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

Winter protection for a young fig tree

Tie fig branches

Bag of leavesI don't know if the distinction is variety or age, but Celeste went dormant over a week ago, while Chicago Hardy is still in the act of losing his leaves.  I figured I'd go ahead and protect our fig youngster just in case cold weather comes calling before our elder fig is ready.

Since I read up a bit on fig cold protection, I've decided to tweak my technique a bit.  I started out by tying the stems on the young fig tree together so they'll stay in the center of my insulation, then I stuffed a cat food bag with freshly raked autumn leaves.

Protecting fig

Mashing the leaves a bit opened up a hole in the center, which let me drop the leaf-filled bag on top of the little fig tree.

Tie fig bag

I tied the bag at the base to hold it in place and used the rest of my leaves to mulch the bed heavily.

Fall fig tree

I'll keep my eye on Celeste to see if the bag starts to come loose --- I was tempted to push in a metal fence post to tie the bag to, but figured I might not need it.  I'm hopeful this method will work better than my previous one since the cat food bag should keep the leaves dry and in place.  We won't know for sure until May!

Our chicken waterer is the POOP-free alternative to traditional, filthy waterers.

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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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The little fig is protected but what about the big fig. I have a turkey fig in zone 7 do you prune it? I just heavy mulched it but now that its big how do you prune it or do I even bother?
Comment by Adrianna Sat Nov 3 10:50:35 2012
Adrianna --- You're a zone warmer than us, so you may or may not need to protect your fig. We'll be cutting down the larger fig and protecting it too (stay tuned for details in a later post), but it needs to lose its leaves first.
Comment by anna Sat Nov 3 13:39:44 2012
Do you have anything to use as a cane or stick to push it next to the little tree instead of a metal stake. They are sturdy and are less likely to damage anything. To me, metal stakes and plants don't mix.
Comment by Vester Stevens Sat Nov 3 15:51:15 2012
Vester --- We've actually had really good luck using metal fence posts (and rebar) in our vegetable garden. The posts last forever and are extremely sturdy --- much better than the bamboo stakes I've used. The only minor problem would be if they cut through a root, but you could have the same issue when driving anything else into the ground.
Comment by anna Sat Nov 3 16:09:35 2012
I know someone who lives near Cleveland Ohio that planted Chicago fig and turkey fig. He said the Chicago died back to the root every year, but the other one reached the power lines last year.
Comment by Anonymous Sun Apr 28 08:25:15 2013

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