I've got a number of potted fig trees of different unidentified
varieties which I overwinter in a cold cellar. Every spring they start
to produce figs before leaves, but in early summer they drop these figs,
and form a main crop later in the season.
The problem is that summers here are fairly short, and not always very
hot. The figs that ripen first are good, but the later ones, that
ripen during colder weather, are bland and dry. Most years I get some
of each. In hot summers I get enough delicious figs to keep me hoping,
and in cool summers, like the one just past, I have to watch a heavy
fruit set turn into dry hard tasteless figs that even the squirrels
don't bother with.
I did, however, get one excellent fig this summer. It was the sole
breba fruit that didn't drop, from a Brown Turkey type tree, my best
producer. It was ready in early August, and it was delicious.
What I'd like to know is whether it's possible to induce the trees to
retain their breba crop, so I can have figs ripening in the hotter
weather. I'm willing to pick off all the main crop figs as they form.
Since the trees are in pots, it's not too difficult to control the
amount of water and fertilizer they get. For that matter, I can keep
them in the dark cellar longer too, although unless they are dry, they
start growing too early and the new growth gets etiolated.
I'm in downtown Toronto, Canada, and have only a small garden. The
figs spend the summer on a west-facing concrete patio, against a dark
wall, and are in black pots, in hopes of obtaining more warmth for them
without cooking the poor things. I take them in after their leaves
have fallen and before there's a risk of the soil freezing, and put
them out in the spring when it's warm enough that I think they can take
it, earlier if they are still looking fairly dormant. The breba figs
don't usually all drop until some time later, after they are well
leafed out and growing well.
Any suggestions short of building these "pet" trees a heated
greenhouse? I'd appreciate pointers and references as well as your
ideas. Please post here, or if you want to correspond, take the
".no-uce" out of my email address.