I think this is an excelent idea.
It might be nice to have a topic in the reference section explaining short and in detail what all the commen terms mean.
Maybe we could use this topic as a “trial” and collect feedback/improve text. Until we are sure it’s “good” and than move it into a separate topic in the reference section, that’s clean of discussion, and just contains explanations of all the terms.
I’m not as experienced as others in the fig department. So please correct me if I’m wrong or incomplete.
Breba crop are figs growing on last years shoots. (thus shoots making leaves for the 2e time = 2e leaf)
- they tend to ripen earlier, and thus are used in colder/shorter growing seasons.
- not all figs give a breba crop.
- you prune to retain roughly 50%.
new shoots (1e leaf going into second leaf) will give breba next year.
you thus prune away branches that have breba fruited and will go into 3e leaf next season.
are the figs that grow on shoots that grew this year.
- they usually ripen later, end of summer/fall.
- some main crop figs need a special wasp for pollination to fruit.
- you can yearly prune everything back to the framework of the tree.
Fig, Breba and Main Crop.
There are many varieties or species of fig. And they have different fruiting habits.
Breba (Figs produced on last years growth)
Some fig plants form the start of the fig fruit end of summer/fall and grow that fig large over spring. This fruit crop we call the Breba crop. They are:
- figs produced on last years growth
- and usually ripen mid summer.
- Since this breba crop ripens earlier than the Main Crop, this is the most reliable crop for colder or shorter seasons.
- the breba crop fruits can be a different size shapoe or have a different colour than the main crop.
- When it ripens properly, the main crop is usually considered superior in quality. However, since the breba crop ripens earlier in the summer, during higher temperatures and sunshine. In climates where the main crop does not ripen well. the breba’s are superior due to the ripening time.
- Not all figs produce breba crops.
- as far as I’m aware breba figs don’t need pollination.
Main crop (Figs produced on this years growth)
The fig tree also produces figs on the shoots that grow this year. These figs are the Main crop figs. They are
- usually larger and superior to breba, but only if the season is long enough for them to properly ripen.
- they harvest later than breba, usually end of summer and fall.
- some figs produce only a main crop.
- some figs need a special fig wasp for the main crop to fruit.
Edible figs as we know them, are purely female flowers.
But some of those don’t fruit without pollination from a special fig wasp.
This wasp is dependent on caprifigs. Caprifigs are figs that produce hermaphrodite fig flowers. These caprifigs are usually not good for eating by us. And are found on a different fig plant from the edible varieties.
The fig wasp is born in a caprifig, and when leaving the caprifig takes with her some pollen from the male part of the caprifig.
And then fly’s to either
another caprifig, where she lays eggs for the lifecycle to start over again.
or to a female flower fig (those we eat) where she can enter the fig fruit, and pollinate it. But won’t be able to lay eggs that hatch into new wasps. Here she dies and is absorbed by the fig fruit.
Pruning for breba or main crop.
Figs keep producing well, even without pruning. So if you have the space you could just let it grow bigger and bigger. For most of us, this is impractical though. And we have a defined amount of space we can fill and thus have to prune back. How we prune can affect how many braba or main crop figs we get.
More main crop (less or no breba)
Since the main crop is formed on shoots growing this year, to increase the main crop on a fig tree that has to be pruned to size, you tend to create a permanent framework. And prune back to that framework each year. So you basically have a permanent framework of branches that keep getting older. And the rest are new shoots. You have practically no 2 year old wood on the tree. (with 2 year old, i mean branches that go into second leaf)
More breba (or breba combined with main crop)
Since the breba is formed on 2 year old wood (second time a leaf grows from the shoot). If we want to increase the breba crop we need more 2 year old wood. Since wood can only get to 2 years old after it has been 1 year old, we thus also need 1 year old wood.
Thus we prune back to the permanent multi year old “framework” and opposed to main crop pruning. We prune all branches that have had a breba crop or will go into their 3e leaf next season. (these branches will consist of the bottom half 2 year old wood, and top half new shoot)
and thin the 1 year old shoots that come from the framework to proper spacing. Those will fruit next year, and will be pruned away after fruiting to make space for new 1 year old shoots.