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Wow, that's a lot of types of figs, Larry! I know I saw a lot of varieties when researching them, a couple of years ago, to see if it would be ok to plant one around here, and it seemed that most would need covered in this area. I saw the Chicago Hardy, that probably doesn't really need covered here (at least in mild winters, like this one, when we got just one day down to 17° briefly), but I covered it these first two winters - I just planted 2 "cuttings" in spring of '22, and only one really took off last season, and the other I eventually pulled. I really didn't pay much attention to them - probably would have done better, had I not ignored it so much! Planted out behind my shed, where I plant the "weed" herbs.
Years ago, when I got my first fig tree, I didnt pay attention to what variety it was. Honestly, I didn't realize how many there were. I figured a fig tree is a fig tree. I've had the dark purplish figs and white/ yellow figs( which I preferred ). So to me, there were 2 varieties . Then, like you, I started researching, and are across the Chicago hardy, and ran out and got one. It would produce, but as mentioned before , they wouldn't fully ripen ( I needed a few more weeks, which is what happened to my dads tree). Then I came across an article on wrapping figs, and started to do that, and still couldn't get the extra few weeks I needed for the figs to ripen. at this point, sit became a challenge I was determined to conquer. I joined the online local fig group. I figured ( no pun intended) that hooking up with a group that is local would be the best source to learn from. They even have a biannual ' Fig Fest" where we all gather, educate, trade and sell fig trees/ cuttings). Thats when I learned about the unlimited varieties out there, their pros and cons .... That his also when I started keeping many varieties in pots, which is a pain in the butt, bu tit works. keeping them watered so they dont dry out, and having a place to putt them in the winter are the biggest challenges. I still have several in the ground which I wrap, always looking for new and better ways to do it that would extend the season for them. I ve seen cardboard. burlap wraps, insulation wraps, people building structures around them... Ive never had one fully die from the cold, but last year, although a relatively mild winter, we had a week of very cold temps ( in the teens) and that was enough to do some decent damage to the branches. I was able to prune them off once unwrapped, but it set them back a bit. Another year, I was trying to be clever and add my own twist to wrapping them, and I didnt leave a vent for moisture/ humidity to escape. Sure enough, a lot of the branches got moldy and died. Didn't kill them, but a set back. This year I wrapped 4, left another 4 or 5 unwrapped ( they have bizarre shapes ( cause I didnt prune them properly in the last) that make it difficult to wrap. The unwrapped ones are looking pretty good actually ( we only had 1 or 2 days that were really cold). I didn't unwrap the others yet , although some in the fig group have started unwrapping this past weekend. My guess I'll unwrap tin the next week or two depending om the extended forecast . As far as the potted ones go, the ones from the cuttings I made , I have so many that Im experimenting with them. I really have nothing to lose, so Some I just moved outside with no protection, others in the make shift green house, some in the garage opening the door on nice days . They are all guinnea pigs to help me find the best methods moving forward. Having a science background, experimenting with them is really fun for me, so Im getting a kick out of it, but my main goal is the predictably and reliably get figs each year from both potted and in ground plants , by skill, and no just by luck.
As I read this I keep visualizing the garage and backyard of the guy I got my tree from in St Lazare, Quebec. He sold various aged trees, but probably all from the same parent(s). He had many, many trees in his back yard that were huge - he would build a frame, cover it with heavy plastic for the winters. The rest were either portable or more easily covered for the winter. He told they they are good to about 40 F - but 45 F was best.
He sold them to Nursery's mostly. But I have no idea of the type - just that they were very prolific.
A friend of mine is sending me two little fig tree starts, chicago fig. I'll take any advice on them. We're at 43 degrees latitude, so probably they'll go in pots to be brought into the garage over winter?
Wisconsin winters! LOL, for sure yes, inside for the winter or anywhere they won't go into a freeze - perhaps a garage? or shed up against the house?
Quebec winters are similar to Wisconsin, so I don't know why they survive at that guys place.
A friend of mine is sending me two little fig tree starts, chicago fig. I'll take any advice on them. We're at 43 degrees latitude, so probably they'll go in pots to be brought into the garage over winter?
Thats probably the most predictable, especially if you want figs. There is a good chance they can survive the winters, but likely die back down to the roots and have to start over each year from the ground. Thats kinda like what happened with my dads ( even after wrapping them).

The ones in pots I leave outside until December. They loose their leaves ( which is normal). I then bring them in the garage ( and this year in the shed too, jury is till out on the shed since it's the first year im doing it). My garage usually doesnt get below 50 ( its insulated) but when talking to one of the fig guys ( who know what they're doing), he said they should be in temps lower than that during the winter(above freezing, but below 40). My shed is just a shed. It protects them from the elements, but ultimately gets as cold as it does outside. They should also be in complete darkness during the winter months.

Just about this time is when the people who know what they are doing start ' waking up' their potted figs. Many have green houses, so basically, they take the dark covering off the greenhouses and boost the heat a bit ( 50's - 60's). eventually when the outside conditions match the inside conditions, outside they go.

Since I dont have a green house, I leave my garage open on nice days so they can catch some sun. I made a crappy green house like structure heated with Christmas lights, more to take the edge off on cold nights). I do have some potted figs that are not as cold hardy as the Chicago hardy ones, so those I will baby for longer .

As far as the in ground ones, I know as a fact one is Chicago hardy, the others I couldn't tell you. They are still wrapped, although about %50 of the people on the fig forum are unwrapping them. My guess is I'll unwrap them within the next week or two. Some unwrapped them and on cold nights cover them with blankets , or whatever . I cant spend my time running around my yard covering every plant that needs to be covered on a cold night, so Im just waiting for more ideal conditions. Im banking more on the potted figs which I have a little bit more control of. Others are dragging them in and out of the garage for more direct sun. I also don't have the time to do that. It was hard enough for me to squeeze them into the garage in December.

Its amazing how quick fig trees grow under ideal conditions.
Kale and Arugula not only survived the last snow fall ( being completely covered for over a week), but with the warmer temps we had the past few days, are actually thriving. Garlic is about 3 - 6 inches tall. Planted some scallion root ends in a planter. I did notice my outdoor shiitake logs are starting to show evident of producing. Have also been collecting sap from the maple tree and freezing it. When I get enough I'll make my annual 3 Tbs of syrup.


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A friend of mine is sending me two little fig tree starts, chicago fig. I'll take any advice on them. We're at 43 degrees latitude, so probably they'll go in pots to be brought into the garage over winter?

How large do fig trees grow up North? The tree we had in East Texas was a good 20 feet tall, so it would never work in a pot, or fit in the garage.

How large do fig trees grow up North? The tree we had in East Texas was a good 20 feet tall, so it would never work in a pot, or fit in the garage.

There are several varieties and cultivars of fig trees. The variety you had probably wouldn't survive in Wisconsin, but there are more cold-hardy types and even dwarf varieties that can live in pots.
of the varieties I have, the largest one got to about 10 - 12 feet ( in ground).
Of my potted trees, the largest is about 6 feet.
When pruned, at least 1/3 to 1/2 is removed.
The one that was 12 feet, literally doubled in sized during the season.
One I started from an 8 inch stick in November, got t0 2 feet in 2 months
In many cases, the figs form off the new growth ( see do produce off older wood and some have double crops old wood then new wood). In my case, most produce off of new wood, so pruning them heavily allows for new growth and more figs.
Although it may sound like I know what Im talking about, Im basically a parrot repeating what ive learned in the fig group. Im still in the beginning / experimental mode with my own experiences.
This guy in Quebec had several trees near the house that reached the 2nd floor. Those are the ones that he built frames for during the winter and covered with plastic. Others farther away in the yard also had frames around them - looked like a jungle back there! It was great!
He also had all the sprouting twigs in the garage of various ages. 2 yrs, 3 yrs, and so on. Like you Larry he would open the garage door to start hardening them off or a last shot of sunshine before the dark of winter.
Have no idea how he "darkened" around the trees that stayed outside. Maybe by that time they didn't need it, being more mature.
I just noticed all of the branches on that fig tree have developing leaves on them. I might cover it again Monday and Tuesday nights, because it is forecast to get close to freezing those nights. After these days in the 70s, the first day of spring is forecast to only be 45° - 7° below average!

My garlic is going crazy! And even that new variety of mine - Bogotyr - which was behind all the rest, has pretty much caught up, and even the empty spaces filled in, all but one, and in the photo you can see how dark green and large the left 3 rows are, which is the Bogotyr. I'll have to look closer, once it gets less muddy out there, but there are a couple of very small plants of some of the others, which I might pull, and put an onion set in those, and any empty spots. All Estonian reds came up, all but one Music, and all but 3 Georgian Fires, and 2 of them may have appeared, but only about an inch, compared those others now.
Garlic on 3-15. Took off with all the rain I've been getting, and the new Bogotyr really caught up with the others! by pepperhead212, on Flickr
@pepperhead212 our garlic is up too! About 4 inches over the mulch, SE Wisconsin. It's all russian red. I'm looking forward to our fresh garlic this summer. 12 rows of about 32-33, most of them made it. It was an easy winter for them.
So I just apparently, most potted fig trees can be kept in a 10 - 15 gallon pot, but at some point would need root pruning and he obvious branch pruning annually. It takes a little time for them to reach that point.
Good to know Larry - that makes me much more hopefully of success with a little tree of my own!
@pepperhead212 Nice that your outdoor figs are ' waking up' . I force my indoor and sheltered ones to wake up inside. the outdoor ones, although look vital, still a little cold up here. Your garlic has a few inches on mine. I guess the 100+ miles south really makes a difference . What zone are you in ? we're 7a up here.
I got my rosemary, oregano, and thyme planted. My basil is in a big pot outside, that can be moved as needed as the summer heat gets more intense.

I also tilled the small area of lawn that I have, and put new seed down. Tall Fescue in the backyard due to the shade. Bermudagrass in a sunny area of the front yard.

I'll try to snap some pictures over the weekend.

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