Are my fig cravings over?


The figs I see in the grocery store are always some level of “commercial ripe” this is a stage where the figs are still receiving sap so they bleed profusely when picked. It allows them to stay firm enough to ship, but similar to cantaloupes pulled from the vine too soon they will never be very good. Tree ripe, or the last stage of commercial ripe where there is a small amount of latex or clear sap when picked works best in humid climates, the final stages of ripening are more reliable in drier conditions inside on the counter or in the fridge. I’ve seen lots of people post pictures of figs that have surface mold trying to attain California standards of ripeness in the past, fruit flies are also an issue. Each variety is also different, thick skinned varieties like CdD are more resistant to surface molds and insects, and they ripen late in the season when humidity is usually lower.


I never tried because someone close by planted Smith in a fertile raised bed and didn’t see any fruit at all for 2 years, that is a bad sign for getting fruit after a freeze back. I’d like to hear what @aap says about it though. Rdb is able to ripen fruit after a freeze back but rarely sets any figs early in the season like HC.


All very true, but even here in California all but my most rabid fig enthusiast friends pick them figs at the “commercial ripe” stage or earlier.


I had to convince the farmer I work for to let me pick at tree ripe, or just before when the weather was bad. My argument was something like “why not just buy them from California then”, sampling different stages right off of the tree ended up being what won him over, and the customers seem happy with that (including the ones who don’t like grocery store figs). But it is a fine line, most customers won’t touch them once they have shriveled, so it probably is based on their past experience because by the time a commercial ripe fig shrivels it will be spoiled.


I have always assumed commercial figs are never eaten in their whole form. They are usually processed into some other recipe. Really the only way to make them edible is to bake them and drizzle with honey to compensate.


I just have to share one other photo of a truly ripe California grown Col de Dame Blanc. You can scoop out the inside and it is indistinguishable from jam. After tasting hundreds of fig varieties over the last few years, I’m determined to narrow down the ones I grow to those capable of achieving this state of perfection. I do feel sorry for you all living in climates where mother nature won’t let the figs ripen all the way.


VH/B, never planted R/B’s in the ground, keep them in 20 gl containers on dollies when in the garage for the winter, they are 5 years old now. This coming spring i will put 2 in the ground and maybe more because i am going to grow my citrus tree’s a little different. All my container figtree’s are kept in the upstairs garage but like to leave some of my citrus tree’s in with the figs for a 2 months rest period than put in the workshop comes February to start growing.


You’ve got some beautiful tree’s Bob.


Juju, very nice observation, I go along with you. That,s why I grow mine so that the roots travel freely in the ground through the large drain holes, by doing it this way the roots will pick up more micro,s.


Wait. You haul those up a one story flight of steps?!?!


No Anne, everything here is mechanized, everything is either homemade for heavy hauling.


nice operation you have there. Seems like you have mango included in that menagerie :+1:


Mango with several grafts and Atemoya, i don’t know what else.


I love figs and have about a dozen varieties, all grown from cuttings. Other than their great flavor, I think one of the attractions to figs is how easy they are to propagate.

After almost 20 years of growing them here in maritime Pacific NW climate, I felt confident saying they are usually trouble free and productive here.

However, this year we had a plague of yellow jackets. Those insects attacked almost every fig, tunneling through them. Sometimes I would pick a fig then several yellow jackets would exit the fruit.

By end of breba season, they had destroyed hundreds of figs, leaving me only a handful. It was disheartening, to see such a lush crop, all destroyed.

I put out traps, emptying them regularly. Based on the markings on the traps, I disposed of hundreds of yellow jackets.

By fall, their numbers were greatly reduced. I got a modest main crop, but never got a taste this year of Lattarula, Carini, King, and only a few Smith and Sicilian White. My Brunswick never does well, but this year it had a fair crop, all destroyed by yellow jackets. They also got all of the LSU Tiger and Champagne. Petite Negri had an off year. I had a Hardy Chicago at a different location, and got a fair late crop of those, enough for some batches of jelly.

I used to say figs were trouble free here, but those yellow jackets changed the equation. I will put out traps early in 2019 and change the bait regularly. Maybe that will help.


You cannot do it for every fig, but for your favorites you can put organza bags over them. Do it before they start to change color or get too big, it’ll keep out most insects, deter most birds, but not the four-legged critters. I lost a few early figs to birds, but once I put bags over my figs I only lost one as it was knocked/fell-off the tree and then was trampled by the dogs.


This year I lost 80% of my Desert King breba crop to SWD. They got into the figs and spoiled them. I had to pick over 50 lbs of rotting figs and dispose of the foul smelling fruit.

They continued to attack my main crop figs as well but I managed to get a decent crop that wasn’t fully spoiled. Next year I may not be as lucky.

Any ideas on how to keep SWD away?


I find that keeping them picked helps
Not letting any over ripe ones hang around. Or fall to the ground.
I keep a jug with soapy water tied to the bush, and put over ripe Figs in it as a trap .seams to help.


Also disposal of the fruit.
I feed them to chickens.
They won’t make it through a chicken alive.
Putting in a compost pile ,etc. they just hatch out.
Putting fruit in a sealed plastic bag in the sun will kill them.
Then add to compost


@Ramv, I think this year I will try spinosads. Others will hopefully chime in regarding effectiveness. I had SWD late in the season on blackberries. I am not an expert with this spray. Spinosad fact sheet. Some forms are organic.


Thanks @Bear_with_me, @Hillbillyhort
I will try a combination of Spinosads and sugar/yeast solution. Apparently they are much more effective than just Vinegar. Maybe the fermenting fruit suggested by @Hillbillyhort is going to do exactly this.