3ft tree and was recently placed in ground. It wasn't as juicy as I like but the flavor may improve with age. Overall it's a very productive tree for it's size with such gorgeous looking fruit.

Gene's Vashon:
The Vashon Violet was the best tasting out of this bunch that I had today. The tree is much more mature and has been in ground for about a decade. It was moist and juicy and the flavors were amazing. Very silky and rich. Melony tones.


LSU O'Rourke:
Unfortunately, this fig was knocked off too early by my young gardener helper and didn't get a chance to fully develop it's flavor. What I did taste has great promise though. A nice bit of acid and berry tones. You can taste the greenness of it still though. I love the color of and ribbing on this fig. Until next year young fig.


Desert King:
One of my favorites here in the Northwest. Never fails to impress me how good it is. Very refreshing and flavorful. And filling too. One 90gram fig can satisfy your hunger.

Desert King: Breba
Taste: 9.5
Size: 10
Productivity: 10
Total = 29.5

Genes Vashon: Breba
Taste: 8.7
Size: 5
Productivity: 7
Total = 21.7

Olympian: Breba
Taste: 6.5
Size: 4
Productivity: 5
Total =15.5

LSU O'Rourke Breba
Taste: 4.5 (not fully ripened)
Size: 2.7
Productivity: 1
Total = 8.2

Monday, July 25, 2016

Review of Target's Self Watering Pot

Target's self watering pot.

So I'm kinda diggin these Misco Self Watering Pots from Target. I don't know about their durability through the years yet but I do know that they are a cheap and better looking alternative to the 5 gallon DIY self water pots.

 I really like the 15" containers that sell for only $9.99. In my mind that's pretty comparable price to a DIY solution but it looks so much better. I also love the fact that I can get a lighter color that helps with overheating problems from the summer.

Dimensions: 12.500 H x 15.000 W x 15.000 D

Let's compare shall we?

DIY 5 Gallon Misco 15" SW
Buckets x2 $7 $9.99
PVC $2
Mesh Basket $1
Labor $$$ $0
Total $10 $9.99 

The DIY version isn't so cheap anymore when you break it down to it's individual costs.

The results:
The figs plants that are in these pots have put on some explosive growth in the last 3 months. Some have grown about 3 feet and the trunk sizes on some of them have increased noticeably.

What I like about them is that they are easy to fill from the open gap and I can easily add a pinch of water soluble fertilizer every week to the reservoir. Which makes feeding a cinch.

Lattarula Fig Breba Tasting 2016

Lattarula Breba Tasting 7/24/2016

AKA - Marseilles = Oregon Prolific, White Naples, Figue Blanche, Lemon, Marseilles, Lattarula, Oregon Prolific, Italian Honey, White Marseilles

A couple of weeks after eating a ripe Oregon Prolific, my Lattarula Breba is now also ripe. And there wasn't much doubt but yes it is the same as Oregon Prolific. The taste profile is exactly the same and they even ripen around the same time. I do think that the main crop on Lattarula is much better tasting than the Breba. The sugars are much more concentrated and the flavor is more intense than the breba. More on that here.

Lattarula: Breba
Taste: 5
Size: 3
Productivity: 2 (But still too young to tell)
Total = 10

Oregon Prolific Left and Lattarula Right

The breba weighs 30gram

Lattarula Breba

Oregon Prolific Breba

Watch the Video

Desert King Breba Fig Tasting 2016

The end of July in Seattle means its time for the King of Figs to share it's bounty with us. I LOVE The Desert King fig! It's large size juicy sweet berry tones and immense productivity makes it a must have for growers in this zone.

I like to pick my Dessert kings when they are super soft and juicy. They get to the point where you can just slurp them down.

One taste and you're hooked. 

I do have to say that I've seen DK from growers in hot climates like Arizona and the fruit just doesn't look as appealing or large as they do here in Seattle.

One ripe Seattle Desert King fig can fill you up quick.

Watch the Video

Friday, July 22, 2016

The boom of growth in July and How I fertilize my fig plants

July is prime time for plants to fruit and put on some serious growth in Seattle. Such is the case with my figs. They have literally taken over my entire patio. You're looking at about 200+ plants.

Because of my busy schedule with work and photography. I've had to hire my nephew for the summer to help take care of off them. 2hrs to water all these guys can be pretty daunting. During this time of year I also fertilize on a regular basis to keep the plants well fed while they are using all this energy to grow.

My Soil Mixture:
1. Since I ammend all of my soil, Any potting soil that is on sale will do. 65%
2. HP Promix (the good stuff) 20%
3. Perlite 13%
4. Lime Granules - Eyeball
5. Osmocote Slow release fertilizer - capful for every few gallons
6. Few handfuls of Epsom Salt
7. Some handfuls of bark to stimulate the Mycorrhizae at the bottom and top

My Fertilization Schedule:

From March until Sept:
1. In March I will add compost and worm castings to top the soil. This helps reconstitute some of the used up nutrients from the previous yr.
2. I always make sure there's osmocote slow release fertilizer in the pots
3. Every 2-3 weeks I hit them with the water soluble Miracle grow solution.
4. I always spot heck certain plants visually to see if there's yellowing which means they need a little more attention
5. July I'll hit them again with compost and worm castings to prep them for the heat of july and August

(I've tried fish emulsion fertilizer but that stuff stinks and it attracts the flies.)

In September I'll stop fertilizing so the plant can lignify the green wood. A dosing of Silica blast helps the plant to strengthen it's cell walls, this will prepare for the winter.

This is about 4 months of growth on my Ronde De Bordeaux and we still have 2 more months of growing season to go.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Petite Negra Fig - Tasting the brebas 2016

Petite Negra Fig Tasting.

Petite Negra is such a productive fig. For my 3ft tree it's pretty loaded with fruit. The taste is not as sweet as a VDB and has tad bit more acidity to it. It's a good tasting fig but not the best tasting one I've had. It has raspberry notes and a jammy consistency.

Nice keeper in terms of productivity, but VDB edges out this one by a small margin.

Petite Negra: Breba
Taste: 6.8
Size: 3
Productivity: 8
Total = 16.8


Can you root Green Fig Cuttings? Last Update - 7 weeks Later

Green Fig Cutting update: Final update.

So the green cutting did not make it. It rotted. I was very careful about the amount of moisture I added to the mix so it wasn't from excessive moisture. At the end of this experiment, I can say that the chances of rooting a green cutting are very slim.

Unless you have a very rare variety I wouldn't bother wasting resources in trying to root them.

However, I'm sure with perfect conditions , it may be possible. However, I have yet to discover the perfect recipe. I think that if the there was a bit of lignified woodnear the bottom, it would make it possible to root a semi green cutting.  I have been able to root cuttings with a green top and brown bottom.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Upcoming Fig Tasting Videos 2016

I'm hopeful that a good majority of my figs will ripen this year. Stay tuned because these are the Fig tasting videos that I hope to produce this year in 2016.

I'll add more to the list as they begin to ripen.

1. Black Madeira
2. Texas Everbearing
3. Longue d'aout
4. English Brown Turkey
5. Gene's Vashon
6. Olympian
7. Takoma Violet
8. Red Lebanese
9. Petite Negra
10. Ronde De Bordeaux
11. Violet De Bordeaux Main Crop
12. Peter's Honey
13. Kadota
14. Desert King
15. Gillette
16. Dan's Favorite
17. Chicago Hardy
18. Cordi Stella
19. Smith
20. Sucrette
21. Lattarula
22. Leon's Green
23. Grantham's Royal
24. Atreano
25. Malta Purple
26. Black Bethlehem
27. Alma
28. JH Adriatic
29. Violette Sollies
30. Dark Portuguese
31. King
32. Sicily
33. LSU O Rourke

If you like the Videos please subscribe to the youtube channel and help me out by buying some fig pops =).

Monday, July 18, 2016

Donut Peaches, Beans, Cucumbers and Sungold Tomatoes

WOW! These white donut peaches are the best tasting peaches I've ever tasted!!! Time to plant a row of them!

Oh yeah, the beans and other veggies are cool too. But wow these donut peaches are down right amazing.

I've been growing it in a 30 gallon pot and it's been doing good but not great. It's affected by leaf curl in the spring and by the time mid July rolls around the disease seems to go away.  I did treat it with copper last winter but only once.

This year it rewarded me with only 3 peaches, but boy were they good!!!!! Sweat like honey and they melt in your mouth. I'm still dreaming about it. And I can't wait until next year.

I like to start my trees off in pots until they have proven to be good fruit that will handle our winters. This tree has proven to be a true winner and I have marked a new home in the ground for it.

This should improve it's production and vigor for next year!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Shiro Plum

My Shiro Japanese Plum

I've been waiting 2 yrs for this fruit tree to fruit. This spring there were a ton of flowers on the tree, which I thought would translate to a ton of fruit. But we had a couple of freak 90 degree days in April which killed off the flowers sooner than the bees could pollinate them. They were clustered in the same area of the tree. You can almost see the path the bee took from flower to flower.

So I was left with only 6 little fruit on this tree this yr.

Update on the Shiro: 5/09/16 in about a month its put on some serious fat

update: 7/2/16

Update 7/11/16
Time to Taste

Sometimes plants die on you...

I'm not sure why but my Illinois ever bearing was doing great one day then totally dead another. I'm still not sure why. The soil was moist so it didn't dry it out. My guess was maybe root rot or sooty canker disease which is a fungus that can kill a tree if it affects its trunk. But I'm not really sure. I had a layer of pine and bark on the top layer as mulch.

RIP Mulberry tree... it's sad to see you go.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

White Flies on my Italian Plum

I didn't realize Italian plums were so susceptible to whiteflies.  The brand new growth seems to be covered with them. And they are sucking the life out of my young fruit tree. Strangely enough it's not affecting my shiro plum.

I can't stand the site of these flies. And spraying them with just my hose doesn't seem to solve the problem.

There are only a couple of plums on the tree this year. So I went ahead and gave it the full treatment.

1. I Sprayed the entire tree with Sevin
2. I cut off all the affected branches
3. I covered the tree with Diatomaceous earth
4. I've researched that applying worm castings to the base of the plant will make the taste of the tree unbearable to the whiteflies.
5. I hung 4 large yellow stick traps on the tree to add the last line of defense.

Hopefully this works, if it doesn't I may have to replace the tree with something more bug resistant.

How do you get rid of whiteflies?

Monday, July 11, 2016

Fig of the Week #20: Oregon Prolific Fig

Oregon Prolific AKA Marseilles

Hardiness: Hardy to Seattle's winters
Type: Bifere
Fruit Ripens: Mid July and September
Fruit Color: Green and amber pulp
Taste: mildy sweet, moist and soft texture with seed crunch
Fruit Weight: 33 grams but may grow larger

Purchased from Portland Nursery

Like so many other figs, the Oregon Prolific is really a Marseilles and it has been renamed without proper research into it's true origin. But even the name Marseilles or white Marseilles or St. Anthony, is it really the original name? Of course not. The problem is if we truly go back to the origin of the fig, in many cases it would be somewhere in the Mediterranean, that's really the name we should be using.

However the fact that figs travel well doesn't help it's naming convention. Every new conutry a fig lands in they inherently pick up new name in it's new country. So the fact of the matter is, most figs have about 4-10 synonyms and it's impossible to keep up.

But to keep things straight. An Oregon Prolific is really a Marseilles.

Historical Anecdote: Marseilles was Thomas Jefferson's favorite fig.

Marseilles = Oregon Prolific, White Naples, Figue Blanche , Lemon, Marseilles, Lattarula, Oregon Prolific , Italian Honey, White Marseilles

I was surprised that such a small tree would produce so early. It came off of a small tree.

Oregon Prolific: Breba

Taste: 4.5
Size: 3
Productivity: 2 (But still too young to tell)
Total = 9.5 

The Fruit weighed in at 33.4 grams

If you already have a White Marseilles or Latturala no need to add this to the collection. It's a good fig but doesn't rank in my top 5.

Apricot Problem

There's something wrong with my Apricot and it's kinda scaring me. 1/3 of the tree is dying. Which is a shame considering how beautiful the color of the leaves are. An Apricot tree would've made a great landscaping tree as well. The red tipped branches are quite beautiful.

I believe it's suffering from Canker. Apricots do real well in the drier conditions of California. It maybe just too wet here in Seattle for it, which causes humid conditions which is prime for fungal/bacterial problems on apricots.

I had to amputate half the tree to save the healthy remaining parts this weekend.

Common Types of Apricot Disease
There are many types of apricot disease, though most are caused by the usual suspects – bacteria or fungus. Here are some of the most common diseases of apricot trees:

Bacterial Canker 
Among the most frustrating of apricot problems, bacterial canker causes the formation of dark, sunken sores at the base of buds and randomly along trunks and limbs. Gum may weep through these wounds as the tree emerges from dormancy in the spring or the tree may die suddenly. Once a tree is infected with bacterial canker, there is very little you can do to help it, although some growers have seen limited success with high doses of copper fungicide applied at leaf drop. Eutypa Dieback Much less common than bacterial canker, eutypa dieback, also known as gummosis or limb dieback, causes sudden wilt in apricots during late spring or summer. The bark is discolored and weepy, but unlike in bacterial canker, the leaves remain attached to diseased or dead limbs. Eutypa dieback can be pruned out of trees after harvest. Be sure to remove at least 1 foot of healthy tissue along with the diseased limb and treat the pruning wounds with a general purpose fungicide.

Phytophthora occurs primarily in gardens where the drainage is poor or plants are chronically over watered. Roots and crowns are damaged to varying degrees, but seriously injured apricot trees may collapse soon after the first stretch of warm weather of the year. Chronic infections cause reduced vigor and early leaf fall, as well as general unthriftiness. If your tree survives the first flush of spring, spray the leaves with phosphorus acid or mefenxam and correct the drainage issue, but know it may be too late to save your apricot.

Ripe Fruit Rot
Also known simply as brown rot, ripe fruit rot is one of the more frustrating of the diseases of apricot trees. As fruits ripen, they develop a small, brown, water-soaked lesion that quickly spreads, ruining the entire fruit. Soon, tan to gray spores appear on the fruit’s surface, spreading the disease further. Ripe fruit rot may also manifest as blossom or twig blight or branch cankers, but the fruit rotting form is most common. Once ripe fruit rot has taken hold, there’s nothing you can do for that harvest but remove infected fruits. Clean up all fallen debris and remove any fruits that remain on and around the tree at the end of the season, then start pretreating your tree on a schedule, beginning in spring. Fungicides like fenbuconazole, pyraclostrobin or fenhexamid are often used to protect fruits from ripe fruit rot.

Shot Hole Disease 
Apricots with small, circular, purple spots on their leaves may be infected with shot hole disease. The spots sometimes dry out and fall through, but infected leaves rarely die or fall from the tree. Spots may also appear on fruits before scabbing over – if these scabs fall off, rough areas are left behind. A single application of fungicide during the dormant season may be enough to protect apricots from shot hole disease. A bordeaux mixture or fixed copper spray can be applied to dormant trees, or use ziram, chlorothalonil or azoxystrobin on blooming or fruiting trees that are showing signs of shot hole disease. Read more at Gardening Know How: Treating Problems In Apricots: Learn About Diseases Of Apricot Trees http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/fruits/apricots/diseases-of-apricots.htm