Figs in Ohio

Origin374June 29, 2012

Hello all,

In a post on another, older thread there is a reference to "Hurt's Nursery" in Medina, OH as a source of figs. It took some doing but I found finally that it's actually "Hirt's Gardens." They're in the 4900 block of Ridge Rd (Rte 94) about a quarter mile north of Rte 18.

They had a very good supply of 3 or 4 inch pots of Black Mission, Brown Turkey and Chicago Hardy figs. I was so thrilled I didn't bother to look behind me. One of the staff there showed me a nice selection of much larger Black Mission and Italian figs. All I had to do was turn around.

Also, Dayton's Nursery on Cleveland Massilion Rd in Norton started carrying Chicago Hardy last year. They have a pretty good supply.

I now have 7 Chicagos in ground which have survived one winter, two more in pots (which, after overwintering in the garage began producing foliage a full month earlier than those in ground); and today I'm potting up a Black Mission, a Brown Turkey and a really nice Italian.

The Chicagos I have in-ground haven't required much attention at all, though I've given them a good soaking this week in anticipation of the heat. The ones in pots do well over winter, but they really require some attention now in the face of no rain and high temperatures. Some leaves have yellowed and dropped. But, they're already producing figs.

I'll let you know what happens!


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noss(Zone 9a Lafayette, LA)

Hi John,

That's great that you found these nurseries. Thanks for letting us know about what you got from them.

Keep us posted. Can you post photos of your trees for us to see?


    Bookmark   June 30, 2012 at 4:18AM
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daluca(6 Cle)

Welcome John,
I also bought a Colasanti Italian fig last summer from Hirts when I went there.This summer it is in a pot and is about 3' tall with figs. I don't know if it is green or dark figs.
I have about 10 types of figs.I have a lot of the weeping type.That one(weeping) is in a half barrel and is 6-7' tall and lots of figs.
If you have any questions I am glad to help.I am in Brook Park.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2012 at 2:29PM
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Thanks noss and Dave. Sure, I'll post a pic as soon as I can.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 2:37PM
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Hey Origin374. I bought a Chicago Hardy from Dayton nursery too. I bought it a few weeks ago but haven't planted it yet.

My plan was to plant it in the ground but then I started reading about how they do better in containers and that it's good to bring them inside for the winter.

Since you're in same area as me it's good to hear that the in-ground is doing well.

Did you do any soil amendment before planting? I have really bad clay soil. I mean, it's so bad it's like concrete when digging into it. Especially now with all the heat.


    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 2:12PM
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@ iamzvonko

I've had good luck (so far, that is; I'm new to this) with both in-ground and in-pots. The two I overwintered indoors started leafing out waaaay earlier than the ones in ground. In fact, I was getting a little worried about the in-ground plants as there was no sign of any growth until late May, even early June. But, leaving them alone long enough paid off and they've started to grow really well. Over winter care: indoors, I watered them maybe twice. They were on a bench in front of the windows in the garage and got a little southern light. But they stayed COLD. In-ground: I gave them a good thick mulch of leaves, maybe 4-5 inches thick once the temperature started to drop and stay down. I did NOT mulch them just because we had a light frost or two--I waited until late November/early December. Right now the in-ground plants look remarkably healthy, while the potted figs are struggling with the heat. They require a lot of water this year as we've had zero rain in my neighborhood and the pots dry out quickly. They look a little stressed, but they're producing a nice number of fruits.One of them is badly in need of transplanting to alarger pot--I'm delaying doing this as it's got a good number of fruits on.

Soil amendments: I have the same heavy clay soil. I dug a good sized hole, bigger even than the usual recommendations. I mixed some of the native top soil with a good organic gardening soil and mixed in a good amount of Sweet Peat to make it a little acidic. I raised the plants a wee bit to keep the plant from soaking in water (in case it ever rains again). Packed the soil down around the plant good and tight and watered away. That's pretty much it.

On my larger in-ground Chicago I tried before winter set in wrapping the branches with burlap, surrounded it with mounds of leaves and wrapped the whole thing with a non-plastic black wrap. Compared to the plants I merely mulched---not much difference. It's a little bigger, but hardly worth the extra trouble. Plant 'em, mulch 'em, forget 'em. In spring trim back the new growth to leave three, maybe 4 main stems.

I'll post a picture as soon as I can.


    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 5:15PM
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Dave, noss, iamzvonko

Here's a picture my first attempts at Fig Folly. There are 7 Chicago Hardy's in ground in the rock circles, two more behind them in pots, one of which desperately needs a larger pot. Do you think it's OK to transplant while it's fruiting? To the left and right in pots are a Black Mission, which has been dropping brown-spotted leaves since I bought it; and then an italian fig. In front are two smaller plants--a Brown Turkey (left) and an LSU Purple.

By the way, to the right of this plot I built a new strawberry bed and planted it full of day-neutral, everbearing Albion strawberries. The hope is that we'll have some late strawberries around the time the figs ripen. I'd like to head into winter with a nice supply of strawberry-fig jam. Whaddaya think?

    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 5:26PM
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I like it!

Asking me about whether or not it's OK to transplant while they're fruiting is like the "blind leading the blind". Sorry! I'm still really new to all this. Having said that, my guess is that it would probably be a shock to them to transplant while they're fruiting.

Let's see what the experts at this site say.

Hey, what does "Dave, noss, iamzvonko" mean?

    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 11:14PM
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noss(Zone 9a Lafayette, LA)

John! What I think is that you are having such a good time with your plants and I wish you the best with them.

I think you should poke some holes in the rootball of the tree that needs a bigger pot so nutrients and water can get to the roots, then when it's dormant, you can do root work and put it into a bigger pot. And--Shade those pots! It will help your potted trees. Put something between the sun and the pots to keep the pots in the shade.



    Bookmark   July 11, 2012 at 4:22AM
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@Origin374.... et al.

Fig trees do not like an acid soils. Amend your site by adding both powdered, and granular limestone, and work it into the soil. The powdered, will work short term, and the granular, lasts far longer.

Also many fertilizers will continue to turn your soils acidic. I was told by an experienced grower that figs thrive better, and with less diseases, in basic soils...and highly recommends adding Limestone as a top dressing.


    Bookmark   July 11, 2012 at 6:38AM
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"Hey, what does "Dave, noss, iamzvonko" mean?"

Well, the first two guys who posted signed their names as Dave and noss, and your username is listed as "iamzvonko."

@Frank. Thanks. I added acidifying material on the advice of a nursery where I first bought figs. Your advice is different from what I was told there, and, if you grow figs, something i'm going to pay attention to. Thanks for the feedback.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2012 at 9:15AM
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Well, I can't find any site on growing figs that contradicts your advice; every one of them confirms what you wrote.

So, the sweet peat I added doesn't change the pH all that much and it at least improved the texture of the soil.

I'll be shopping for some limestone to add this afternoon.

Thanks again.


    Bookmark   July 11, 2012 at 9:31AM
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@origin374 - Ah. Guess I should have looked closer. My name is actually David so I thought you were saying something to ME using my name and my id on here. The 'noss' confused me and I didn't catch that one of the other posters' id was noss.


    Bookmark   July 11, 2012 at 10:10AM
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noss(Zone 9a Lafayette, LA)

LOL! Noss was the nickname of one of my favorite Yorkies when I was raising and showing them, so I use it as my "call name." (Call name is the name used for show dogs because it is shorter and special.) Noss' registered name was, Lagniappe Moonlight Menace and we called her Menace, which she came by naturally, but it got shortened to Noss. All my dogs had several names they liked and knew were specially for them alone.

Does that help with the confusion?


    Bookmark   July 12, 2012 at 12:20AM
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I'm surprised to be able to report this but....

After two freezes, one which really put an end to any growth of my in-ground figs, we've had some moderate temperatures: mid 40's to mid-fifties. I have a lot of figs on the trees that are obviously too immature for use, but I'm surprised at how many continue to ripen. I've been eating fresh figs off the tree right up until this morning. Several dozen more have deepened in color and increased in size overnight and ought to be ready for picking in another day or two. I did nothing special to protect the trees from the freezing temperatures.

All of this is despite the many postings and websites that declare "You can't grow figs in Ohio. Figs are Mediterranean and will not ripen in your cold climate."

Lesson: Take everything on the internet with a grain of salt and test every idea for yourself. Every caution and negative declaration about how I can't do any of what I want to do because it's Ohio, or it's too cold, or the climate here isn't Mediterranean have all proven to be sensible, reasonable, logical and, in the end, untrustworthy hogwash. I write this having just eaten three figs fresh from the fig trees on a cool, cloudy, non-Mediterranean, Ohio afternoon in late October.

The figs aren't quite as sweet as those picked in the heat of late summer; but considering what's available, and not, in the local markets, these aren't at all bad.

My patch of everbearing Albion strawberries are still producing as well, so this weekend's project is to make a good batch of strawberry-fig jam with a nice harvest of fresh-picked fruits.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 12:31PM
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Hi, my name is Elizabeth, I have been growing & Eating Fresh
Figs for five years now, in Ohio no less, Brown Turkey figs
my Tree is over 5ft.tall.
for the last 4 years, I have given it protection, by cutting
the bottom out of a garbage can, then putting all the leaves
I collect from the neighbor's maple tree, then I use the part
of plastic back on top of the tree, then put a rock on the lid
this year they were selling figs at Jungle Jims in Fairfield
Ohio, BTW I have really enjoyed everyone's stories

    Bookmark   October 23, 2012 at 8:12PM
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I am growing figs in Ohio, too. All 8 (yes, I went a little fig crazy last year) are in pots which overwintered in my garage. After reading about John's success, I think I am going to put my Hardy Chicago in the ground in the spring.

I enjoyed quite a few figs this summer, and just ate my first lemon fig a couple of weeks ago, long after cold weather had set in. I also have Violette de Bordeaux, Smith, Ventura, Hardy Chicago, O'Rourke, mystery fig for around $2 from Michigan Bulb, and another mystery fig that I bought at a nursery in Nevada, Ohio, called Carmar Gardens. They have a fig tree growing in ground in their green house which was started from a tree their grandparents had in Florida. They have no idea of the variety. They sold me a really nice sized fig for $5 - I couldn't resist it. It has proven to be my most productive fig so far, and very tasty. Dark skinned with reddish interior when ripe.

All of my figs were leafed out in the garage in February last winter due to our unusually warm temperatures. I am up-potting them every year.

Glad to hear about other Ohio fig growers!

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 10:14AM
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Complete novice just went to hirt's gardens and purchased:

Brown Turkey in gallon pots 1-3feet tall
Black Mission
Chicago Hardy
Texas Everbearing
LSU Purple
All in small pots plants 3-8 inches tall
Large selection of each variety probably 30-100 plants available for each. I think there was one variety that was sold out though or had just one plant left I didn't want. Or maybe it was Celeste and I had heard it might just be the same as Chicago Hardy or something. Can't remember exactly even though it was just a few hours ago.

Chicago Hardy and Brown Turkey figs will be planted in the ground outdoors, others will be potted indoors. It will be interesting to see how they turn out.

Hirt's is an online business mainly and prices are cheaper online. They don't offer discounts in the store officially and had a sign up to say so but I think they are willing to negotiate prices a bit. We got 5 dollars off each of the brown turkey figs. I would recommend going to the store over shopping online though even though there might be a discount online so you can pick your plants and talk to the numerous employees. Some plants seem very healthy and others do not. Also some are much further along than others.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2013 at 3:56PM
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just curious. I have 6 Chicagos that were in pots and fruited in 2012. in the spring of '13 I put them in the ground and again they fruited. they haven't woken up yet this spring and they get full sun.

are yours still sleeping?

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 7:00AM
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