Saturday, April 14, 2018

Help Speed Up Shipping

Tree orders are shipping now, and I'm shipping them out as fast as I can.  If you are still waiting on an outstanding order, please help to speed up the process by sending me an email at that includes the following:

1)  "CURRENT SHIPPING INFO" as the subject header

2)  your name and current shipping address

3)  the email address for the PayPal account you used when ordering  (so I can quickly find your orders in my database)

4)  your current wish list  (useful if substitutions are needed)

I'll email you back before I ship so that we can finalize any substitutions if needed.

I appreciate your help.  Shipping tree orders is a very time consuming process, and submitting the aforementioned info in an organized email will help save a lot of time on the coordination/communication aspect, which will help speed up the overall shipping process considerably.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

A Song for my Father

I like to play guitar and write songs, but I haven't been able to do so for the past 2+ years because I've been so busy, tired, and sore from all the farm work involved with the fig propagation project I've been doing for the fig community.

Last week I decided that had to change, so I set aside about 5 hours (which really just equated to playing late at night and losing more sleep), and was able to create a short demo album of 9 songs.  Time was in short supply, so the songs are mostly just 1st-take rough drafts and many lack lead guitar tracks, but they still convey the gist of what I hear in my head each day as I work.

Here's one that I wrote for my Dad:

If you want to check out the rest of the album, you can listen to the songs free at 

Fig Farm Field Trip video

A friend from up the road stopped by and made a video of his field trip; you can watch it below.  It'll give you a nice look around and show you how the figs are doing right now.

[from the video--"Was that the one the mice got?" -- yes, two tubs of Ponte Tresa trees were eaten, and half grew back, but half died; the tub I was hiding with my hand was the sad tub with the dead Ponte Tresa trees.]

SHIPPING UPDATE:  I'm shipping the overdue tree orders right now and am aiming to get them all shipped out by the end of this spring.  I apologize again to everyone for the long wait.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

March update - trees are ready!

Most of the well-rooted starter trees are ready to ship, and the weather is starting to warm up enough to safely ship them, so much of our time over the next 6-8 weeks is going to be spent packaging and shipping tree orders.  There are thousands of trees to ship, and it takes quite a bit of time to package and ship them, so it's not something that can be completed in a day or a week (and probably not even in a month--that's why I'm estimating 6-8 weeks).

This has been a long, complex, and difficult propagation project.  Last year I was able to create most of the 'non-rare' varieties needed for the orders, and this winter I've been able to produce most of the 'rare' varieties needed for the orders.  I was able to keep the trees from last year alive and in good condition: they're the 2ft tall trees that are just coming out of dormancy in the pics below.  The new trees from this winter are the shorter ones in the later pics below.  The two groups are located in different greenhouses.

The trees from last year are currently perfect for bare-rooting (which is required for shipping to several western states like CA, AZ, etc), as you can see in the 2 pics of trees that have been bare-rooted.  The trees from this winter are not yet established enough to wash off their roots, so the shipping plan is this: ship first to locations that don't require bare-rooting, and also to western states that only ordered trees that are ready to be bare-rooted; when we're finished shipping those orders, hopefully the newer trees will then be ready to be bare-rooted, and we can then ship those final orders to the western states.

I will email each of you individually before shipping your orders and won't ship your order until we have discussed shipping details (confirming your shipping address, agreeing on when to ship, choosing substitutes if necessary, etc).

Here are the trees that were started last year:

And here are some of the trees that were started this winter:

There have been some setbacks this winter.  For example, when the temperature dropped below -10F at one point early this winter, the cold overwhelmed my heaters and frosted the plants.  The worst part was that the tunnel at that time was primarily filled with Black Madeira, I-258, Galicia Negra, Ponte Tresa, Genovese Nero (Rafed's), and other ultra-elite varieties that I had wanted to give a head start.  The frost froze their green growth almost all the way to their trunks.  They are now starting to recover and push out new green growth, as you can see in the pics, but many were temporarily stunted and a few were killed.  Due to concern over the possibility of such an occurrence, I had saved back around 2/3 of my ultra-elite cuttings to start at a later time, and I am glad I did.  Those backup cuttings are now busy rooting, giving me a 2nd wave of those varieties on the way (they're just barely starting to push out their first roots now).  Here are some pics of what the frosted trees look like now:

Another setback happened about a week ago, when a rat decided to make a meal out of 2 trays of Ponte Tresa trees.  Almost all of the trees had most of their green growth eaten off.  Some were killed in the process, but a few were spared and many of the mauled trees are already starting to push out fresh green growth, as you can see in the pics.  The rat has since been eliminated.  Here's what the survivors look like right now:

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Update on Overdue Orders

We've worked through roughly half of the overdue orders over the past few months, and we'll be working through several hundred more over the next few months.  We are currently rooting around 3,000 young trees and hope to have all orders shipped by early spring 2018.

Almost all cuttings orders have been shipped.  There are still some cuttings customers I haven't heard back from, so if you have an outstanding cuttings order that you have not yet received, please contact us at so that we can get you taken care of.  If you know anyone who has not yet received their cuttings order, please refer them here.  This fig project has been a huge and very complex undertaking, and we don't want anyone falling through the cracks. 

(Speaking of cracks: there was one customer who didn't receive the Olympian they ordered, and I wrote a note on their packing list saying I'd refund it, but by the time I remembered to do so I couldn't figure out who they were.  So if that's you, or if you know who that is, please ask them to email me so that we can square things up.)

It's hard to have all varieties ready at the same time, especially when propagating around 250 varieties, so the best method for shipping has proven to be this: when the main part of your order is ready, I'll email you to double-check your current shipping address, to let you know which parts (if any) of your order are not ready, and to provide you with an extensive list of available varieties that are ready and could be substituted into your order.  You can choose substitutions for anything you ordered, not just the parts of your order that I don't have ready (for example, if you've already acquired a variety during your wait, you can sub something else in for it).  If we haven't contacted you about your tree order, please wait for us to contact you; don't email asking for an individualized progress report, as that will just gum up the system and slow things down for everyone. 

I'd also like to make a very special offer to those of you who are still waiting on overdue tree orders.  If you are willing to take cuttings instead of trees, I'll give you double-value (including shipping).  So if you had a $100 order for trees (perhaps it was $70 for trees and $30 for shipping), you could convert that into a $200 order of cuttings (which would probably be $180 to $190 worth of cuttings and $10 or $20 for shipping).  Here's the current list of available varieties of cuttings to choose from: (please don't email and ask about the availability of varieties that are not on the list)

I pruned all the trees in all of my tunnels in recent days prior to the arrival of extremely low temperatures around -10F (-23C).  I wasn't sure if the wood would stay warm enough during the deep freeze, so I rescued it all beforehand.  That means I now have around 6,000 cuttings in safe storage.  They'll hold up pretty well for a while (I preserved viable cuttings for 3-5 months last year with the same technique), but it would be best to ship them out asap. 

I'm hoping that a lot of tree customers take advantage of the double-value offer.  Some people only want trees and don't want cuttings, and they can wait and receive their tree orders as planned, but there are probably many people who would prefer to switch and immediately receive a double-value shipment of cuttings, so I wanted to make that option available.  Since it's much faster and easier to fill and ship cuttings orders than tree orders, the more people who make the switch, the more it will help us quickly work through the remaining overdue orders.

I remain sorry that it has taken so long and resulted in so much frustration, but we're making tremendous progress right now, and we are nearing the light at the end of the tunnel.  Thank you so much to everyone who has been patient and steadfast, and especially to the many of you who have taken the time to send me words of encouragement: you have been angels in the storm, and I am sincerely thankful for your help and kindness. 

Clear Rooting Cups

If you need to root some cuttings, clear rooting cups make the process easy and fun. Whether it's figs, flowers, citrus, or any other rootable cutting, these rooting cups can help.

Clear rooting cups are also great to use for starting seeds. Not only do they allow you to monitor root development at a glance, they help promote strong rootballs that will pay dividends when it's time to up-pot or plant them in the ground.

The cups are available at

How to Root Fig Cuttings

I root several thousand fig cuttings a year.  There are many ways to root cuttings, and I've tried a lot of them, but here's what works best for me:

1) Dip the bottom 25% of the cutting into purple Clonex rooting gel (

2) Place the cutting into a clear 16oz Rooting Cup that is filled with slightly damp HP Pro-Mix potting mix.  If you can squeeze any water out of a fistful of the potting mix, then it is too wet. You can add perlite or vermiculite to the potting mix in advance to help make it more fluffy/airy, but do not use any fertilizer at all.

3) Put the cups of cuttings into large clear totes like these from Wal-Mart (it's important to drill a couple of 1/4 inch holes into each end of the totes to increase airflow and minimize mold):

4) Put the totes near some well-lit windows (but not in direct sunlight) or in a room with some nice bright lights above it, and keep them warm.  If I can't find a warm enough spot, I close them in a room and use a space heater to make sure the temp is in the low/mid 70's.

There may be better methods out there, but I settled on this one because it's easy, low maintenance, and gives me really good results.