Unwrapping the Fig

Last year, I waited too long to unwrap my fig tree, and there was a fair amount of mold on many of the branches. This is not a mistake I would care to repeat, so this year I decided to unwrap it earlier. I went through my photographs and discovered that I had unwrapped it April 6, 2019.

My final decision was driven by the weather report. The weather people predicted rain for this last weekend in March, so I decided it was time. I don’t want it sitting in wet wrappers when the temperatures are going to be reasonable. That sounds like a recipe for mold.

The fig tree, fully wrapped. Photographed on March 27, 2020.

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Spring Is Toying With Us

After a cold end of week, it got into the mid-40s this weekend. Most of the snow has melted, but not to worry, there is snow in tomorrow’s overnight forecast. These plants will not care.

What could off-and-on snow cover mean in February? Snowdrops. It took years for them to really take hold in this little downtown yard, but the squirrels were really helpful. They rearranged the bulbs endlessly, resulting in some lovely swaths of snowdrops. They are just beginning to bloom.

The first snowdrops of 2020. Photographed on February 24, 2020.

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The Fig Is Put to Bed

I had a lot of work done on the exterior of the house this spring and summer by some very tidy people—one of my rather ratty tomato cages got tossed with some other debris. I had been daisy-chaining tomato cages together to contain the fig over the winter.

A cold snap was predicted, so I had to do something. Burlap and bamboo stakes seem affordable.

The fig tree has outgrown its usual afghan, so it was wrapped with floating row cover. Six six-foot bamboos stakes were driven into the ground and draped with burlap, which is fastened with twist ties. The wrapped tree shows through the burlap. The gap is being filled with the leaves I am raking up. Photographed on November 17, 2018.

This fig pen was able to absorb all the leaves that had fallen in the yard that were not already destined to cover a perennial bed. Continue reading “The Fig Is Put to Bed”

The Fig Is Enjoying the Heat

I was wandering around this morning with my coffee, and I noticed just how fresh the fig was looking.

Photograph of small fig tree, showing fresh new growth.
Chicago Hardy Fig. Photographed on May 30, 2018.

I left it wrapped too long, however. The branches on the windward side are not as far along as the ones on this side—the southeast side.

The Marshmallow Has Landed

We are on that autumnal roller coaster, but despite the relatively balmy temperatures—it reached at least 49°F today and will be in the mid 40s all week, except Tuesday, when it will reach into the upper 50s—I have to put the garden to bed for the winter.

Enough leaves have fallen to finish wrapping up the fig tree, for example. This tree is still shrub sized, so I am still wrapping it the same way: one bunny-chewed acrylic blanket, three tomato cages, four yards of floating row cover, and some big piles of leaves. Continue reading “The Marshmallow Has Landed”

Hard Freeze on the Heels of a Cold Front

I wandered by my little fig tree yesterday when I was photographing fall color—I even gently tweaked a couple of the remaining figs to see if there was a chance of them ripening. I thought not, but today the answer is definitely no.

We have had a couple of nights in the last few with frost enough to do in the hostas’ leaves, but the fig was fine as of yesterday afternoon. Today one leaf remains attached, as are five frozen figs. I ate the last ripe one that the chipmunks missed on Wednesday.

Photograph of fig tree that dropped almost all its leaves in one day.
One leaf remains attached to this fig tree, which had all its leaves yesterday.  Photographed on November 10, 2017.

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The First Pawpaws Are Ripe

Pawpaws are very odd trees. They look very tropical with their big leaves. The fruit have a wildly attractive scent, but are plain looking, very delicate, and highly variable in size. Fruit size varies with the number of seed set inside. The littlest pawpaw in the photograph below probably has a couple of seeds inside, while the biggest probably has a couple of dozen—and they are big seeds. Continue reading “The First Pawpaws Are Ripe”

Fruit Trees, After the Drop

…Not just the drop season, but riots.

If you have ever raised apples or pears you are well aware of the June drop, when fruit whose seeds were not fertilized drop all over the ground.

If you raise pawpaws, you learn about riots. It seems to be an annual event that occurs about when you start to wonder just when it is going to rain. Some four-legged characters got into the tops of my two pawpaws a couple of days ago and tore off a lot of fruit, taking a bite (or more) out of dozens of pawpaws before tossing them overboard. The ground was littered. What type of characters? I did not see—I only found the wreckage on the ground in the morning. I suspect raccoons—I have caught them red-pawed in the past—but I could be wrong. Do possums eat pawpaws?

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