Best little eating fig for AZ?

tracydr(9b)May 27, 2010

I'd really like to have a fig tree for eating fresh and putting up-pickled and in preserves. I don't have a lot of room for a large tree as my yard is pretty full of trees right now. I'd also like something that produces well the first year.

Any suggestions on a good variety of smaller fig for Arizona? I have plenty of irrigation and clay soil.

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frozenjoe(9 Arizona)

Violette de Bordeaux would be a good choice.

Joe

    Bookmark   May 28, 2010 at 6:22AM
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danab_z9_la

Yep. VDB (or Negronne, or Beer's Black) would be my recommendation too.

Dan

    Bookmark   May 28, 2010 at 9:55AM
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greendesert

and tracydr... if you do find a VDB tree around here, would you mind sharing with us where you got it? I'm lookin' fer one too.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2010 at 11:39AM
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tracydr(9b)

Absolutely. Greendesert-any suggestions on where to start shopping? I haven't found any nursery worth spending much time at. Haven't tried Harper's yet. Course, it's not exactly planting time either.
I also want to find a dwarf peach and apple that are suitable with low-chill. I so miss my fruit trees from Oklahoma!
The only thing is, I'll be moving in about 3-4 years, I hope back to that part of the world, so I don't want trees that take 3-4 years to give me a crop of fruit. Had a nice dwarf peach in SW Oklahoma when I lived in that part of the state that gave me lots of fruit about 11 months after planting.
In the meantime, I found a huge fig tree on my walk that is just starting to get some ripe ones. Picked 4 yesterday and will keep going back for more. Hoping I may be able to get a few buckets full when it has more ripening. I'd like to make some fig jam or something. I just love figs! Fell in love with them when I visited Prague and they served them fresh on the breakfast platter every morning.
Why don't they sell these wonderful fruit fresh in the groceries?

    Bookmark   May 28, 2010 at 11:51AM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

tracydr, You are lucky to have found that tree with ripe figs available to you for the pickin'.

I'd like to know where you find that tree too! Make sure you don't get it from Gurney's online. I got one last year they called Italian Honey, and the people here tell me it was mislabeled, and is, in fact some variety of Brown Turkey. I am holding my breath that it's not the insipid tasting one.

They do sell figs in the gourmet grocery stores. Figs are pretty perishable, and they can't be picked and left to ripen, so they have to be picked ripe. They then are soft and squishy, and don't travel well. They are EXPENSIVE to buy fresh, so it's much better to have your own supply!

Good luck finding your tree!
Suzi

    Bookmark   May 28, 2010 at 12:40PM
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wabikeguy(7 AB)

I have a VDB I purchased from Burnt Ridge Nursery in Washington. Cost was $12. They ship. It is described as a "medium" sized tree in their catalog, was more like a well rooted cutting, but I'm not complaining, cause it's doing real well here in the desert. It's about 18 inches high and leafing out real well, and it's twice as big as when I planted it in February.

Suzi, they also advertise an "Italian Honey Fig." Wonder how it would compare with Gurneys?

    Bookmark   May 28, 2010 at 2:23PM
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danab_z9_la

Wabikeguy....

I firmly "believe" that LSU Purple would be a truly outstanding fig cultivar to grow in a desert environment. However, I do not have any "proof" of my belief. By any chance are you growing LSU Purple??

Dan

    Bookmark   May 29, 2010 at 9:12AM
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wabikeguy(7 AB)

No Dan, but now that you've suggested it I most probably will by this time next year. I have 22 fig trees (8 are in pots). Most are from the same local tree which does real well here.

Our conditions at Lake Havasu are extreme even for Arizona. Summer temps stay over 100 for days and weeks at a time. "Growing medium" is mostly rock, sand, and clay, and the ph is higher than anything I have ever experienced.

But I can always find room for one more, especially if you think they would do well here. You are feeding my addiction Dan. Just when I thought I had it under control...

    Bookmark   May 29, 2010 at 10:51AM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

[quote name='wabikeguy' Suzi, they also advertise an "Italian Honey Fig." Wonder how it would compare with Gurneys?
[/quote]

:-) I don't think I want to find out, but theirs might be the real deal! I'm glad Dan and Martin helped us figure out that we already have VDB, so I won't need to purchase one now. If it tastes as good as it's reputation says, I may take some cuttings and get a couple more buddies for it.

Your desert conditions sound a lot like mine. Our summer temps average 109 degrees in the day, 80-90 at night. We live on a golf course, so when they water at night, and the wind blows, we do get some evening mist. The plants love it, but it is killer on the windows!

I spent a lot of time between my dreams last night, thinking about how to bag my figs when they are almost ripe to protect them from the birds.... It's suddenly become very important to taste that VDB!

    Bookmark   May 29, 2010 at 12:26PM
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wabikeguy(7 AB)

I bought 200 ft of 20 ft wide bird netting from a commercial grower last winter. That was the smallest roll they sell. Cost about 80 bucks. I can send you the link if you want, assuming I can still find it.

This is funny, cause I actually have a young VDB in the back yard. Doesn't appear that it will fruit this year. You would think I would have compared them and come to this conclusion on my own, but there are so many kinds of figs, and I thought I knew what I had, so I never thought to compare. But now that I have, along with the info provided by Martin and Dan....I would say it looks pretty much like they are VDB.

When you called Gurneys, did they provide you with any info? Did they tell you they were VDB?

Dave

    Bookmark   May 29, 2010 at 2:24PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

I have bare hands bird netting, at least 100 feet of that, and I can use it for my figs, but I don't want to wreck it because I got it for the vineyard, however I think I can cut a square for each container tree, but since they are so small, and only 6 figs this year, I'm pretty sure I can clothes pin a small tube of brown paper around each ripening fig about a week before they are ripe.

I didn't ask Gurneys what kind they thought they were. I was focused on my refund! LOL! When I purchased it, and there was no actual tag, I called, and they told me "It's Ficus Carica." Hello? Sigh....
Suzi

    Bookmark   May 29, 2010 at 2:38PM
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noss(Zone 9a Lafayette, LA)

Wabikeguy,

If you would, I would like the link to that bird netting you mention in your post, please.

Vivian

    Bookmark   May 29, 2010 at 4:28PM
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wabikeguy(7 AB)

You've got mail. Vivian.

I was wrong about the deminisions and the price. The bird netting is 14 feet wide on a 200 foot roll for $61 bucks. They also have great deals on shade cloth, which is why I found them in the first place.

Does anyone know...can I post this link? These guys have the best prices on bird netting and shade cloth I was able to find anywhere.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2010 at 5:39PM
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danab_z9_la

Here is why I think LSU Purple would do great in a desert climate........

In my yard, LSU Purple is the first fig to begin growing in the Spring and the last one to go dormant in the fall. It will bear three nice crops of figs beginning in late June up until the first frost arrives in November/December which forces it to finally go dormant. The fig crops come very close together and the tree gives the appearance of being nearly everbearing throughout the entire fig growing season.....it just keeps right on producing figs. Figs that ripen during cooler weather are still very good. It has a closed eye and is both bug resistant and rain tolerant. The figs from older trees are excellent tasting. However, the fruit can be rather insipid tasting for the first couple of years on a young tree. Many growers have experienced this particular characteristic. One needs to give this cultivar a few years before it produces sweet and rich tasting figs. It was bred by Dr. O'Rourke using a Hunt fig as the mother. I "believe" that it would be at its very best in a desert climate.

Dan

    Bookmark   May 30, 2010 at 2:14AM
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wabikeguy(7 AB)

OK Dan...I am convinced. I can always make room for one or two more, and I am all for extending the season. Is the LSU a large tree? Do you have a pic you could post?

    Bookmark   May 30, 2010 at 10:11AM
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danab_z9_la

LSU Purple grows to be about the same size and shape as a Celeste tree. I do not have pictures for posting. Both of my trees were nearly destroyed by some pesky hurricanes.

Dam

    Bookmark   May 30, 2010 at 11:04AM
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tracydr(9b)

I'm going to have to stay off of this forum. You guys will have me filling my yard with figs and I'll have no sunny spaces left for the rest of my garden.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2010 at 11:38AM
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