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Beginner Fruit: Celeste Fig Tree question

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PhyllisJ
Johnson City, TN
(Zone 6b)

July 2, 2012
6:54 AM

Post #9189699

I purchased a very small Celeste Fig last summer and placed it in a pot. In the fall, I transplanted it into a large tree pot and put in the ground. Is this the average size for the first full season or what do I need to do to help it along? I fertilized it in early spring and have been adding a small amount of Miracle Gro when I water it. It is beginning to fruit and I have quite a few figs for such a small tree. I need to protect it this winter. What is the best way short of taking the pot out of the ground? I was given figs last year and enjoyed them so much that I hope this tree will get big enough fruit to make preserves by next year.
I am in zone 6. Thanks so much for any help.

Thumbnail by PhyllisJ   Thumbnail by PhyllisJ
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NatureLover1950
Vicksburg, MS
(Zone 8a)

July 5, 2012
6:27 AM

Post #9193669

I have a Celeste that's about 7 years old now and is approximately 15 feet tall and 20 feet wide. Yours looks very good for what I assume is a roughly 3-year-old tree. I planted all of my figs (one Celeste and four Brown Turkeys) out in my yard. The first two years they died all the way back to the roots but put up new growth in the spring. Now they just drop their leaves in the fall. Fig trees will get a fairly extensive root system so I'm not sure how long you'll be able to keep it in a pot. Also, my figs all bear a heavy crop every year. At fours years old, I got just enough to make fig jam. By five years I had enough to make fig jam and preserves. Now I get so many I take what I need from the bottom and leave the top third for the birds :-} Celeste is a smaller fig than Brown Turkey but sweeter--I love them. BTW, when your fig tree gets bigger, you can pin one of the lower limbs to the ground or a pot of soil and leave it for about a year and it will put down roots. You can cut that off and have another tree.
PhyllisJ
Johnson City, TN
(Zone 6b)

July 5, 2012
6:16 PM

Post #9194597

Thanks Nature Lover for the information. The weather here has been in the low hundreds and the tree is surviving quite well so far. How long does it take the fruit to ripen and when is the best time to plant the tree directly in the ground? I do not know anyone in our area with a fig tree to compare. I did lose all the leaves last winter.
NatureLover1950
Vicksburg, MS
(Zone 8a)

July 6, 2012
12:15 PM

Post #9195486

I just checked my Celeste yesterday and found that it had ripe figs on it :-) I took a small bucket out and picked about three dozen--not bad for the first pick of the season. Once they start ripening, they will hit pretty fast and furious--I check mine every day. I have a plastic owl that I perch on a tee post hubby drove into the ground for me. He does a pretty fair job of keeping the birds at bay. They do learn to sneak in from the far side though. The first tree I planted (brown turkey) was in the spring but I had fits trying to keep it watered enough to keep it alive. The next tree I planted happened to be my Celeste which I planted in the early fall. I kept it watered and, when the temps began to cool down, I mulched it real good with compost. When it came back out in the spring, I had one limb that had died so I pruned it and the tree did great. I still kept it well watered though to help it get through our very hot summer. As stated above, now it's 15X20 and loaded with figs.
BTW, that nasty heat dome is slowly lifting north and we're getting some relief (high nineties instead of 100's). Has it begun to leave your neck of the woods yet? It's been just miserable. We actually got a tenth of rain yesterday--the first in over a month!
PhyllisJ
Johnson City, TN
(Zone 6b)

July 6, 2012
8:32 PM

Post #9195999

It has been in 100's here too. No rain for 3 months. We go to the lake and get water for our plants, pond and garden. I have been watering my fig on a regular basis. For such a small tree, it is loaded with figs. Yesterday we got our first rain and it was a doozy. High winds and heavy rain. Later today, I noticed a deer ate the tops off of my okra. Seems everything else was untouched. I have never known deer to be in our area before. I made a make shift semi dome around the Fig on the side that gets sun. I am hoping it will protect it from the sun. I will send you a pic and see if it was a good idea. Thanks for all your input.
NatureLover1950
Vicksburg, MS
(Zone 8a)

July 7, 2012
7:43 AM

Post #9196369

After three months of no rain, all of the vegetation will be tough so I'm sure things that are being watered are going to be very attractive to the deer. They'll travel a ways to find a choice salad bar. If they hang around, they'll help themselves to your figs too. They're sweet and deer have a definite sweet tooth. I have an electric fence around my flowerbeds because they used to come right up to the house to eat my day lilies.
Protecting your fig tree from scorching heat is probably a good idea since it's in a pot. I think you're really going to like your figs--Celeste is a real good fig. I picked another few dozen yesterday evening. I'll bet yours will begin ripening soon. This heat is supposed to be gone by Monday and "cooler" temps are in the forecast :-} Right now 89 is looking downright cool to me!
PhyllisJ
Johnson City, TN
(Zone 6b)

July 7, 2012
8:41 AM

Post #9196439

Here is what I did for a temporary fix on the sun to protect the roots. It looks crowded in the pic but it isn't. There is plenty of room for air circulation. Do you think this will help?

Thumbnail by PhyllisJ
Click the image for an enlarged view.

NatureLover1950
Vicksburg, MS
(Zone 8a)

July 7, 2012
4:52 PM

Post #9197041

LOL! That looks great compared to some of the temporary shade I've rigged for flowers that needed protection from the sun! Has it been wilting? It looks like it's very healthy. I think you'll be enjoying some figs before long :-) I just picked another half bucket from my Celeste and will be making my first batch of fig jam tomorrow. BTW, when your figs start to ripen, you could just gently put some netting over the top of your sun shield and keep the birds from stealing your figs--looks like you could attach it to that frame with a few thumb tacks.
PhyllisJ
Johnson City, TN
(Zone 6b)

July 7, 2012
6:51 PM

Post #9197177

That is the top to a archway I am currently not using lol. I just attached burlap to it. No it isn't wilting yet. I just thought it would be a good idea for protection of the roots. As you can see the hugh pot is buried in the ground. I guess the best time to transplant it into the ground would be this fall. I read somewhere that they do best in pots for the first couple of years in our region. (NE Tennessee) I do have netting I use for my blueberries. Okay, this is a really dumb question. Once they ripen do I just gently clean them and eat? I am sure I won't have enough at one time to make anything this year. I made jam with some a friend gave me last year. She already had them ready for use.
NatureLover1950
Vicksburg, MS
(Zone 8a)

July 8, 2012
8:50 AM

Post #9197705

I believe in the old saying that the only dumb question is the one you don't ask :-) The only "pests" that bother my figs are the birds and they don't take too many so, naturally, they're organic. I do just rinse them and eat them fresh. Mine are out in the yard where they're exposed to the bird traffic so I pick them when they're just beginning to soften. Some folks believe you should wait till they fall from the tree but by then they're likely to have already been half eaten by the birds. They will continue to soften and even get sweeter after they've been picked. Even though you may not get to make any jam this year, you'll enjoy eating them fresh--they're so good!
Clever use of that archway!
jomoncon
New Orleans, LA
(Zone 9a)

July 9, 2012
4:30 AM

Post #9198600

[quote="NatureLover1950"]I believe in the old saying that the only dumb question is the one you don't ask :-) The only "pests" that bother my figs are the birds and they don't take too many so, naturally, they're organic. I do just rinse them and eat them fresh. Mine are out in the yard where they're exposed to the bird traffic so I pick them when they're just beginning to soften. Some folks believe you should wait till they fall from the tree but by then they're likely to have already been half eaten by the birds. They will continue to soften and even get sweeter after they've been picked. Even though you may not get to make any jam this year, you'll enjoy eating them fresh--they're so good!
Clever use of that archway![/quote]

Do you know you can freeze your figs until you have enough to make jam? I have a black jack fig tree that I planted 2 years ago. It makes HUGE figs, but only 4-5 a day. So I quarter the ripe figs, but them in a zipper bag with as much air pressed out as possible & freeze them. Every day I add to the bag until it's full, and start a new bag. I keep going until I have enough for a batch of jig preserves. About a month ago, I finally got around to cooking the figs I froze last summer, and the preserves came out delicious.
Jo-Ann
NatureLover1950
Vicksburg, MS
(Zone 8a)

July 9, 2012
5:41 AM

Post #9198655

Jo-Ann,
My Celeste and brown turkey trees overrun me with figs :-) I just made my first batch of fig jam for this year--got 10 pints. Do you know the name of your black fig tree? Are the figs sweet? I've seen black figs but never tasted them. The brown turkey puts out huge figs too but the skin is tough so I have to remove it to make jam. Do you leave the skin on your black figs when you make jam? I wonder if freezing would cause the skins to split thereby making them easier to remove--I'll have to give it a try. Thanks for the suggestion.
Marleine
PhyllisJ
Johnson City, TN
(Zone 6b)

July 9, 2012
6:57 AM

Post #9198790

I read somewhere that figs wouldn't finish ripening once off the vine. It is good to know they will. The freezing is a great idea. Does the celeste put out fruit only once a year? I really appreciate everyones input. I can't wait till my fig tree gets big enough to stock up on preserves.
jomoncon
New Orleans, LA
(Zone 9a)

July 9, 2012
9:02 AM

Post #9198997

Naturelover, My fig tree is a Blackjack fig that I purchased through BayFlora:
http://www.bayflora.com/bjfig.html,

The figs are not really black, but a very dark purple. This is a picture of 2 of them from last year & they're just as big this year. They are really, really sweet. I'm more accustomed to Celeste and brown turkey figs, so these came as a complete surprise to me.

The skin of them are a little tough. When I canned them last year, I peeled them completely. Then I froze some. We tried to peel the frozen ones, but they were pretty much mush. So I just decided to try them with the skins on. They came out great. No discernible peelings. So this year, I'm not going to peel at all.

Try a small batch of figs with the skin on and see how it comes out.

Thumbnail by jomoncon
Click the image for an enlarged view.

JoParrott
Richland, WA
(Zone 7b)

July 9, 2012
9:11 AM

Post #9199007

I am so envious- does anyone have a rooted cutting of a Celeste fig they would sell me? I want a fig tree so much!
NatureLover1950
Vicksburg, MS
(Zone 8a)

July 9, 2012
1:26 PM

Post #9199325

Phyllis,
Celeste does only put out a crop once a year but, after the tree gets big, what a crop it is!! Mine is loaded and I normally pick figs every day for 2 to 3 weeks. I only have one tree and I'm glad I didn't plant a second--I'd be totally overrun with figs :-)

Jo-Ann,
WOW! Those figs have some serious size to them! I'm going to have to order one. It shouldn't take too many of those to make a batch of jam. I have to peel the brown turkeys because of the latex between the skin and the pulp. I didn't peel the ones from the first batch I made and the latex just ruined the flavor. If they are allowed to get real ripe, the latex layer disappears but by then the birds will have eaten the fig. Since you don't have to peel the black figs, I wonder if I could run them through my food mill. If I get a Blackjack to grow and produce, I think I'll try it. How ironic that it's named Blackjack. I lived in Arkansas when my daughter was very young and she had a favorite "climbing tree," a Blackjack oak. She cried for months when we moved here and we didn't bring her tree with us :-) She's 39 now and we all get a good laugh when we remember that.

JoParrott,
I don't have a Celeste that's rooted but I'm willing to try to root one for you. But only on the condition that you let me just send it to you. If I took money, it would take all the joy of sharing right out of it :-) If you would like me to try, I'll run a search to see what I need to do to root one. I know with the brown turkey, all I have to do is pin a limb to the ground but I'm not sure about the Celeste. LMK if you'd like me to try.
PhyllisJ
Johnson City, TN
(Zone 6b)

July 9, 2012
4:25 PM

Post #9199497

Jo, Those figs are hugh. Wow, wouldn't take many of them for preserves. I don't think the BlackJack would grow in my area but I am sure going to look into it.

JoP, I will try a rooting as well. I have always believed it is bad luck for me to sell one of my cuttings or seeds. I love to share with others. If it is successful, you are welcome to it. While on that subject, how do I package and mail root cuttings? I wouldn't want to mail one and it be dead lol.
JoParrott
Richland, WA
(Zone 7b)

July 9, 2012
5:12 PM

Post #9199578

Thank you both for offering to root some cuttings- or you could just send me some cuttings and I can try rooting them. At this time of year that would probably be the best way. I have been a grower in a nursery and I have the basic knowledge and equipment. I will DMail you both--
lukeott
Carneys Point, NJ

August 27, 2012
7:24 AM

Post #9255285

Hello PhyllisJ, I am wondering what color the skin is on ripe figs, also the color of your pulp. The reason I ask is, I think the tree was mislabeled. I am pretty new to growing figs and have difficulty identifing leaf shape, so not positive. A picture of ripe fruit whole and one sliced in half from top to bottom will help identify.


luke
PhyllisJ
Johnson City, TN
(Zone 6b)

August 28, 2012
8:31 PM

Post #9257795

lukeott
I will see if there are ripe figs in the morning and post a pic. The Celeste is just now beginning to ripen. Post a pic of your fig if you can.
cytf
Staten Island, NY

September 4, 2012
5:08 PM

Post #9265010

I will be getting some cuttings of the purple figs in about 2 weeks , I do not know if I should root them indoors or outdoors in a large pot since I live in zone 6.
PhyllisJ
Johnson City, TN
(Zone 6b)

September 4, 2012
11:03 PM

Post #9265395

Celeste need to be protected in zone 6. I would suggest you try indoors. I did get a few figs today but mine aren't near as big as jomoncon's. My tree is still small so I am not getting alot of figs this year. The pic isn't very good. I put them in the freezer till I get more to make jam but you can get an idea of what they look like. They are just beginning to ripen. My tree is still to young for a cutting perhaps next season.

Thumbnail by PhyllisJ
Click the image for an enlarged view.

lukeott
Carneys Point, NJ

October 1, 2012
7:11 AM

Post #9291944

PhyllisJ, This fig is not Celeste. It has been mislabeled, which happens a lot. Not quite sure what it is, but know its not Celeste.
cytf, I went to staten island for a fig fest a couple weeks ago. It was a two hour ride for me, but had a great time. I forget the name of the park we were at, but it was right on the atlantic ocean. If you can get your cuttings after the tree goes dormant, you can put in zip lock baggie and store in fridge. Make sure it's not put where it would freeze, some fridges have cold spots. They will store for almost a year, but better used with in a couple monthes.

luke
JoParrott
Richland, WA
(Zone 7b)

October 1, 2012
8:38 AM

Post #9292074

I am still wanting to get some FIG cuttings- I will be happy to pay for them. I really want to have a small potted fig that I can protect through our winters. I had contacted a couple of DGrs about them, but haven't heard anything lately.
Plancton
zones 10 to 11
United States

November 13, 2012
2:21 PM

Post #9332317

How nice to see so many Fig trees out there! I do have 2 small ones which I manage to do from cuttings. They are still veeeery small but hopefully they'll get established and soon after I'll be savoring one more fruit at my garden. If by any chance anyone wants to trade some fig cuttings check my list and maybe you'll find something you're interested in.
cytf
Staten Island, NY

November 15, 2012
10:26 AM

Post #9333904

Hi Lukeott. I checked on line and I saw the system of putting the cuttings in the fridge , so I have some there right now . I will let you know the outcome next spring. I never heard about the fig fest, let me know earlier next year so maybe we can meet.
cytf
Staten Island, NY

November 15, 2012
10:33 AM

Post #9333908

Hi JoParrot, I have a few extra cuttings ,lets keep in touch I could mail you some
lukeott
Carneys Point, NJ

November 19, 2012
11:01 AM

Post #9337219

Hi All, Would like to trade cuttings with anyone that wants to trade. I prefer to trade cuttings from trees that have went dormant already. Meaning the leaves have dropped. This way the wood has hardened and much easier to work with. Also would prefer them to be fresh cut, not started to root. The reason behind that, don't want the cuttings with the energy already used. Phyllis, I would like to trade with you if possible. I have a Celeste if you want cuttings of real one. The problem with Celeste for me is, it drops many figs before ripening. It taste great, but loses to much fruit. I have others to trade that you will like. My e-mail address lukeott@comcast.net Please put fig in title, or it will be put in spam box.


luke
estherogen
New York, NY

September 27, 2014
8:20 PM

Post #9949015

Is anybody in NYC willing to share cuttings from a productive self-pollinating fig tree? I would like to grow some in containers! Happy to meet at any subway stop. Have some cuttings and succulents available for trade.

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