I call it ' The Figloo '

johnparavNovember 16, 2010

On October 30 I transplanted an older fig tree ( 15 years or so ). The home was recently sold and the new owners were not interested in figs.

Three of us managed to dig out the tree with apx a 30-36 inch root ball .

I have about 10 other figs in pots which I store in a heated shed. So I figured if I plant this tree in the ground why not just build a shed around it.

So being in the commercial refridgeration trade I was able to get some walk in freezer panels and erected a small shed with sloped roof around the tree , sitting on a 4x4 cedar base.

The panels are 40 inches wide 2.5 inches thick and filled with polyeurethane foam at an R value of 7 per inch.




I am planning to heat the shed to around 35f .

Should I mulch around the base and with what ?

I am concerned about mold . Any ideas about how to avoid mold issues ?

Should I put plastic on the ground ?

Any input would be greatly appreciated .

John

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ottawan_z5a

That is a very neat set-up with no-fuss material.
While you wait for expert advice, I would like to make one suggestion. There will be some geothermal heat from the ground trapped inside. To decrease the loss of geotheromal heat to the frozen ground near & around the perimeter of the enclosure, I would suggest to place bags full of leaves on the ground around the perimeter flattened on the ground to reduced the trapped heat loss to the frozen ground.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2010 at 9:44PM
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wildforager(5b-WI)

I would recommend wood chips around the base and straw bales lining the walls on the outside. I'm thinking with all that space inside you won't have any mold issues inless you wrap the tree with plastic or something. You could probably have a regular incandescent light bulb or two in there for heat and you'll be fine. I'm curious what you're thinking you'll use to heat the place. Looks like you'll have a window, thats good. Open that up once and a while in the daytime to get some fresh air in and minimize the chance of mold. Hope thats a south facing window. Keep us posted!

    Bookmark   November 16, 2010 at 10:41PM
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thisisme(az9b)

No advice as I don't have to protect my figs. I just wanted to say it looks like a real Cadillac setup. Really top notch. The tree itself is amazing. You can't buy fig trees of that size anywhere. In a year or two it will be putting out figs on a scale that others have to wait many years for. kudos!!!

    Bookmark   November 16, 2010 at 11:23PM
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johnparav

Thanks for the input guys. I think that insulating the outer perimeter sounds like good advice.
The opening is for accessing the inside of the shed . I was going to use the same material to make a door for the opening. Is there a reason you like the window feature instead wildforager ?
I was considering using light bulbs for heating but also have an electric heater on standby . I have heard that air movement reduces the posibility of mold so the heater may be a better option due to the fan.
The great thing about this structure is that it looks almost like a regular backyard shed and the wife isn't giving me grief.
It takes about 3 hours to put up and about half that to take down. Mind you it took alot longer than that to cut all the pieces to size initially.

John

    Bookmark   November 16, 2010 at 11:33PM
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leon_edmond(z7NM)

Nice set up. What kind of fig tree is it?
Regarding space heaters, last year I bought one at Lowe's for around $20 that has a fan and a thermostat. It was all I needed for my 8X10 shed to keep temps above freezing inside. It hardly made any dent on the electric bill. The only thing I'd be concerned about is having alot of leaves or straw around this heater. If your wall material is pretty insulated, you should be able to use the heater alone. I saw some of those heaters at Lowes today- made by DeLonghi. They were $19 something and look alot better than the brand they carried last year.
I looked into the oil heaters but the idea of a fan and air circulation caught my interest as well.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2010 at 12:13AM
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wildforager(5b-WI)

Hey John,
I was thinking that a window might be good for some solar gain on those sunny days. Now that I think about it that might not be a good idea, it could promote early bud break and if a cold snap comes along that would be a rough one for the tree. Sounds like you have a good plan with just using the hole as an access port. Heater with fan sounds good too but once again too hot could be a problem. Hope you can fine tune the temps in there. Echoing what the others said, nice set up! Really inspiring! Oh yea, have you seen what the mice did to Bass' trees last winter? he posted pics on the forum if you search you'll find them. You might want to add a mouse trap in there.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2010 at 12:42AM
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johnparav

Thanks Thisisme for your kind words.
Leon I do not know what type of fig this is other than it is green and the new owner of the house said they were very good.
I originally went to the property which is in Niagara Falls Ontario in July ( I live in Toronto ) and the tree had atleast 200 figs on it . There were 3 fig trees in total .The other 2 were about 9 feet tall and I dug them out and put them into pots .
The tree in the Figloo was more than twice the size it is now because I had to cut it back alot for transport. It took 4 of us to lift the rootball end into the van .It was atleast 400 pounds in total and was rolled onto a 4 wheel cart then pushed on plywood so the wheels would not sink into the grass.
Adriano from Adrianos Figs gave me plenty of advice and encouraged me to give it a go. The property was originally owned by an older Italian man and Adriano figured that the guy would not go through the trouble of burying the trees every year if they were not good. I have bought 5 trees from Adriano and he has never steered me wrong.
Wildforager I have seen the photos of the mice problem and intend to put mothballs in the shed and maybe traps too.

Thanks for the input and ideas...... John

pics of the 2 other trees

    Bookmark   November 17, 2010 at 7:01PM
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marinfla(10 South Florida)

Wow those are beautiful trees....with the set up you made it should do great. Did the previous owner wrap them or protect them in any way?? Seeing these trees is making me dream of my trees getting bigger!!

    Bookmark   November 22, 2010 at 11:34AM
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fortisi876(Z6NJ)

Hey that reminds me of my old pink insulation igloo hut I made a few yrs back, I think that photo made the fig4fun site. :D

It's a GREAT idea BUT I would be seriously concerned about field mice getting in there for its warm shelter. They WILL eat the bark off the tree like they did mine. I guess the igloo design works so well that they want in!!!

So I'd definitely remember to scatter around some moth balls, maybe grab an old pair of panty hose throw a few in tie a knot and drape around the tree.

BEAUTIFUL TREE btw and good luck!!!!

    Bookmark   November 22, 2010 at 1:40PM
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johnparav

Hey Marinfla

The previous owner would bend over and partially bury the trees then then build a 4 foot high plywood structure over all 3 trees. Unfortunately I had to cut back the 2 smaller trees quite a bit to pot them . But I hope they will come back again next year .
I am also concerned about those dirty little rodents and was considering mothballs but never thought of the pantyhose thing . Thanks Fortisi

John

    Bookmark   November 22, 2010 at 3:04PM
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dieseler

Hi John,
very nice setup i like.
For mice you can use mothballs yes also at some home centers you can get cheap the black plastic corrugated drainage tubes to protect trunk. You have to cut slit and bury a little bit in earth and up a few feet on trunk and duck tape slit.

Note so serious note : Make a little bigger next time and
run electricity to your structure and small heater with TV, microwave and recliner chair and Bam you have it made. ; )
Best Health
Martin

    Bookmark   November 22, 2010 at 5:53PM
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johnparav

Hey Martin ,

I have been reading many of your posts and enjoying many of the photos you have posted over the years . I am glad you like.
I like , the drainage tube idea. Any added protection against those little furballs is worth it. I might just throw a cat in there for the winter.
And as far as my wife is concerned I might as well move in there considering the effort put towards it lately so a recliner sounds good.

John

    Bookmark   November 22, 2010 at 7:38PM
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rich204(6PA)

That is just awesome.......love it.I may make a small one, just to try.

Great idea!!!!

    Bookmark   September 17, 2011 at 7:22AM
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lukeott(7 south jersey)

wow..awesome building. i think if the fig world had access to this material there would be fancy shacks built around all of our figs. really nice job...good health luke

    Bookmark   September 17, 2011 at 6:45PM
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johnparav

My inground tree thrived this year due to making it through the winter unscathed thanks to the figloo . The temps never went below 35f even though it got down to -10f outside without the windchill.
I decided to give the tree a major pruning now that the roots are well established , so there was plenty of room to store other potted trees in there as well . I put 7 full grown trees and about 15 3 gallon pots and a couple rosemary plants in there too.
The only problem I encountered last year was moisture build up that would have caused mold if the door was not opened to air out the structure , so this year I installed a bathroon fan on a timer to come on twice a day for 15 minutes . This will only be necessary during the rainy seasons .

Built walls around tree and plants ;
[IMG]http://i1202.photobucket.com/albums/bb362/johnparav/IMG_2140.jpg[/IMG]

Exhaust fan in top corner ;
[IMG]http://i1202.photobucket.com/albums/bb362/johnparav/IMG_2271.jpg[/IMG]

Inside figloo ;
[IMG]http://i1202.photobucket.com/albums/bb362/johnparav/IMG_2272.jpg[/IMG]

Outside figloo ;
[IMG]http://i1202.photobucket.com/albums/bb362/johnparav/IMG_2274.jpg[/IMG]

A well deserved capuccino after all that hard work ;
[IMG]http://i1202.photobucket.com/albums/bb362/johnparav/IMG_2122.jpg[/IMG]

John

    Bookmark   November 11, 2011 at 5:07PM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

Clickable links to John's photos:

Built walls around tree and plants

Exhaust fan in top corner
http://i1202.photobucket.com/albums/bb362/johnparav/IMG_2271.jpg

Inside figloo

Outside figloo

A well deserved capuccino after all that hard work

Wonderful winter spa for those trees and plants!

    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 1:54PM
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johnparav

Thanks Missingtheobvious for making those links to the pics.
It had been so long since I last posted pics that I forgot how to . The next day I left for vacation and had no time to figure it out .

John

    Bookmark   November 22, 2011 at 7:08AM
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fignewbies

Hi, johnparav:

The figloo you built is just amazing!

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 9:59AM
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