Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Happy New (Cold) Year

Happy New Year to everybody.  It has been quite cold here in Newport News, VA.  We even had over a foot of snow the day after Christmas, which is really unusual.  Apparently it was the most snow in the region in the past 25 years.

I moved most of my potted plants into the unheated shed now that night temps are consistently below freezing and the winter winds are blowing through the yard.  I have a small thermometer in the shed to keep an eye on temps.  Usually temps range from the upper 20s to 40s, depending on the weather.   But last winter it dropped into the upper teens inside the shed for about 72 hours.  Although it sometimes gets that cold in there, the plants are out of the brisk wind that can easily desiccate the young plants.

Here are my dormant young fig trees.  They are in 1-gallon plastic nursery pots.  They will survive the coldest of temps inside the shed now that they are "sleeping".  Only occasionally do I add some water to the pots to prevent the roots from completely drying out.  They will stay in here through the winter until I see the buds starting to break in the spring, then I will move them outside.  My older fig trees (3-5 years) are planted in the yard, unprotected other than with a thick layer of straw mulch around the roots, and they should be fine as well.  They seem to get more cold hardy with age.

Rooted Celeste fig cuttings in the unheated shed.

The figs aren't the only potted plants in the shed.  I also moved my dwarf calamondin orange tree in there as well (the lemon and lime tree are inside my house because they are very cold sensitive).

Dwarf calamondin orange tree in the unheated shed.

Last winter I unintentionally neglected this one and it survived even though temps inside the shed were under 20F and remained there for almost 3 days.  Most people don't realize how cold hardy calamondins are if removed from the winter wind.

I'm currently in the process of building a large compost bin and arranging my setup for starting seeds with a heat mat and fluorescent shop lights.  I'll post more about these things soon.  Until then, I'll be dreaming of warmer temps and fresh veggies and fruit.


Hazel said...

that is a lot of fig trees. I only have two...one tiny one and a new one in a pot waiting to be planted out. They get quite big here. I cannot imagine having that many. Come on over to my blog for a spot of summer.

.09 Acres said...

Thanks Hazel. It is a lot of fig trees. I usually give them to friends and family and try to sell the rest at a big annual yard sale in my neighborhood. Where do you live and what type of figs do you have? I'll check out your blog right now.

Veggie PAK said...

Those fig trees are looking very nice. Thank goodness you have a shed to put them in!

.09 Acres said...

The shed has made a huge difference. It's pretty large and allows me store all my tools/equipment, mower, fertilizers, dormant potted plants, you name it.

Anonymous said...

The figs look great! We have 2 peaches trees, one pear and a couple apple trees...no fig trees yet:)



.09 Acres said...

Renee, thanks for visiting my website. I just visited gardendesk.com and really enjoyed the wide variety of i information. I love peaches, glad to hear you have 2 trees. Are they different varieties? I'm a huge proponent of figs -- they grow well (even where it gets cold), produce large crops of fruit, require no spraying or maintenance, and fresh figs are hard to beat! Good luck with your garden as the weather warms.

Kim said...

I never even thought of growing figs. Do you know if they fruit the first year? I've been checking out blueberry bushes and I found out you have to wait 3-4 yrs. I'll have to check out my local nurseries this spring to see if they have any fig plants. I know my mom loves them (I honestly don't know if I've ever had any!). I'm very fascinated by your orange tree. I smell some experimenting up north this summer! =) Thanks for sharing!

.09 Acres said...

Figs will sometimes fruit the first year they grow, but usually only a few figs. The second year you can expect 5-10 figs, and the third year probably 30-40 depending on growing conditions. After that, you'll harvest tens (or even hundreds) of pounds of fruit. Blueberry bushes do require some patience and fairly specific soil conditions, but they can be grown well, particularly up north. Where are you located? Hardy Chicago, Brown Turkey, and Marseilles are fig varieties worth trying in the ground as far north as zone 6, and if colder if grown in pots and brought indoors in the winter. I have few other citrus-related posts as well. Check 'em out.