How the Greeks do it. (with amazing pics!)

budbackeast(FLORIDA)April 4, 2012

I live near Tarpon Springs, Florida. Lots of Greeks here. I now have seven fig trees, all from cuttings given to me by the generous Greek customers of my appliance repair company.

Today, I went to a new guy, a farmer from Greece. He showed me how they grow new trees back in the old country without any fuss. I'd never seen anything like this before, so I took pictures for all of you fig lovin' folks.

One of several healthy fig trees in this guy's yard, with large yields of sweet figs. This Greek farmer retired to Florida, and he gets things to grow very well in our sandy, poor soils.

In Greece, the farmers cut open the side of a can and tuck it securely around a branch and fill the can with dirt. Sometimes, they use a pot. Not sure how he did that. Must go back and learn more from him.

The branch gets full size roots in thesoil-filled can over the following months. This guy waits almost a year, and has the roots bulging from the tin or plastic can before it is ready to plant.

Eventually, the farmer cuts the big branch off just below the pot and then he simply plants it as a fully mature, large, fully rooted fruit bearing tree. No fancy soils, no tiny cuttings in jars, no perlite, no rotting tender tiny roots, no fungus.

Now, THIS is amazing! Hooray for the Greek farmers!

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Hey, those are some pretty cool pics! The process is called airlayering. You can see more pics of that process in the archives on this forum and on the figs4fun forum. This is by far my favorite way to propagate more trees.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2012 at 1:52AM
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Good pictures. I like what this guy is doing. growing thing should not be fancy. It should be simply the nature's way. Using whatever resource is available to make it work.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2012 at 1:00PM
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Thanks for posting the really nice pictures. The fig trees look nice and healthy!

    Bookmark   April 4, 2012 at 9:20PM
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I wqent back today to finish his appliance repair. He let me take three cuttings from his trees. One is black figs, one is white figs, and one is RED FIGS. Red figs? Strange leaves on that one. This is going to be good!

    Bookmark   April 5, 2012 at 10:35PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

The Greeks do other things. Creative creatures! They just lay dormant cuttings in a small trench, cover with 1/2" soil, and in spring, you got Fig Trees! Works with Grapevine cuttings too!

I am a huge fan of air layering! And Greeks. Love those dolmadas made with the leaves of my vines!

    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 11:22AM
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Hey there Desertdance.

My best friend is a Greek bouzuki (sp?) player up in Boston. No figs up there, but his uncle down here had a fig tree (now mine)and the figs are good on it. In a different thread, I talked about that fig tree.

There is a large Greek community here, centered around those sponge-diving guys down in Tarpon Springs. I now have ten fig trees of 6 different varieties, all compliments of those kind hearted Greek customers of mine. You Greeks rock. Your figs rock even more!

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 10:45PM
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went to my parents' house earlier this week, was looking around the back yard, and noticed my dad had wrapped one of the fig branch with a towel and filled with dirt, and thought about this topic. i believe its a celeste, we've had it for over 30 years.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2012 at 11:59PM
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Hello houstontexas123

Nice looking fig tree your dad has there! Perfect leaves, nice general shape. Does he get plenty of good figs? Does he fertilize/mulch? And yes, I see what he did there. He knows his stuff. Yes he does.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2012 at 9:28PM
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noss(Zone 9a Lafayette, LA)

Why can I not see the photo, too?


    Bookmark   May 11, 2012 at 10:51PM
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the soil in their area is a rich black soil, he hardly ever fertilize any of the fruit trees or veggies.

no fert or mulch on the fig. it produces good sized crops, but the birds and squirrels get a chunk of the figs. my mom eats a few now and then, and my aunt a few houses down gets some, and he dries and freezes the extras (mainly for a few chinese soups).

    Bookmark   May 11, 2012 at 10:54PM
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I think that if dad covers that towel with some
plastic or tin-foil; the soil clump will retain
moisture for a longer time with some better success.
Unless he is misting it 1-2 times a day...

    Bookmark   May 12, 2012 at 1:02PM
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noss(Zone 9a Lafayette, LA)

Today, the photo showed up. That's a pretty tree and those leaves are so healthy-looking.


    Bookmark   May 13, 2012 at 1:05AM
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So, when doing this, wrapping the tree with a towel and soil, or a coffee can and soil, do you simply just wrap it, or do you score the bark under the soil or anything special?

    Bookmark   May 17, 2012 at 11:41AM
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Hello Shylock,

The old Greek guy would cut two long slices thru the bark on the bottom of the place he wanted to put into the pots. It encourages roots. Others do nothing, and then others remove a ring all the way around the branch before wrapping it.

When my trees get bigger, I'll play with this a bit. And if you try it, please stay in touch and post pics!

    Bookmark   May 18, 2012 at 10:06PM
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