The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Fig dormancy

Goat eating fig

We live on the edge of the fig-growing region, even if you choose a super hardy variety. So it was no big surprise that both of our trees died back to the ground last year despite being swaddled in leaf-filled tarps.

That said, I got to wondering whether my trees might not be a little more winter hardy if I Covered figsmade 100% sure they hit full dormancy before they were covered. So rather than protecting our figs right around the time of our first frost, I instead waited a solid month until every leaf had drifted to the ground. Then I let Artemesia pluck off all of the baby figs to make sure they wouldn't promote fungal growth where I didn't want it. (Yes, my darling doeling really will eat the figs and not the bark...if I stand there with my hand on her leash and mind her.)

Then, finally, I cut back the trees to a few main trunks, built an enclosure to fill with leaves, and topped the whole thing off with a tarp apiece. It's a long shot, but maybe the top growth will survive this winter and give us the larger, early crop rather than just a few late figs in October.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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I think I commented on this way back when you first posted your fig freeze protection post. This comes from years of old world knowledge with figs. Yes I would wait till they fully deleaf and bend them down and cover with tarps/plastic and top with mulch/light garden soil well. My late uncle did this for decades with variety's that aren't very hardy.
Comment by Marco Fri Nov 20 20:57:18 2015
Marco --- Usually, I figure the trunks are too big to be easily bendable. But after being completely winterkilled to the ground last year, we could have easily done that with this year's growth. Unfortunately, I forgot about the method! :-) Maybe next year....
Comment by anna Sat Nov 21 10:20:04 2015

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